Bold Ideas for Economic Recovery | Ending Homelessness | Police Reform and Public Safety | Health Care for All | Taking on the Climate Crisis | Transportation and Infrastructure | Reducing Gun Violence
We Can Rebuild Our Economy Consistent With Our Progressive Values
Now is the time for big thinking and creative genius to put our city back on track and help reach our collective potential. I will bring together unions, business and civic leaders, community voices and advocates, environmental and health experts, leaders in the arts, education, and philanthropy, to create the Seattle we can all be proud of.
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:
- 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. Cities like San Francisco have developed basic coverage models that provide access to those at risk of falling through the cracks of a costly, cumbersome, and racially inequitable system. Employees of small businesses, gig economy workers, young people, and anyone experiencing homelessness or economic disruption all deserve quality 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- Revitalize Arts, Culture and Nightlife: Few sectors of our economy have been as hard hit as our city’s dynamic – and critical – arts, music, food and nightlife economy. Let’s re-imagine how we support these critical nonprofits and businesses – from preservation of historic buildings and venues, to exploration of sustainable revenue to support organizations that advance equity, inspire and teach, and provide a stage for the next Quincy Jones, Macklemore, or countless other creative voices in our community.
As your Mayor I’ll be a strong – and consistent – voice for small businesses and working people, protecting and improving equity, wages, and work standards and building upon my 30-year career helping diversify businesses opportunities in our city.
We Will Plan – and Act – To End Homelessness
The homelessness crisis devastates not only the lives of those suffering on our streets and in our parks, but it affects the safety and peace of mind for too many Seattle families. It is a crisis that has divided our city and shaken our confidence as a compassionate, can-do city.
We need a Mayor who will take immediate and decisive action, a relentless leader who will take ownership of the problem. I will own it. My plan is to bring a new approach – one that will combine local and federal resources and work to coordinate with regional partners to ensure an ambitious plan – urgently getting people out of parks and streets and into stable housing with the on-site services they need.
To ensure coordination and accountable planning, I’ll work with local and regional partners to develop an accountable, ambitious plan with transparency and benchmarks to expand and provide housing and services on demand to every unsheltered neighbor. This plan will be online and accessible to the public with measurable outcomes and defined reporting, and establish progressive, dedicated revenue tied to meeting housing and cleanup goals, restoring public confidence.
This spring, I called for the City to use a majority of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to immediately expand support services, while drawing on existing local dollars to fund the purchase, construction, and transition of hundreds of units of permanent housing through hotels, tiny homes, and other long-term, stable supportive housing options.
While the current Council fell short of the needed majority level funding, in 2022, we can and must go further, combining scheduled American Rescue Plan Act funding, local and state resources, and philanthropic support.
From my first year in office, we will treat the homelessness crisis appropriately as the greatest challenge facing our city. By uniting together on this shared mission, rather than pointing fingers, we will help restore lives, revitalize shared spaces and parks, and strengthen our communities and city.
My wife, a former United Way of King County CEO, and I have experience in raising significant, dedicated funding for health and human services. So many neighbors want to help solve the homelessness crisis, but don’t know what to do. What is their entry point? We are a compassionate city and people are tired of seeing stalled progress and continued in-fighting. Seattle will be nationally known for our collective effort and my job as Mayor will be to create and lead this effort.
With your vote, I will secure needed resources through a variety of existing sources, including:
- Establish a minimum 12% of the City budget to address this housing crisis. This is both an increase in current funding and a sustainable level identified by a coalition of civic and housing services leaders for making a needed, immediate impact.
- Dedicate a minimum 50% of 2022 American Rescue Plan Act to housing and services. The pandemic made the homelessness crisis worse, and one time funds are available to help. We cannot repeat the mistakes made this year with underfunding homelessness response and leaving people literally in the cold.
- Leverage additional state and private resources through the Regional Homelessness Authority, the most effective way to make sure that Seattle is both doing a fair share to provide housing and services, and coordinate with other cities who must do their part as well.
