City Council candidate Pat Murakami on leadership: ‘I’m socially progressive… but want to be fiscally responsible’

The people running for office this November have lots of policy ideas for Seattle. But how would they actually learn and lead? Nine Evergrey readers sat down with them to find out in a project we’re calling The Evergrey Leadership Lab.

Pat Murakami is a community activist, business owner in Mount Baker, and president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council. She is running for an at-large city council seat against incumbent Councilmember Lorena González.

We asked each candidate, “What are you still learning about being a leader?”


Our takeaways from talking with Pat:

1. Her political views have developed over time.

“Many, many years ago, I leaned more Republican because, I think really a lot of it was because my parents were, they had been Democrat. In fact, my mother used to say that her parents would be turning in their graves if they knew how she was voting because they were staunch Democrats. As I got away from home and began to think for myself, I saw that the Republican party’s values did not align at all with mine. They’re highly funded by the NRA and gun rights are fine, but the NRA is rabid. That they were highly funded by the tobacco industry that’s killing people. That they are trying to give gross freedoms to corporations, but then keep individuals under their thumbs.”

2. She’s willing to reach across the aisle to collaborate. Some of Pat’s unlikely allies? Republicans.

“They know I’m a Democrat. They know I’m socially progressive, but I’ve been able to connect with them that I want to be fiscally responsible… Even though they disagree with me on issues like immigration rights…they’ve still been willing to work with me and vote for me and give me their democracy vouchers. That’s why I have that weird spectrum of endorsements [like] The Seattle Times and the Washington State Berniecrats.”

Here’s what The Evergrey Leadership Lab interviewers thought of the conversation:

Warren Etheredge:

Pat Murakami isn’t sure which political party she belongs to, in fact, she transposed Republican and Democrat in reference to herself on multiple occasions. This intriguing slip-up seems indicative of her own wavering stances and a desire to be perceived as someone she may not be. Despite this, she still seems inflexible in regards to her beliefs, a concern in regards to how well she will work with others. She had the outspoken support of the community worker who accompanied her, but I wonder how diligent Ms. Murakami is in seeking diverse opinions.

Eric Svaren:

Pat Murakami has been active in the Rainier Valley for years. Yet, she surprised me with her judgment and dismissals of multiple groups, including non-profits (she called it the “non-profit industrial complex”) and neighborhoods outside of the Rainier Valley or Mount Baker. I think her inclination to dismiss these broad constituencies in the city will render her ineffective as a councilmember. She is running for an at-large seat to serve only District 2; she’s in the wrong race. Like all the candidates we interviewed, she worked in her various policy ideas, but of what we heard from all the candidates, hers seemed the least technically workable, least likely to produce results, or least politically viable.  Pat struck me as very unaware and even proud of her harsh judgments. While she described learning about issues, she did not seem to be aware of how she came across or sincerely working on growing her leadership.

Curious how the rest of the conversation went? Check out our whole interview with Pat here:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/348605399?secret_token=s-Rvy2M” params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Thanks to Pat Murakami and her staff for making the time to chat with us, and to Evergrey Leadership Lab interviewers Warren Etheredge and Eric Svaren.