The GSBA Blog

Member-Candidate Profile: Sara Nelson

by Sara Nelson
| Jul 19, 2021
As a membership organization, we invite all our members running for elected office each year to submit a statement to their fellow members. GSBA is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates, and this statement should not be construed as an endorsement by GSBA, its Board, or its staff.

Sara Nelson, running for Seattle City Council, Position 9

I’ll cut to the chase: if you think things are going well in Seattle, I’m probably not the candidate for you. I’m Sara Nelson and I’m a progressive small business owner and I’m running because I believe Seattle has lost its way. As the only candidate in this race with experience in both the public and private sectors, I’ll bring the pragmatic and experienced leadership needed right now to meet our city’s challenges as we emerge from this pandemic. 

I served for ten years as a Legislative Advisor for Councilmember Richard Conlin and I learned that good policy is made by paying attention to detail and reaching out as well as meaningfully incorporating input from the widest possible range of stakeholders. That’s especially true for small business owners and workers who can’t easily attend public hearings.

I’m a GSBA member and co-owner of Fremont Brewing, a sponsor of GSBA’s Scholarship Fund. We were hit hard but we managed to retain all our employees and increased their wages to make up for lost tips. But I know many of you weren’t as fortunate.

That’s why forging an equitable, long-term recovery is my top priority. We all know that small businesses are job creators and innovators and we make up the fabric of our communities. Hundreds of small businesses have closed and many more are on life support but City Council isn’t acting with enough urgency to help. It’s time for the missing voice of small business to City Council.

Public safety is key to our recovery because rising crime (theft, property damage) poses significant cost burdens for small businesses and we’ve all read stories about businesses leaving town because employees don’t feel safe. Defunding the police by an arbitrary percentage won’t reduce crime nor end systemic racism in policing. We need to reform the police in a manner that keeps communities safe and holds officers accountable for all forms of misconduct -- and fund accordingly.

My second priority is getting back to the main job of local government: adequately funding and delivering basic city services. Failing bridges, trash-filled parks, and limited library hours are the result of Council diverting General Fund dollars to ad-hoc initiatives.

What will I do about homelessness? I’ll call for implementing a model works in other cities, based on individualized case management and a real-time, centralized database that service providers and City agencies access to ensure continuity-of-care and help individuals obtain the housing and services that meet their immediate needs.

Voters have a clear choice this election and the stakes are high. They can vote for the same old ideological rhetoric and failed policies that have gotten us into the state we’re in now, or they can elect a candidate with pragmatic policy solutions to make Seattle a safe and livable city -- for everyone.

I’m endorsed by the Seattle Times, Seattle Fire Fighters, Ironworkers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, and a broad range of community leaders. Learn more about my campaign for City Council Position 9 at: