Seattle Subway’s political director, Jonathan Hopkins, is moving on to be the Executive Director of Commute Seattle. We’re sad to see him go, he has done a plainly incredible job for Seattle Subway and our region and will be very much missed — all of the congrats to Jonathan on his new role!

He leaves big shoes to fill but a big opportunity for someone who wants to get involved in transit advocacy in our region.

The Seattle Subway Political Director is a central role to our organization. This person is the face of Seattle Subway. This means regular contact with Sound Transit and other government agencies, local politicians and media (print, online, radio and TV).

Duties include but aren’t limited to:

  • Attending monthly board meetings (remotely if necessary).
  • Regular appearances at volunteer events.
  • Maintaining relationships with regional institutions, agencies, politicos and other stakeholders.

We are looking for someone who is excited about what is happening with transit in our city, has excellent communications skills and a passion to get involved. Backgrounds in communications, media relations, political outreach, non-profit work and transit advocacy are all big pluses.

Seattle Subway is an all volunteer organization. If you are interested in joining our team – email

13 Replies to “Volunteer Opportunity: Seattle Subway Political Director”

  1. C’mon, Wells, this shouldn’t be that hard a topic to stay onto. Like answering this question, along with anybody else:

    Am I right that applicant presently does not need any engineering or operations experience with subways? If not, Seattle Subways, might be a good idea to broaden requirements to include these, wouldn’t it?

    Because what’ll send me out of an event, or click out of a communication on transit, the fastest is having only event staff to field the level of questions that everybody reading these pages needs for intelligent comment, or decisions.

    Dress code might help. Pocket protectors and white shirts buttoned to the collar acceptable. Glasses with both horn and steel rims, up to the engineer. Tape between lenses really no longer necessity for credibililty. But T-shirts, felt markers, and proximity to flip-charts, not.

    Really dating my transit career, but for experience, speaking skills, honesty, technical knowledge, and well-earned credibility, candidate should match footage (not sure they even had videos, definitely not social media in 1985) of DSTT project leadership.

    Having been driven out of the Party of Lincoln by Lincoln’s resurging enemies, these people can occasionally be found, sadly, unconvincingly posing as Democrats. Rescue them back into transit life. They dig a Hell of subway.

    OK. I said scotch tape on glasses isn’t mandatory! Should be some controversy On this Topic!


    1. Sorry. My supposedly ‘off-topic’ post was about a subway design for Portland. Seattle and Portland differ in light rail transit design and land-use planning, but I hope Seattle can learn from Portland’s example. I have hope for Portland’s future but not for Seattle. Whoever gets the subway planning job will certainly have a hard row to hoe.

      1. BTW, a Portland MAX subway detour around/under the Steel Bridge chokepoint with
        a mere 1.5 miles, 3 stations, is actually good design. ST’s looking for a good designer?
        Who designed the Seattle Circulator Plans, Monorail and trolleybus?
        Who kept these plans out of the realm of public discussion?

    2. Portland is doing many things better but it’s doing some things worse. Piortland is doing way better in bicycling, food trucks, tearing down freeways, preserving pre-WWII buildings, downtown parks, short downtown blocks, and bookstores (or one, Powell’s). And it has a mythical statue and a TV show. And it’s adhering to the urban growth boundary more strictly. (Although that’s easier because the discontents are in another state.) And MAX was started four decades earlier and has several lines now. But MAX is excrutiatingly slow downtown and on the Steel Bridge and in the Lloyd district, and it completely misses the high-ridership area in southeast Portland. Link has more tunnels, runs faster, is more frequent on each branch (only one branch now, but each of Portland’s branches is 15 minutes), and goes right to UW and Broadway. Our buses are more frequent, larger, and have expresses both all day and peak. Our transit mode share has long been higher than Portland’s.

      1. Portland tore down one freeway, and the TV show crew is moving to better paying digs in Los Angeles. The rights to the image of the statue is owned by a New York artist so you never see its photograph.

        The urban growth boundary works OK, but without an effort at rezoning for higher density it just means higher housing prices and people commuting from separate cities, such as Salem, Wilsonville, Woodburn or Forest Grove.

        Seattle has done much better at getting zoning increased, but we don’t have the horrific and hard to deal with sprawl in random locations that western Washington seems to have.

      2. I’ve never seen the TV show since I don’t have cable. :) I knew it existed but I paid as little attention to it as I do to other TV shows. Then I saw the Vancouver song and showed it to somebody asnd he said, “”Oh, that’s a spoof on a Portland song” so I watched the Portland song. Since then I’ve watched a few Vancouver episodes.

        Would you believe I used to watch TV six hours a day as a kid and teenager and had a 2-year collection of TV guides? (Next to my bus schedules.) But in high school I stopped getting TV Guide, and then I didn’t know when anything was on, and I’d see that a show was coming in a few days but then I”d forget to watch it, and soon I just stopped watching anything. And now I don’t have the patience to sit through a sitcom or reality show or police procedural. But once at a hotel I saw Rachel, and she explained things so well and was so friendly to the other side that now I watch it online, my only TV show. :)

  2. Shouldn’t screw around at great word-length. Position is important, and in a specialty of its own. Truth, too is that an engineer would never touch anything like this. At Metro Council meeting, asked engineer friend of mine sitting next to me to make a public comment straightening out a couple of electeds who were noting two and two was five.

    Answer? “An engineer will tell you all possible courses of action, their implications and consequences, and what they’ll cost. But he’ll never tell you, his client, what you should do.”

    But my real point is that it really is frustrating to go to to open houses where none of the presenters have any technical knowledge, even about specifics of a single station building, let alone any segment of the line.

    I don’t agree with the view that the public neither cares or is able to learn. I think that starting early in life as possible, an interested voter becomes a competent voter. And at five, future voters love trains and earth moving machinery.

    Would be good for our political advance people to start calculating project votes according to time large numbers of five year old transit fans turn eighteen. Not really a very long time frame. Also, could be sharp cold accurate calculation that kids should ride free ’til they’re eighteen.

    Because by that age, fair number will have kids of their own. Eighteen years more for ST- (infinity.)


  3. Also, while I’ve supported Seattle Subway from the beginning, I don’t think it anonymous postings are good for credibility. The organization knows what it’s doing politically. And I’ve never seen any objection in these pages.

    So I’d really appreciate at least knowing why none of Seattle Subway’s submissions carry anyone’s name.


    1. They’re an organization. Just like when TCC or the Sierra Club submit an OpEd, they do it collectively.

      1. It doesn’t matter; it’s Seattle Subway’s official position and the organization takes responsibility for it. It may be one author or more, but the only one who’s missing out is the author who doesn’t get credit for his writing if it’s well-written. But the Seattle Times does the same thing, and the STB editorial board, and most other papers and organizations. The Times lists its editorial board members but not who wrote each article or who really agrees with it and who just consented for it to be published. Or even if they choose editorial topics by majority vote over minority objections. If you attend any Seattle Subway meeting you can see who the leaders are, or you can look at the boardmembers list on this page.

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