I hope you are able to enjoy time with family and friends this Thanksgiving week. As you likely know, at the end of December, three of my colleagues and I will conclude our tenure on the Council. I have been honored and proud to serve the great people of Seattle the last 12 years. The city has grown by almost 150,000 residents during this time. And while we have experienced tremendous growth and change over the last decade, and the challenges that come with such growth, I continue to believe there is no better city. The importance of local politics and policy as well as the impact that cities have on economic, educational and social health in our country, should never be underestimated. It directly affects our place in the world economy. As cities succeed or struggle, so does our country. That is why I took on this important task 12 years ago. I have never envisioned an unsuccessful Seattle.
While many are thriving in this city, we cannot ignore the tough issues related to affordable housing and homelessness. It is literally visible. Our budget reflected this concern. I have continued to advocate for good jobs, economic growth, and a working transportation system. I do not believe that stifling economic growth and hindering good jobs to solve the issue of homelessness and hopelessness is the answer. I do believe a good job; effective human, social and educational support; a supportive social support system and more housing are key components of the solution. Again, our work on the budget this year reflected this reality.
And we must remain committed to not only a healthy and sustainable environment, but also a safe and equitable Seattle. That is why I continued to support the hiring of more police officers trained in the use of de-escalation tactics and reasonable force and simultaneously sponsored a law against racial profiling and biased policing. My vision is not just a safe Seattle, but a just Seattle.
The issues facing this city are bigger than any one elected official or advocacy group. Collectively and as trite as it may sound, positive outcomes can only be achieved through a collaborative, pragmatic, coordinated effort. The job of civic leaders is to set this stage and to make it work. I wish our new Council and my successor in District 2, Councilmember-Elect Tammy Morales, all the best next year.
As President of the Council, I was given the unique opportunity to facilitate City Hall decisions in some of the most difficult circumstances. I could not have done it without supportive constituents like you; a supportive Mayor; committed City employees; and, a team of committed public servants on the Council. I have been blessed.
In closing, I hope you can join us for a reception honoring the service of all four of us (Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Councilmember Abel Pacheco, and myself).