SEATTLE (AP) – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell celebrated his inauguration Tuesday and pledged to create “a Seattle” through a series of policy goals that prioritize public safety and housing.
Harrell held a small, private ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday due to rising COVID-19 cases, the Seattle Times reported.
Harrell – a former Seattle City Council president who officially became mayor on Saturday after being elected with strong business support in November – said his team will lead the city through uncertain times.
“From today we will lead this city, which is obsessed with excellence and friendliness, with inclusion and hope, with poise and optimism. We will reject these attitudes of fear, pessimism or cynicism, ”said Harrell.
Harrell, 63, grew up in a red neighborhood in Seattle and is the first Asian American and the city’s second black mayor. He had advocated hiring the police rather than cutting resources, as his opponent, former Council President Lorena González, had advocated following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Harrell stressed public safety in his speech on Tuesday and stated, “In a Seattle we all feel safe and supported”.
“That’s why I will work with security officials and judicial officers as well as law enforcement experts who are committed to cultural change and the prevention of gun violence. Leaders who can transform and redefine policing, ”said Harrell, emphasizing the importance of hiring the“ right ”police officers.
Harrell said his other top priority is tackling homelessness.
“We’re going to be intolerant, not of the people who are not housed, but of the conditions that resulted in their not being housed,” Harrell said, later saying he had dealt with Governor Jay Inslee and King County Executive Resources spoken to to combat affordable housing and homelessness Dow Constantine.
While Harrell didn’t share a specific plan for homelessness, when asked after the speech, he said he would address the issue quickly.
“I will guarantee you will be seeing people here shortly,” said Harrell.
He also noted that Assistant Mayor for Housing and Homelessness Tiffany Washington, who served as Deputy Mayoress under then Mayor Jenny Durkan, was being “measured” by the development of homelessness.
“She shares the same passion and commitment, so we’ve been talking about real progress in a short amount of time and we meet in a feverish way,” said Harrell.
Harrell also mentioned that health care is guaranteed for all, including mental health, and other injustices are being addressed as the prime tenant of his administration.
“We will survive this pandemic and learn its lessons to help us improve health care, improve our educational outcomes, and address inequalities on a whole new level,” said Harrell.
First-term mayor Durkan, who also received business support, did not stand for re-election. The last three mayors elected by Seattle voters have served no more than one term.
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