Entrepreneur, immigrant, and award-winning community leader Beto Yarce announced he will run for the Seattle City Council in District 3, which includes the Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Park, Madison Valley and Montlake neighborhoods. Yarce, making his first run for office, will challenge Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
“I’ve spent my career fighting to expand economic opportunity for marginalized communities,” said Yarce. “The diverse and thriving neighborhoods of this district need new leadership that can work effectively with others to create opportunity and address challenges of affordability, transportation, and public safety.”
Arriving in the United States from Mexico, Beto first moved to Seattle in 2003 and began bussing and waiting tables in a Capitol Hill restaurant to make ends meet. To supplement restaurant work, Beto started his own small business—selling jewelry at the Fremont Sunday Market. When that business grew, he expanded his enterprise and operated out of Pike Place Market for 13 years.
During that time, Yarce volunteered at Casa Latina, sharing his knowledge of entrepreneurship in America with undocumented workers who wanted greater financial stability for their families. He later closed his business and joined the team at Ventures, a non-profit that provides capital, coaching and assistance to low-income entrepreneurs. There, Beto launched a comprehensive small business development program for Latinos.
Since 2014, Yarce has served as Executive Director of Ventures, where he leads a team of more than 22 full time employees and has raised record fundraising revenue, developed new partnerships, and achieved unprecedented levels of operational efficiency.
Yarce’s priorities include addressing housing affordability, healthcare services, and economic inclusion to ensure households of all income levels and backgrounds can live in affordable, vibrant neighborhoods and communities.
“I came to the country—and city—with little more than dreams and aspirations. I lived on Capitol Hill in an era when it was affordable and welcoming for a young gay man bussing tables at a neighborhood restaurant,” said Yarce. “My lived experience informs how I will serve the people of this community—with humility and an appreciation for the diverse needs and voices of our communities, not a rigid ideology. We need more listening and less lecturing for our city councilmember if we are to address real issues in our city.”
Beto enters the race with strong support from Seattle’s elected, community, and business leaders. He has received early endorsements from Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, Seattle Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins, and State Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney.
Beto is also a member of the Greater Seattle Business Association’s board of directors, Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council, the City of Seattle’s 2020 Census Task Force, and Mexicans Abroad for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
A resident of the Capitol Hill neighborhood with his partner Phil Smith, Beto was named the 2018 City of Seattle Emerging Leader of the Year, received Crosscut’s 2018 Courage in Business award, and Ventures was awarded the 2018 Puget Sound Business Journal’s Business Innovation honor under Yarce’s leadership.
Learn more at BetoforSeattle.org.