- Create a Dynamic Non-Profit Partnership, creating a model where every resident and business can make tax deductible donations that go directly to addressing homelessness and where they can participate in community clothing drives, food distribution lines, clean-up work parties, resume drafting sessions, drug and alcohol treatment conversations and other activities that provide direct support to those experiencing homelessness. Our children will learn from our collective ability to show compassion.
These interconnected one time and long range funding models will be set in motion to deliver real housing and needed services, including:
- Identify 1,000 units of emergency, supportive shelter in the first 6 months of my administration, with another 1,000 by the end of year one. These levels are ambitious but attainable – and critically needed to help those suffering outdoors receive the stability they deserve. The County is hard at work identifying hotels and other indoor spaces to address this need – the city can and must be an active partner in making this a reality.
- Bring accessible, culturally competent, and individualized service plans to scale, partnering with nonprofit providers and experts in outreach and recovery to ensure that when the city thoughtfully approaches an encampment with housing and services, everyone receives the care they need to transition not only into housing, but also recovery and support.
- Identify and address factors that drive overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color among those experiencing chronic homelessness. We can and must tailor existing and new City programs and resources to address these underlying, ongoing inequities. I passed Seattle’s first Race and Social Justice Initiative to remove barriers for BIPOC advancement and success in our city programs, contracting, and employment – critical experience for tackling the structural issues that lead to unacceptably high rates of homelessness among minority communities.
- Provide specific, dedicated support for LGBTQ+ youth and seniors. LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely to end up homeless compared to non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. While addressing root causes of this challenge – often familial rejection, discrimination, missing economic opportunities, and lack of societal support structures – we must also work to provide tailored, culturally-appropriate housing, services, and outreach to those already experiencing homelessness, and where possible and appropriate, reunite families. Further, we need to create the conditions to give LGBTQ+ seniors the options to age in place in their long standing neighborhoods or with fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community where they can feel safe and comfortable.
- Expand Emergency Rental Assistance programs using federal, state, and local funding. The best way to prevent homelessness is to make sure people on the margins, experiencing job loss or a financial emergency, or suffering a mental or physical health issue remain housed and supported. It is much more cost effective to keep people housed than to provide shelter and services later.
- Build a non-law enforcement crisis/rapid response team focused on urgent response to behavioral health crises, non-violent public disruption, and other issues where a uniformed, armed officer is neither needed nor appropriate.
- Fund low-barrier, rapid-access mental health and substance use disorder treatment services with a focus on those who are chronically homeless and face the greatest barriers to engagement and lasting success with these services.
- Employ a rigorous “Housing First” strategy for encampment removal and mitigation. Dispersal only causes harm to individuals, and perpetuates the lack of public confidence in city response.
- Ensure that City parks, playgrounds, sports fields, public spaces and sidewalks and streets remain open and clear of encampments. These sites not only lack essential sanitation and often create challenges for engagement and outreach by service providers, but create public health and safety conflicts with the intended use of these spaces. It is simply incompatible to have an encampment on or near school property, on a playfield or recreational trail, in a business district, or other similar spaces.
- Fund Restoration of Parks and Public Spaces, linking progress in housing with restoration and activation of parks, sidewalks and green spaces—with immediate funding and City personnel dedicated to trash and debris cleanup, neighborhood response, and de-escalating conflict while we bring housing and services to scale.
- Build Affordable Housing Faster. Critical, housing levy funded projects are too often needlessly bogged down in our own red tape. Persistent delays throughout our process can make a project wait far beyond a year before it receives a building permit. Further, these delays add to the overall cost of the project. We are in a crisis and this is a preventable situation. As Mayor, all affordable projects will get their approval within 12 months of submitting for a permit, or faster. We have an incredible city workforce and I will empower them to safely and efficiently evaluate and permit these desperately needed units. Delaying homes in a housing crisis is avoidable and unacceptable.
Our actions on these policies and more will be driven by our compassion as a city – not our anger and frustration at the problem. We will demand that every person be treated with dignity.
There are no quick fixes to this crisis, but we know strategies that provide immediate shelter, personalized case management, and long-term care and treatment work. Let’s do this, together.
