With the federal government abdicating its responsibility to protect our rights, it’s time for the our city’s leaders to stand up for all residents of Seattle.
Reforming our Police. The death of Charleena Lyles, a victim of domestic violence who had called police for protection and instead was shot in front of her children, is a tragic reminder that changing the training, culture, and oversight of SPD is a critical priority for our next Mayor. Institutionalized racial biases must end in our city. While the recent legislation passed by the City Council to continue federally mandated reforms is a sign of progress, we still have a long way to go.
Statistics show that crisis intervention and de-escalation have begun to decrease the excessive use of force, but we still have so much more work to do. We need to:
- Expand and support crisis teams that integrate mental health professionals and social workers with specially trained officers. Community members with mental health issues should not be presented with police tactics alone.
- Prioritize de-escalation. While officers are often faced with threatening situations, de-escalation and non-lethal force must be our priority. We must also provide support for our law enforcement officers as they adapt to handle these situations through a non-traditional framework.
- Improve recruitment and retention of officers who live in and reflect the community they serve, in order to address systemic issues in the long term. First and foremost, that requires making Seattle affordable for all. And it means instituting innovative approaches to recruiting officers, which is why I will make it a legislative priority for the City in Olympia to change state law to allow lawful permanent residents to serve their communities as police officers.
- Push for changes to the unjust state law that requires prosecutors to prove that officers used deadly force “with malice.” In the State House, I supported legislation that would have changed this standard and provided resources for training officers.
- Maintain and support strong civilian oversight of SPD through the CPC or similar structures that give community leaders a direct voice in policies that impact the relationships and accountability we desperately need to nurture and enforce.
Protecting LGBTQ rights. First, I support the Washington Won’t Discriminate coalition in their efforts to defeat I-1552 and halt the rollback of anti-discrimination laws in our state. As mayor, I will work to remove the barriers that LGBTQ youth face, especially those struggling with homelessness or abuse. I support the work of Project EQTY that is working to engage, learn from, and change how our agencies and organizations interact with LGBTQ youth. Many small but significant changes can also be made to show that Seattle values gender diversity, from making intake forms gender inclusive and more confidential, making hiring and training policies LGBTQ competent, to adapting programming for LGBTQ youth and young adults. In addition, we should work with UW medical centers to establish programs and fellowships specializing in transgender care.
I will also work to prevent hate crimes against LGBTQ residents, with greater outreach and services for LGBTQ youth, including keeping Lambert House in Capitol Hill, using Neighborhood Matching Funds for projects that promote safety, and funneling resources to social service providers that work with at-risk youth. I will also increase reporting of hate crimes and police responses by continuing to support the SPD's Safe Places Program. A good example of their inclusionary work is the SPD training video, the first in the country to featuring transgender people speaking for themselves.
Fighting Islamophobia. Intolerance, Hate, and Divisiveness are not American values, and certainly not Seattle’s. I will not stand by and allow members of our community and residents of our city to be systematically vilified, harassed, dehumanized, or left out of our civic life. I will continue the fight against the unconstitutional Muslim travel ban and resist federal attempts to remove those who call Seattle home. Seattle has some of the strongest hate crime laws in the country, I want us to remain the leader and send the message that we welcome our Muslim residents. As mayor, I will foster unity by building on the work of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, expanding their reach and role with more resources for legal aid, education, and public trainings.
Keeping Seattle a Sanctuary City. We need to move right away to make sure that state and local data cannot be misused to target vulnerable populations. In the Legislature, I sponsored bills that would outlaw discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and prohibit the state from sharing information about a person’s religious affiliation for the purpose of setting up a database based on religion. As mayor, I will ensure city employees will not ask residents about immigration status, city employees will serve residents regardless of immigration status or identity, and police officers will not comply with ICE requests to detain immigrants for days without due process while federal agents decide whether to remove them. Declaring Seattle a Sanctuary City is one of the most important things our city has done. I will keep Seattle a Sanctuary City, protect against national cuts to services and resources, defend against threats to the safety and opportunity of residents, and stand up for all who make Seattle home.
Implementing a progressive tax structure. Washington has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country, which means it is biased against low-income residents who pay a greater percentage of their income than wealthy individuals. This tax structure is a form of institutional and systemic injustice. I support the progressive income tax proposed by the coalition led by the Transit Riders Union, as well as a broader effort by the City of Seattle to shift our tax structure away from regressive property and sales taxes. For the long term, we should explore possibilities such as capital gains taxes and carbon pricing to help make our tax system more progressive, so that the wealthiest few and out-of-state corporations pay their fair share. With a stronger, less regressive tax base, we can ward against retaliatory federal cuts targeted at Sanctuary Cities.
Advancing gender equity. As a working mom, I have been an advocate for women my whole career. Most recently, I led the Legislature to pass the Healthy Starts Act, which provides the conditions to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, prohibits employers from denying opportunities to pregnant women, and provides a set of reasonable accommodations in the workplace, including more flexible work hours for doctor visits and modifications to workstations. I also sponsored the Equal Pay Opportunity Act, which would prohibit job discrimination based on gender. If the State Senate blocks this bill, we must address gender employment discrimination at the city level. There are other areas where the City should already start moving forward. One of the most effective tools to empower women to participate equally in the workforce is affordable child care. My plan to ensure that no family in Seattle needs to pay more than 10 percent of their income for child care will make jobs more accessible for women while giving children the best start in life.