In 1982 I was able to purchase a home in Fremont on a cop’s salary. Before that, I had strong union jobs and was able to work my way through school at the University of Washington. Today, Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the nation to live in. I believe in a more affordable future for our city—where Seattleites are able to live and work in the same community, and where working a full-time job means you can provide for your family and get ahead. I support strategic upzoning with affordable housing requirements, implementing a progressive capital gains tax, and strengthening labor standards to promote livable wages, ensure responsible benefits, and support continued education for workers.
I share the goal of my friend David Werthemier who strives to “make homelessness rare, brief, and one time.” To achieve this goal it’s important to recognize that homelessness is not just a Seattle issue. We must work collaboratively with the homeless population, providers, neighborhoods, and the business community across the city, county, and entire region to implement long-term solutions for housing and critical services. Through my experience and research and listening to others, I support a “four pillars” approach to addressing homelessness. Those four pillars are prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and enforcement.
Transportation and Mobility
From our new downtown tunnel and light rail expansion to the incredible opportunities opening up on our waterfront, we are witnessing a colossal growth period in Seattle. We need to continue improving our transportation and mobility systems to keep up with the rising demands of Seattle’s population. As a lifelong Seattleite, I have watched this growth with excitement for the future, but also with the consideration that we will need to act proactively to keep traffic to a minimum and transit accessibility to a maximum.
There is a loss of connectivity between elected city officials and the community they serve, and I am committed to restoring legitimacy and trust in our local government. I believe diversity is a key part of what makes any community successful and great. That’s why we must create a more welcoming environment by prioritizing inclusivity and equity for people of color, LGBTQ+, and immigrant communities, women, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. I recognize the value of unique perspectives and will bring my experience working with Seattle’s diverse communities on projects such as the Queer Street Patrol, Seattle Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, the Youth Music Advisory Council, and my 12 years of work with the East African Community Council to the table.
Ensured safety is the foundation for a thriving community. Throughout my 31-year career in the Seattle Police Department from Patrol Officer to Interim Police Chief, and as a vocal police and drug policy reform advocate, I have sought to protect people’s rights and build public trust. I am committed to furthering this work by ensuring or city obtains and maintains a system of constitutional policing — a practice that impacts everything from use-of-force to interacting with mentally ill individuals, and trains officers to protect people’s constitutional rights in every interaction. By working with the mayor, the community police commission, the police department, and employees, we can increase trust and public safety simultaneously by supporting our women and men in the police department.
Safety also means keeping our students, children, parents, and community members safe from the tragic effects of gun violence. In Washington state, someone is killed by a gun every 14 hours. It does not have to be this way. We know what it takes to keep our communities safe from gun violence, but we need leaders with the political courage to act on it.
I worked in law enforcement for 35 years and as a police officer, Captain, and Chief of Police, I worked to minimize gun violence and bolster programs aimed at prevention. If we can do that at SPD, we can do it again in City Hall. I will stand up to the gun lobby and fight for solutions that will help keep gun violence in all its forms out of our communities. I will also commit to ensuring that our existing gun responsibility laws are effectively implemented and get to work keeping our neighborhoods, community centers, congregations, and families safe on day one.
It is the duty of every elected leader to make combating climate change a top priority. It doesn’t matter if you’re a City Councilmember or President — the consequences of climate change are coming, fast. From the terrible smoke we saw last summer, to the destruction of our coastal tidelands, the unpredictable weather, and the strong storms that disrupt our workforce and affect our schools – all of which cost our city millions of dollars in lost wages and damages. This is not a problem for ‘next generation’ for some vague ‘tomorrow’. This is a problem we have to face head-on, today. If we work together with the urgency and political courage necessary to combat climate change, we can transform our economy in a way that stimulates new industries, helps create good union jobs, and makes our air and water cleaner and healthier for every one of us in Seattle and on this planet.