We Can – and Must – Address Structural Racism and Police Bias, Ensuring Public Safety
Black Lives Matter is the most impactful civil rights movement in my adult life, and I stand in unity with those seeking justice and reform – as I have throughout my career in law and public service. This commitment is reinforced by my own experience growing up, and later raising two young Black men in our city and society. As an attorney, I would commonly ask potential jurors to recount their lived experiences when being interrogated by police officers, and I have seen tears in the eyes of many African Americans when reliving their trauma.
That is exactly why I was the sole drafter of Seattle’s unprecedented “Bias Free” policing law which requires our City to daylight the information as to who is stopped by law enforcement, and why.
With your support, we will start 2022 with a baseline that Seattle must be different than what has occurred and continues to occur to countless African Americans at the hands of police officers. Our own officers will work with community leaders to change OUR narrative.
- Our Race and Data Initiative: With the assistance of experts in technology, the developer community, data mining and the use of test cases, for the first time in Seattle’s history we will daylight and organize behavioral data to address how Seattle can address institutional and historic racism. Under this initiative, we will better understand who are denied jobs; what level of housing discrimination exists; who are treated unfairly in our court systems; who is most likely to be the victim of violence. We will not be afraid to examine our City’s frailties as this will be a first step in healing as a city.
- Beyond Training and Reform, A Pledge: In addition to state-mandated reforms in training, techniques, and conduct, I would like every sworn police officer in Seattle to watch the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis and voluntarily sign an open letter stating: The Inhumane Treatment of Fellow Human Beings Will Not Be Tolerated In Seattle. To further this mission, I will work to personally recruit officers looking to be internal change agents, heroes within the department to help coach, train, love and inspire our officers to be the department we all deserve.
- Budgeting that Ensures Training, Proper Response, and Needed Staffing: We need to move beyond arbitrary and divisive public safety budget debates and align the needs of our entire community with the mandate of ending bias, improving response times, and reducing crime. We need the right kind of personnel to respond—like social workers and addiction specialists when an armed officer isn’t needed or appropriate. Accountability and training—and appropriate staffing for our growing city—require resources and reforms. We can do both.
The “us” vs “them” conversation is not working. We must start from the common baseline that every human being deserves respect and dignity.
We all deserve safe streets and communities. We know the difference between peaceful protest and criminal destruction of property. We need real talk. We need leadership.
As Mayor, I’ll never lose sight of the goal: a Seattle police department that is responsive to community needs, that protects all people and neighborhoods without bias.
Health Care for All Seattle Residents
No one in our city should live without access to health care. Cities like San Francisco have developed basic coverage models that provide access to those at risk of falling through the cracks of a costly, cumbersome, and racially inequitable system. Employees of small businesses, gig economy workers, young people, and anyone experiencing homelessness or economic disruption all deserve quality care. Let’s come together and build a system that shows our commitment to a healthy community.
- Partner with providers and hospitals to allow affordable, point of service or ongoing care
- Leverage additional foundation and private sector support to offset program costs
- Work with small businesses to scale program access and cost
- Make broader care and coverage an integral part of our plan to address homelessness; as we expand treatment and services, it is less expensive to offer comprehensive and preventative care than rely on emergency rooms and first responders.
Launching this type of program will require trust and collaboration, bringing all parties to the table with a common goal of providing coverage and support to all in our city. I’m excited to take on this important and overdue challenge.
Taking on the Climate Crisis – and Securing an Emerald City for Generations to Come
With temperatures rising year over year and less than a decade left to prevent the worst effects of climate change, Seattle must set the example as America’s leading climate-forward city – and we cannot leave anyone behind.
I will define a bold climate agenda guided by science that sets ambitious and necessary goals, so we can do our part. Every issue is connected to our environment – housing, transportation, the economy, racial and social justice. Climate action cannot be an afterthought or a secondary consideration.
Addressing the climate crisis with urgency – and agency – we will:
- Develop a localized clean energy economy through new, green, union jobs in energy, transportation, and construction and retrofitting – with a just transition, strong labor standards, and apprenticeships that ensure workers thrive.
- Establish truly 100% Clean Buildings – by ending the use of natural gas in new construction, supporting efforts to replace aging gas systems with clean electricity in existing homes and buildings, and expanding adoption and accessibility of rooftop solar.
