My name is Rob Saka and I’m on a mission to serve you by going from former foster child to Seattle City Councilmember.
I am a Seattle Public Schools dad of three, attorney, justice reform advocate, Air Force Veteran, and West Seattle resident. As the son of a Nigerian immigrant, I overcame abject poverty, a traumatic and unstable home life cycling through the foster care system, to rise in the ranks of the U.S. Air Force, earn my college and law degrees under the G.I. Bill, and achieve success as an attorney and policy advocate in Seattle and King County.
I grew up in the foster care system in Minnesota until my father was able to rescue me at nine years old. We moved out west and settled in low-income apartments in Kent, blocks away from a justice center that would later house some of my childhood friends. Growing up, I watched my dad work numerous physically demanding low-wage jobs. Though he earned a Master’s degree, my dad was unable to break into his chosen field. So, as a single father, he ended up settling for any honest work he could get to put food on our table. He sacrificed his own career ambitions to focus on raising me.
Working parents shouldn’t have to choose between their own professional success today or that of their children tomorrow. Through it all, my dad taught me the importance of hard work and selfless service – guiding principles that I use in my everyday life.
I went on to earn my college degree under the G.I. Bill at the University of Washington where I met my wife, Alicia. After quickly moving up the Enlisted ranks, I earned a rare Deserving Airman Commission and served as an Intelligence Officer.
After 10 years in the military, I resigned my commission to focus on serving others as a civilian attorney. I thought I could help others in my community better overcome some of the systemic barriers I had navigated growing up if I was armed with the power of the law. After graduating law school from the University of California, Hastings Law, I moved back to Seattle to practice law at Perkins Coie.
I have tried my best to bring my unique brand of servant leadership and passionate advocacy in service of communities across this city, including by serving on nonprofit boards such as the Seattle Urban League, representing fellow Veterans in need pro bono, via the Seattle Stand Down Initiative, helping underserved microentrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, volunteering to be head coach for my daughter’s Little League baseball team, and much more.
My passion for service in our community led me to become more civically involved as well. In 2018, King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed me to serve on the once per decade Charter Commission where I helped champion and pass several voter-approved ballot measures to reform our justice system and protect workers. In 2021, the King County Council appointed me to the nonpartisan Districting Committee tasked with redrawing King County Council districts using Census data. In 2022, Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed me to serve on the Seattle Police Chief Search Committee responsible for helping to select the next Chief of Police.
In 2001, I graduated from Kent-Meridian High School. A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force because I wanted to help defend our Nation still reeling from those tragic events. Eventually I deployed overseas during the height of the Iraq War “troop surge” of 2007.
I strongly believe in safe communities and better policing. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their neighborhood, free of threat of crime or unequal justice. As a young adult, I survived my own experience with police brutality with the Minneapolis Police Department. Empowered by my lived experiences, I have made it my mission to help responsibly reform our criminal justice system locally.
At the same time, I also understand firsthand the importance of effective public safety. I was one block away from the finish line during the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. In the chaos, confusion, and terror that ensued, I witnessed hundreds of emergency responders rushing towards the danger while putting their own safety on the line to protect us. I will be forever grateful for our first responder heroes who work tirelessly every day to keep us safe.
The people of Seattle are fed up with well-intended policy ideas that don’t actually make progress on the urgent issues we’re facing. We need an accountable, responsive government willing to center equity, progressive values, and common sense. I bring 20+ years’ experience in collaborating across differences, finding common ground, and achieving results that work. Now more than ever do we need this kind of collaborative, solutions-oriented approach in City Hall.
I’m grateful that my community & civic advocacy efforts have enabled me to stay connected to the many diverse communities I love. It has strengthened my resolve to help make sure more kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to write their own narratives about what they can expect to achieve.
We all deserve to live in a safe Seattle. I will fight hard to improve the public safety situation in this city and make sure our public spaces are safe, clean, accessible, and welcoming for all to enjoy. I am running for this seat because I think there is a better way forward for our city: Together!