A More Resilient Seattle Economy
The COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on our community and local economy. I am proud to have led the passage of the JumpStart progressive revenue bill through a broad coalition of labor, business and community, that brings in over $214 million a year for housing, equitable development and Green New Deal investments. This is the most progressive revenue package that has passed the city council. With the expected infusion of reliable revenue and serving as Budget Chair, I protected against austerity cuts and preserved core services for our most vulnerable, while positioning us to protect and reopen our economy in a more equitable way. JumpStart allowed direct cash support for small businesses, workers, seniors and families in need, but there is so much more to do.
My priorities include equitable access to help small businesses, support for low workers, and investments in economic activity to create greater resilience across our city. Investments in childcare and out-of-school activities will support workers and allow small businesses to get back to work safely. In the next four years, together, we will build towards a more equitable, resilient Seattle economy by:
Protecting progressive revenue gains through JumpStart to prevent devastating budget cuts and fund critical social services.
Funding direct-cash assistance to small businesses supported by JumpStart and through new federal and state assistance to get workers back to work safely.
Enforcing and enhancing labor standards through priority hire, prevailing wage, labor harmony, and other policies.
Revitalizing our public spaces, parks and safe streets by housing those who are there and turning green spaces and community plazas into thriving economic hubs for safe and healthy spaces.
Investing in our workforce with training dollars, specifically in childcare and early learning, and for those in the app-based industries.
Ensuring access to high-quality childcare as a fundamental part of our city’s recovery plan by expanding affordability for families and additional support/sustainability for providers.
Implementing the Green New Deal strategies that help create new industrial and manufacturing jobs that promote environmentally sustainable economy.
Prioritizing equitable distribution of vaccines to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin, aren’t being left behind in our recovery.
Learn more about my plans to build a resilient Seattle economy:
Small business entrepreneurs, women and minority business owners help create active community centers and neighborhood economic hubs when given a chance to startup and thrive – and these small business leaders have been hit the hardest due to COVID. Many say they need flexible financial assistance to have the stability and financial backing needed to open doors and hire back workers. We can enhance cash assistance, lending programs, permitting, and worker training to get through the toughest economic downturn in the last century – which in turn creates jobs and economic activity for our entire region.
- Implement Federal and State cash assistance and expand Seattle’s JumpStart assistance for small businesses, especially in diverse communities throughout Seattle and for women/minority owned businesses.
- Mirror Portland’s MicroMercantes program to create space for small businesses to startup and industrial kitchen space needed for larger scale production.
- Support citywide municipal broadband utility so that all Seattle residents have fast, affordable internet to help businesses, help workers find job opportunities, and create access for all.
When we pass workers’ rights laws, worker productivity and the health of our local economy improves. When we protect and advance the right for workers to have a voice in their workplace, then the economic climate strengthens as there is more prosperity for all workers in the area. When we defend immigrant workers against deportation and intimidation, our entire workforce’s safety and cohesion strengthens. As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will continue to stand up for worker protections, wages, benefits, the injured worker safety net, and fight against retaliation and wage theft. Places like Seattle and the state of Washington are good to do business because we have invested in the local economy, lifted-up small businesses and our workforce, protected our workers’ safety net programs, and have fought to increase wages and expand benefits.
- Expand worker protections into even more emerging industries to make sure worker rights are protected and everyone has access to a minimum wage, breaks, leave and protection from retaliation.
- Invest in workforce training strategies so as we recover from the economic consequences of COVID more workers have access to good living wage jobs, benefits, and stability, especially for low-wage workers of color and women who have been disproportionately affected by the recession.
- Lead by example by awarding contracts to those that hire locally and include high numbers of women and minority workers and apprentices.
- Educate business owners and workers to avoid labor and safety violations, enforce Seattle’s labor standards, and prevent frequent violators from being awarded city contracts.
Seattle is becoming a leader in green energy infrastructure and green energy jobs through investments in JumpStart GND priorities, building efficiency standards, shifts away from natural gas and by building more dense housing options within the city. Seattle has proven to be a strong leader on climate change, but our fight is still far from over– we need to lead with community-driven solutions and make sure our zip codes and proximity to superfund sites doesn’t determine our health or life expectancy.