- Better connect our neighborhoods to each other and within, through strong transit networks, walkable and bikeable pathways, and by committing to thoughtful urban planning where jobs, schools, childcare, and other needs are proximate to dense and affordable housing.
- Preserve and invest in Seattle’s world-class parks, protect p-patches and encourage community gardening, conserve and expand our tree canopy, and fight air and stormwater pollution with an emphasis on environmental justice.
We all have a stake in preventing climate catastrophe – and, more so, an obligation to our youth and future generations to live up to this moment.
From crisis rises opportunity – and as your Mayor, I will bring the city together around a shared vision to defeat climate change and ensure a healthy environment and a more equitable city for all.
A Robust Transportation Network and Infrastructure to Match
Access to affordable, reliable transportation opens new doors and a city full of possibilities. We need the kind of expansive and synergistic transit system that connects people to the places they want to go and lives up to this city’s innovative spirit.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s decaying infrastructure puts this potential at risk – ill-equipped to keep up with the city’s growth, creating long commutes and transportation headaches. We must solve existing issues and proactively respond to future challenges.
With your vote, I will act on critical transportation priorities to:
- As we emerge from the pandemic, get transit back on track, by increasing frequency of service, broadening route options, and working with Metro to better connect different methods of transportation.
- Increase e-bike usage and support electric cars by placing and constructing charging stations so they are widely available and conveniently located. As demand for gasoline decreases, work to clean up and repurpose valuable land for electric vehicles, affordable housing, retail, and community uses.
- Accelerate repair and maintenance of aging facilities like the West Seattle Bridge, Magnolia Bridge, and other critical infrastructure needs that connect our neighborhoods and people.
- Continue investing in safe sidewalks and bike lanes while implementing Vision Zero concepts that will help keep every commuter safe.
- Listen to and act on the needs of transit and rideshare drivers – investing in solutions to ensure safety and wellbeing on the job, and furthering first-in-the-nation organizing protections.
- Push the boundaries of transportation innovation, work to expedite Sound Transit 3 construction, explore groundbreaking potential proposals like Cascadia high speed rail, and work with the Biden administration to secure funding for new and existing projects.
As Mayor, I’ll look holistically at our transportation system, to improve service, make needed infrastructure investments, and committing to equitable, reliable service for every resident.
By doing so, we will lower emissions, reduce commute times, and boast a world-class transportation system that connects neighbors to jobs, schools, and each other.
Reducing Gun Violence in our City
Gun violence is a preventable public health crisis that disproportionately impacts BIPOC and lower income communities. It is a crisis that has grown in Seattle, where a full 50% of firearm homicides take the lives of Black residents, primarily young men, a number hugely disproportionate to the population as a whole.
This overall rise in gun violence is made worse by recent white supremacist action, creating the need to act on open carry and public intimidation and threat by those who come to our city seeking to do harm. As a community we will have zero tolerance for hate, and zero tolerance for armed intimidation.
We must take action to reduce gun violence in our city – and across the state and nation. While state preemption laws prevent Seattle from taking unilateral action to ban firearms and firearm use in our city, we can elect a Mayor who will be a strong advocate for responsible gun laws, and will work locally to to address gun crimes and health impacts including:
- Establishing an executive-level position to coordinate citywide gun violence prevention policy and coordination, making sure we are working alongside local, regional, state and federal officials and agencies to improve safety and reduce violence.
- Improving education and outreach, from making sure residents understand that we are all safer with fewer guns in our homes, to safe storage for those who do legally possess firearms.
- Investing in community based response for people and places most impacted by gun violence.
- Building and enhancing Seattle’s partnership with King County on firearm enforcement, making sure we employ the data gathering, public health leadership, and law enforcement strategies needed to reduce violence in our homes and communities.
As Mayor, I will prioritize a safe and welcoming city – regardless of where you live, work, express your faith, or go to school. We must reduce the threats of gun violence and give everyone a chance to live life to their fullest potential.
Bold Ideas for Economic Recovery | Ending Homelessness | Police Reform and Public Safety | Health Care for All | Taking on the Climate Crisis | Transportation and Infrastructure | Reducing Gun Violence