Ubax Gardheere, a community organizer and the director of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative, launched her campaign Tuesday, May 18 for King County Council’s District 9 seat in a bid to bring a commitment to community-driven solutions to the council.
She joins Kim-Khanh Van and Chris Franco as challengers to incumbent Reagan Dunn. The King County Elections filing deadline is May 21. District 9 covers part of Kent.
“I’m running because I’ve had more than two decades of first-hand experience with the creativity and adaptability of communities in finding systemic solutions to the issues that affect them,” Gardheere said in a news release. “I believe that my organizing skills and policy chops will help the county government pivot to community-driven, rather than top-down, policies that truly address the root causes of our multiple crises.”
A 25-year resident of King County, Gardheere is a single parent to three children. She is the director of the Equitable Development Division of the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development. She oversees the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) program, investing in community-based organizations working on anti-displacement strategies and economic development opportunities.
State Sen. Rebecca Saldaña came out with an early endorsement of Gardheere.
“I would follow Ubax anywhere,” Saldaña said. “She is a talented, courageous, no-nonsense leader we need to ensure our county centers Black health, wealth and economic opportunities. Ubax has been integral in shaping policy to address equitable transportation investments, designing communities of opportunities programs, and growing values-based leaders to engage in our democracy through boards and commissions.”
Gardheere has a long track record of progressive policy leadership across King County, serving on a number of boards and stewarding the growth of numerous justice-focused organizations. Currently, Gardheere serves on the governance group of Communities of Opportunity, a multi-million dollar, cross-sector initiative in King County aimed at equitable health, housing,community connection and economic outcomes. She also serves on the board of A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), a partnership of King County and East King County cities who have joined together to preserve and increase the housing supply.
Previously, Gardheere served on the Advisory Board of the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and is also currently on the Foundation’s Fund for Inclusive Recovery Advisory Board. She is a former board co-chair of Social Justice Fund NW and presently serves on the Fund 4 the Frontlines committee. She was the founder of Culturally Appropriate and Responsive Education (CARE) Center in South Seattle and South King County, which has worked with thousands of East African youth and their families in the region.
For more information, go to electubax.com.