Although he is running for office — Seattle City Council Position 1 — Michael Taylor-Judd says, “I’m pretty busy, but I’m not sure my life is radically different” from before.
The 36-year-old continues to work part-time at the foundation for Health Care Quality, where he’s worked for eight years. That organization tracks healthcare practices and progress, advocating for things like surgical checklists in operating rooms and standards of cardiac procedures in hospitals.
And Taylor-Judd is still the local political activist he’s been since he moved to Seattle to canvass door-to-door for state healthcare 13 years ago.
Growing up in Southern California, he was active in USY at Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim. Now he’s a board member of Kol HaNeshemah in West Seattle and sings in the choir there. He sees a direct connection between his years of social activism and religion.
“Something about the Jewish education that we get…we try to improve the world we live in, try to get other people on board to improve the world, and fight for others,” he says. “I think that has a lot to do with religion.”
A deep admirer of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a progressive Democratic Party leader, Taylor-Judd feels his motivation to help others comes “from a deep-rooted source within.”
Taylor-Judd’s campaign focuses on three major issues facing Seattle: transportation — transportation equity in particular, affordable housing, and support for education and youth and family programs.
“There are lots of details under those,” he says.
He’s running against the well-known Jean Godden and two other candidates, so his name will appear on the primary ballot in August. The top two vote-getters will appear on the fall ballot.
When we spoke last Friday, he’d just wrapped up a particularly demanding week attending state Democratic Party endorsement meetings. He’s been active in the party, too, “including trying to resurrect the LGBT caucus,” — successfully — “and being active in the Jewish caucus.”
He’s working on the perpetual problem of events being scheduled on Jewish holidays and Saturdays, not because of discrimination but because “people don’t seem to be aware,” he says. To raise their awareness he wore his “Obamica” — a bright blue kippah with the president’s name emblazoned on it — to the state Democratic convention and tries “to make sure I’m always wearing one at Democratic Party events,” he says.
He’s proud of the party “for stepping up” to address the issue.
In Seattle, Taylor-Judd has been active in marriage equality and transportation issues. He’s helped to bring a bus-service funding problem to the attention of King County Metro, in which Seattle was slated to receive only 20 percent of Metro’s monies, even though it accounts for 75 percent of bus service. A new plan passed by a regional task force will go to the County Council soon. He also worked on the “Sound Transit 2” ballot measure, bringing light rail to the University District and Eastside.
No matter the results of the primary, Taylor-Judd will be taking Labor Day weekend off to staff the admission gates for the Bumbershoot music festival, as he has done since 1998.
“It makes me feel part of the community,” he says.