Seattle has always been an example for the nation – a progressive city where higher wages fueled greater equity and opportunity, where entrepreneurs were welcomed and nurtured, where investments in our parks, libraries, transit and affordable housing showed what a city can do when focused on a bright, inclusive future.
The pandemic disruption has turned back the clock for too many – widening inequalities in wealth, pushing vulnerable people out of housing and depriving access to needed support. These devastations have impacted a generation of students, young workers, and families struggling to make ends meet.
Here are some bold ideas for recovery and equitable growth that harnesses the best of Seattle:
A Seattle Jobs Center: Seattle must win the emerging jobs war. Using all available commercialized online job boards, state sponsored employment ads, executive search materials and every means to help employ every possible employee, and making sure we provide resources to re-tool and re-train job applicants seeking work, we will explore making sure Seattle is the facilitator of employing every available job applicant. Working with businesses and labor, we can provide entry points to apprenticeships, internships, and the opportunities that set workers on a path to career-long success.
Some employers have phenomenal programs for supporting returning military veterans or previously incarcerated residents. Seattle will provide a user-friendly infrastructure and be known as the city that values and promotes jobs, jobs and jobs. Our educational strategies will be closely aligned with our Seattle Jobs strategy.
Help Small and Minority Owned Businesses: Economic recovery will not happen overnight, and small businesses – especially those owned by women and BIPOC entrepreneurs, risk falling farther behind. We will protect short term, dedicated resources to help these businesses not only get back on their feet, but expand and take advantage of the opportunities ahead to create more jobs. The City of Seattle will establish new “business to business” partnerships to ensure that smaller businesses and BIPOC entrepreneurs enjoy the ancillary revenues and success of many larger businesses. I have direct expertise in developing these models.
Affordable Health Care for All: No one in our city should live without access to health care. Let’s come together and build a system that shows our commitment to what we may call “Healthy Seattle.” Where the Affordable Care Act and county health services fall short, particularly in the areas of preventative health and post-COVID trauma and mental isolation illnesses, “Healthy Seattle” may be critically important for the survival of our most vulnerable Seattle residents and lower wage workers. Read more here.
A Smarter Approach to Invest in Better Neighborhoods: Seattle is divided into 7 Council districts, but we have yet to change our core neighborhood investment strategy. I will explore appropriating real resources – $10 million dollars would make an impact – in each of the 7 districts to provide Councilmembers with the opportunity to work directly with their communities to invest in specific localized priorities: small business recovery; homelessness solutions; parks and open space; cleanliness; pedestrian and public safety strategies or cultural facility preservation. Each district has unique needs, and each Councilmember will work collaboratively with City departments to meet those unique needs working closely with community.