Through the passage of the JumpStart revenue bill and the expansion of the Light Rail and Move Seattle levy, we have made substantial progress in reducing our carbon footprint. But as Earth continues to warm, it is our responsibility to do more and continue to fight climate change. In Seattle, this means both mitigating our emissions and adapting our city to be best prepared for our changing climate. Reducing our reliance on cars is going to be crucial for mitigating our emissions, and I will continue to advocate for expediting infrastructure and public transit projects so people have access to alternative green modes of transportation. Public transit is the single most transformative thing we can do to promote public health and create community engagement and opportunity all while reducing our carbon emissions. And as our city continues to grow, I will work to implement increasing efficiency standards in new buildings and invest in workforce training opportunities to transition away from carbon-heavy industries. We can and must rebuild our economy in a more equitable and green way in the wake of this deadly pandemic. As your City Councilmember, I will continue to promote “just transition” programs to create the workforce and industries needed to create a green economy like I did when I championed the Green Janitor legislation, MEETs building standards, and amendments to the new Energy Efficiency codes for the city. In addition to reducing our emissions, Seattle will not be protected from the effects of climate change, so it is critical that we take steps to adapt our city to the changing climate. This will involve smart infrastructure investments to boost our climate resilience, especially in poor and marginalized communities. Tackling climate change is no small task, but over the next four years I will continue to ensure that our city is doing its part.
- Invest in more Just Transition workforce training opportunities to transition carbon-heavy industries to jobs in the green energy economy and maintain good living wage jobs.
- Invest in public transit options and transit oriented development to cut down on carbon emissions and develop more affordable housing near transit hubs in Seattle so we travel less distances.
- Complete the bicycling infrastructure master plan to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and create safe streets for all users.
- Amend zoning to encourage the “15 minute community” and support transit-oriented development.
- Prioritize tree-planting programs in redlined communities to fight urban heat bubbles.
- Accelerate system buildout of auto charging infrastructure
- Expand the bus pass program and subsidize use for low-income residents to increase accessibility of green transit options
- Utilize the power of green stormwater infrastructure and expand its use across Seattle to avoid flooding and wastewater overflow during our rainy season
- Focus on livability through green spaces, public transit, and community-connections.
- Involve communities of color, front-line workers, and fence-line communities who are most at risk of the harms of climate change, and who have done the least to cause the crisis, in developing climate justice solutions.
During this recession women are disproportionately represented among workers who are being forced out of the workforce or onto reduced shifts – due to lack of available, affordable childcare. The only way to create greater equity in the workplace and in society for working families in this recovery is to focus on equitable access to childcare. Child care is also an industry disproportionately represented by women, people of color, immigrants and refugees. Without childcare, our economy fails. But often child care providers themselves are not sufficiently paid, while simultaneously far too many working parents are forced out of the labor market due to expensive child care costs. Affordable and accessible childcare is the great equalizer to creating greater equity and stability for Seattle’s working families in a post-COVID economy. It’s critical for getting parents back to work, and it’s the smartest public health investment to make in ages 0-5.
- Expand the child care subsidy program to all families so that no family is paying more than 10% of their income on child care for children to make child care more affordable;
- Create an Early Care and Education Workforce Board, jointly run by the City and provider organizations to recommend policy and investment priorities to improve the quality of child care by supporting the child care workforce.
- Increase investments in out-of-school time as the school day does not mirror the work day for most parents and when schools open back up, parents will need those extra hours covered to be able to fully return to work.
- Support more school-based health centers and school based counselors to help children process the impact of distance learning and the loss associated with COVID.
COVID has shown us that lack of access to high speed internet is a matter of getting access to a doctor or vaccine, and thus, life or death; it’s a matter of learning or falling behind, of getting a job or missing a paycheck. Without high speed internet in our homes, we cannot do any of this. This pandemic has exposed how urgent it is to build our digital infrastructure in an equitable way. Building highspeed municipal broadband as an option for all Seattleites has never been so urgent. For every child that grows up without the internet at home, we lose a potential innovator that could lead the fight against climate change, or revolutionize the way we share ideas.
- Support Seattle’s Digital Equity Initiative, a series of policy recommendations developed in partnership with over 100 community leaders, stakeholders, and companies:
- Streamline the permitting process, amend restrictively rules that inhibit fiber cabinet build-out, and incentivize comprehensive broadband coverage with a pole attachment subsidy.
- Support tech sector growth through mixed income housing developments near transit hubs with market-rate/luxury apartments buoying costs of affordable housing units.