About Councilmember Sara Nelson

Councilmember Sara Nelson

Council position: 9 / Citywide
In office since: 2022
Current term: January 2022 - December 2025

Councilmember Sara Nelson is a small business owner, former public servant, and policy nerd who watches the Seattle Channel for fun. She brings a pragmatic, collaborative approach to addressing our current challenges and improving quality of life for all Seattleites.

Originally from California, Sara moved to Seattle in 1990 to pursue a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Washington, earning her Ph.D. in 1997. She taught courses in anthropology, women studies, and international studies before leaving academia to have a greater impact on her community in public service.

Sara got her start in local politics as a City Council Legislative Aide in 2002 and helped pass landmark legislation to increase affordable housing, transit service, and environmental protections. She served through 2013 but left City Hall for a couple years to help launch her family business, Fremont Brewing, in 2009. Sara’s responsibilities at Fremont Brewing included leading the brewery’s sustainability efforts, community partnerships, and craft beer industry advocacy

As the first small business owner on City Council since 2009, Sara understands the difficulties of starting and growing a small business in Seattle. As Chair of the Economic Development, Technology, and City Light Committee, she’s focused on revitalizing our downtown core and neighborhood business districts; retaining jobs and expanding our workforce; and reducing the displacement of minority-owned small businesses.

Bringing our economy back, improving public safety, and reducing homelessness are urgent issues but Sara believes that the day-to-day work of local government is first and foremost solving constituent problems and delivering essential city services. Her office is committed to being responsive and getting these basics done right.

The people of Seattle want their leaders to put aside divisive politics and get things done. Sara is committed to working with her colleagues and the Executive to deliver on her vision for a more equitable, prosperous, and livable city.

Sara’s a card-carrying member of the Puget Sound Mycological Society and a terrible karaoke singer. She lives in Green Lake with her husband and two teen-aged sons.