Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Jun 17 2009

One on One with
Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

On June 3rd, I attended the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) conference in Washington D.C. The conference served as an opportunity for community groups across America to engage in roundtable discussion with congressional staff, discuss the President’s initiatives, and the impact and direction at the local level. Our work on Seattle’s Housing Levy was of interest to many community development leaders across the country.

I also scheduled and attended a meeting with former Governor and current Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. One of the main operating functions of the Department of Commerce is economic development and minority business development; these are two issues that have been an integral part of my work plan. In my meeting with Secretary Locke, I introduced the concept of our Minority Business Toolkit. Also, on June 16, 2009, I announced the toolkit at the 14th Annual Report to the Community Luncheon presented by the UW Foster School of Business and Economic Development Center. As chair of the Prosperity Partnership Performance First Committee, I worked with the University of Washington’s Business Economic Development Center to develop the Minority Business Toolkit. This toolkit allows large businesses to have the “tools” to do business with smaller, minority businesses. It also makes the “business case” of profitability to support our proposition that doing business with minority businesses should be a core strategy to leverage the diverse marketplace, workplace and changing demographics of our world. Secretary Locke and I had a great working discussion about how we can leverage our work to create jobs, opportunities and prosperous partnerships.

Additionally, our conference included participation from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christensen, Congressman Al Green (Texas), Barney Frank (Massachusetts), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), and Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims. Ron Sims gave our group one of his most passionate speeches; it inspired many community development activists to keep doing what they are doing. With Seattleites Secretary Gary Locke, Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, and Director Gil Kerlikowske at the national level, I will make sure we use our local relationships with these great leaders to Seattle’s advantage. After all, we know how much they love this city.

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