By Maiya Gessling The North American Post
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell was elected by his fellow councilmembers to the position of Council President on Jan. 4. Harrell, now the representative for District 2, has served as Seattle City Councilmember since 2008 and most recently chaired the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies. When the Mayor is absent from the City or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor. Harrell, the first Japanese American/ African American Council President, was also named as Chair of the Education, Equity and Governance committee.
Harrell was sworn into office by his wife Joanne and their son Jason, and said, “So this new day, you will hear the terms equity, civil rights, justice and fairness over and over again. That will be our collective political DNA, and I am excited about the possibilities in front of us.”
“I have asked my colleagues to allow me to be the policy lead in education. While it was football that paid for my education, it was my education that became my weapon against bigotry, hatred, injustice…our kids need resources. They need to look into the mirror and see reflected back someone with the potential to be great. I think we need to stop seeing education as a race, and instead as a process of self-discovery.”
All nine Seattle City Councilmembers took their oaths of office in the traditional inauguration ceremony in City Council Chambers on Monday, following their successful victories in last November’s election. Newly elected Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez, Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson and Debora Juarez joined returning re-elected Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Harrell, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant in taking their seats at the Council dais.
Family, friends, colleagues and community members filled the Seattle City Council chambers to celebrate the new and returning local government leadership. Each elected official was sworn in by someone of their choice and gave brief remarks.