Current Veterans Administration clinician and supportive housing administrator will bring hands-on, needed expertise in behavioral health and homelessness to Council
SEATTLE– Preston Anderson, a career social worker and former Army Medic who served two combat tours during active duty with over 5 years of service, has announced that he will seek the Seattle City Council District 1 position being vacated by incumbent Lisa Herbold. If elected, he would be the only homeless and behavioral health service provider elected to Council, and the first person of color elected to District 1, a diverse district that includes the neighborhoods of West Seattle, South Park, Georgetown, Sodo, and Pioneer Square.
Anderson, a West Seattle resident, presently works at the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System administering funds for clinically focused transitional housing in collaboration with community based providers. He also continues his direct practice supporting Veterans with acute behavioral health needs. He previously worked in a number of direct care settings, including Western State Hospital in Tacoma and Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Services Center, working with the region’s most clinically complex population.
“Over a fifteen year career of working with the most vulnerable in our region, I have seen both the power of transformational care, and the breakdowns when resources are misdirected, and policies fail,” said Anderson. “On the City Council I’ll bring a unique and critical perspective as a frontline care provider who also works to bring housing programs to scale– expertise the current council simply doesn’t have. These issues impact all Seattle neighborhoods, but disproportionately impact the communities and small businesses of District One.”
A Tacoma native raised in a single parent home that relied on public assistance and housing, Anderson first moved to Seattle following military service, attending North Seattle College before earning a degree in social work from the University of Washington, later completing a Masters in Social Work from UW Tacoma. This commitment to providing a safety net and opportunity to vulnerable families has shaped his approach to service.
“Growing up and throughout my life, I have seen too many friends, neighbors, and people in need slip into poverty, addiction, and inadequate housing,” said Anderson. “My commitment to helping others is rooted in the instabilities of my own upbringing– and the opportunities I was able to take advantage of through education, military service, and mentorship. I want to expand on this work at the City so all kids, from all walks of life, have the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive in safe, supportive communities.”
In addition to affordable housing and access to education, Anderson is making access to living wage jobs a central issue of his campaign. A longtime union member who helped organize social workers at Downtown Emergency Services Center over a decade ago, he wants to make sure that wages and benefits for all frontline workers keep pace with cost of living in the region.
“Hand in hand with the lack of affordable housing in our region is the need for living wage jobs,” said Anderson. “We lift people out of poverty and instability through higher wages, not just public services, and that starts with access to workforce education and training, opportunities to start or grow a business, or pursue a career with opportunities for advancement. I’m committed to partnering with our public schools, colleges, unions and business leaders to advance a jobs agenda that serves all communities in our city.”
In addition to bringing a focus on housing and jobs, Anderson is committed to reducing gun violence in Seattle.
“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that we must address through tackling root causes of violence, and simply getting guns off our streets,” said Anderson. “This means building trust and relationships with youth and within BIPOC communities too often harmed by gun violence. I’m committed to fighting at every level to keep our kids and communities safe.”
Anderson will be participating in the City’s Democracy Voucher program, and pursuing a community-driven, grassroots campaign for City Council. In 2019 and early 2020, Anderson took a short term position in South Carolina fighting gerrymandering and voter suppression in advance of the 2020 presidential elections, an eye opening experience that reinforces his support for participatory democracy.
“While Washington State and Seattle have some of the highest participation and transparency in the country, I have seen what happens when an electoral system is structured to marginalize BIPOC and low income voices,” said Anderson, who is an active Precinct Committee Officer in the 34th Legislative District Democrats. “I’m grateful for the reforms we have in Seattle, and look forward to meeting with neighbors at their doors, workplaces, and throughout our communities to discuss the issues and earn votes over the coming months.”
For more information visit prestonforseattle.com.