Four years ago, I ran for Seattle City Council as a Progressive Labor Democrat to ensure that every Seattleite could share in our city’s prosperity and create healthy communities for all. I won with about 60% of the vote as a first time candidate, and with your support, I want to continue the work we’ve started to promote healthy communities, lift-up working families, build more affordable housing, and create an economy that works for all. I was proud to be named one of Seattle’s Most Influential People 2018 for my work on critical legislation in office, and was awarded the Local Progress 2019 Ady Barkan Progressive Champion Award. In 2020, I earned national attention by leading the passage of progressive revenue on the largest companies to invest in COVID relief, housing and a more equitable economy. I was also the first first-time candidate in the Nation to win using publicly financed campaign vouchers committed to only taking small dollar contributions and engaging new voters with Democracy Vouchers – and I am doing so again in this race for re-election.
It has been my honor to serve over 750,000 residents citywide on Seattle City Council since 2017. We have brought together diverse coalitions to pass progressive and impactful policy change. Bringing together labor, business, housing, transportation, racial equity and environmental justice advocates to pass the JumpStart Seattle progressive revenue plan and COVID relief in 2020. Leading the council on workers’ rights, I also championed Seattle’s groundbreaking Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that served as a model for national efforts to improve wages and protections for vulnerable workers in 2018, and passed legislation to secure health care and protections for hotel workers in 2019.
As the Chair of Housing, one of my first bills in 2018 ensured surplus city and other publicly-owned land would be made available for affordable housing and direct housing services – not sold to the highest bidder. Working together we have provided greater economic security for small businesses and childcare workers, rental assistance for working families, cash relief for immigrants and refugees, food security for Seattle families during the current pandemic crisis, and this relief helps provide a foundation for a more equitable economy when we recover.
There has been tremendous loss in 2020, both lost lives and lost livelihoods. Far too much, and far too many people impacted by the incompetence of the Trump administration. As we seek to rebuild and recover from the impacts of the deadly pandemic at the local level, I will continue to work with you to deliver on the vision of a Seattle economy that works for all, to rebuild in a more equitable way so no one is left out, and to do so with the urgency these compounding crises demand.
I’ve dedicated my career to making sure no one is left out or left behind. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, am a third-generation Mexican-American, a Chicana, the daughter of educators and social justice activists. My little sister and I grew up going to rallies and making our own handmade signs supporting peace and calls for justice. Those are the values my parents taught me, that I am now passing down to my own young daughter.
Prior to serving you on the City Council, I am very proud to have helped draft and then pass Initiative 1433 to provide paid sick and safe leave for all workers in our state and raise the state’s minimum wage for all low-wage working families. I am honored to have served as the consumer advocate on the WA Affordable Care Act Exchange Board, where I stood up with, and spoke out on behalf of, working families, women, people of color, immigrants and the lowest wage individuals to make sure they were getting the health insurance that was promised. I had the privilege, while at the Children’s Alliance, to lead the implementation of Apple Health for Kids to cover every child in our state and help to make sure that no child was turned away from the healthcare they needed. And while at the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, for almost a decade, I worked on progressive agendas to ensure the right to a union, lift up low-wage workers, protect immigrant rights, create healthy and safe workplaces, and promote health care for all!
I am so proud of what we have accomplished, but there is more to do to address homelessness and affordable housing, create more educational and childcare opportunities, create good living wage jobs, and invest in our health, transportation, and infrastructure. This is what creates healthy communities, and investing in the social determinants of health is what drives me.
With your continued support, we can help our neighbors recover stronger from COVID, re-energize our local economy, and continue to build a Seattle that is inclusive and equitable for all.