First-time candidate Josh Binda launches his bid for Lynnwood City Council

City council candiate Josh Binda in front of the Lynnwood Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of the candidate)

With a stated goal of helping to make Lynnwood a “home for everyone,” 21-year-old Josh Binda has launched his campaign for a seat on the Lynnwood City Council this fall.

Binda kicked off his campaign with an online event last week.

Priorities he would like to address locally include working to obtain more low-income and affordable housing for residents, providing equal representation throughout the city for diverse populations, making sure public spaces and recreation opportunities are inclusive, addressing public safety issues, and helping ensure that tax dollars are budgeted for community benefits supported by residents.

He said in an interview this week that he believes the city has changed his life in positive ways and helped give him the opportunities necessary to succeed. That is why he now wants to give back to the community by running for a position on the city council.

“I’ve always been someone that’s been in the community and been trying to make a difference,” Binda said, adding he would like to help represent people from a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences. “My passion just kind of stirs from my heart and I care about the people of Lynnwood and wanted to make the community inclusive and together,” he said of his decision to run for office. His goal, he said, is to ensure that Lynnwood feels like “home for all people and make sure that all voices are heard.”

Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, holding a sign her grandson made, and with Joshua Binda during a racial equity demonstration he organized in July 2020. (Photo by Julie Moore)

Binda, 21, who moved to Lynnwood as a teen and later graduated from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, serves as a member of the City of Lynnwood’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission and volunteers regularly at the Lynnwood Food Bank. Last year, Binda helped organize and coordinate with city officials a local protest to promote racial equity and social justice — one of many nationwide that followed the killing of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis.

He also met with various lawmakers and civic leaders to advocate for state legislative reforms dealing with cases of police brutality.

Those experiences with civic engagement then led him to begin considering a run for a city council position. If elected, Binda said he will be the youngest African American to ever be a city councilmember in Washington state. He hopes his campaign can also serve as an inspiration to people of color and younger generations who want to better their communities through public office.

“Yes, I’m young,” he said. “But I’m here to represent all people from Lynnwood and be a voice of all people in Lynnwood. People of all different walks of life and all different ages. I want Lynnwood to know that I’m not just here to be that representation of the young.” Binda added that he looks forward to campaigning and knocking on doors to hear about residents’ issues of concern “because I love talking to people in the city and being part of the community.”

Binda was born to refugee parents who had immigrated to the United States while fleeing from war in Liberia. Before relocating to Lynnwood and gaining a new perspective, Binda said he grew up in rough neighborhoods in Providence, Rhode Island that were filled with drugs, violence and gangs. That experience later helped to influence his passion for assisting people and attempting to improve societal conditions.

While in high school, Binda was a student body president at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center campus for two years and captain of the Kamiak Knights football team during his senior season. He recently earned an associate degree from Edmonds College and plans to next major in political science at the University of Washington’s Bothell campus.

Binda said that living in Lynnwood helped him become the person he is today, and  “I want to change lives in the city, just like how Lynnwood changed my life.”

Binda has not yet decided which of the council position he will seek.  The deadline to file for office is May 21. The primary election, for positions with three or more candidates, is Aug. 3 and the general election for the top two candidates will be Nov. 2.

— By Nathan Blackwell

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