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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Jan 14 2016

ADVISORY: City to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with ‘Unity’ Events

Published by under Civil Rights

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray, Council President Bruce A. Harrell and members of the Seattle City Council, along with community leaders, and City employees, invite the public to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, and to live out his vision, by participating in the second annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Seattle City Hall.
Thursday’s all-day event will include exhibits, workshops, remarks from the Mayor, Councilmembers and the City Attorney, as well as a reading by the City’s first-ever Civic Poet, and musical performances.
The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.
WHAT: Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘Unity’ Events
WHEN: 7:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (NOTE: A complete schedule of events is available ONLINE)
Selected highlights include:
• 8:30 – 10:55 a.m. Workshop Presenters – Former Assistant Superintendent Erin Jones and Gerald Hankerson, NAACP Director
• 11:15 a.m. Walter Kilgore Memorial Color Guard – US National Anthem / Black National Anthem Medley presented by Pat Wright, Seattle’s First Lady of Gospel
• Remarks by Honorary Chair Mayor Edward Murray, Council President Bruce A. Harrell, Councilmember Tim Burgess, City Attorney Pete Holmes and Former Assistant Superintendent Erin Jones
• Emcee Isiah Anderson, Captain John Hayes (Seattle Police Department), and featuring the City’s Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna
• Key Note Speaker – Director Stephan Blanford, Seattle Public Schools
• Introduction of Musical Guest Josephine Howell
The celebration will close with music by Gabriel Teodros, D.J. Sureal.
WHERE: City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA
WHO: Elected officials, community leaders and the public

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Jan 16 2015

Construction Jobs Bill Unanimously Recommended by Council Committee

SEATTLE – A City Council committee today unanimously recommended adoption of a jobs bill to help people living in economically distressed areas establish and secure careers in the construction industry.

The committee approved “priority hire” legislation to support pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and to require that a percentage of the work on City-funded capital construction projects costing over $5 million be performed by residents from economically distressed areas of Seattle and King County. Economically distressed areas are indicated by high concentrations of people who are unemployed, without college degrees and living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

“With this bill, more Seattleites who have faced barriers to getting into construction careers will reap the rewards of both a well-paying job in the short-term and portable skills for the future,” said Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the legislation’s sponsor and chair of the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee. “I want to thank the many residents and stakeholders who shared their experiences and expertise on this complex and historic legislation.”

“Using our local tax dollars to put people from communities in our city with higher unemployment to work just makes good sense,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, co-sponsor of the legislation. “This is a great step today and an acknowledgement of the incredible community organizing that began years ago to bring this bill to fruition.”

“This is a landmark social justice bill to keep jobs in Seattle and creating opportunities and pathways to success for economically disadvantaged groups. We are trying to create a new pathway that has not been there before,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “I want to recognize community leaders like Michael Woo from Got Green to Puget Sound Sage and members of the Construction Careers Advisory Committee for helping us make this legislation a reality.”

“I was shocked to learn that of 33 City-funded projects only 6% of the workers on those projects lived in Seattle; with only 25% being from King County,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “If we want to reduce environmental impacts of commuting, we must reduce the driving distance of workers driving to their Seattle jobs.”

In 2013 the Council and Mayor convened a Construction Careers Advisory Committee (CCAC) composed of contractors, sub-contractors, women and minority businesses, community organizations, labor unions, training programs and policy experts. Based on the CCAC’s recommendations, this legislation was developed in partnership with Mayor Murray to increase access to construction jobs for people who have historically not been equally represented in the industry. Today’s legislation creates an ongoing Implementation and Advisory Committee, which will submit an annual report to the Mayor and Council, and in 2016, the Mayor and Council will review the program results.

In 2012 the City’s public works budget was approximately $220 million, which generated about 446 full-time jobs in construction. A review of 33 City funded projects between 2009-2013 found that 6 percent of the workforce lived in Seattle.

The legislation will be considered by the Full City Council on Tuesday, January 20 at 2:00 p.m.
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Jun 28 2012

Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s statement on Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision

Published by under Civil Rights,Health

My statement regarding Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision (issued June 28, 2012):

Today, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, released the following statement overwhelmingly supporting the United States Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, ending two years of fierce debate.

“I have seen the detrimental impact of not having medical coverage in my own life through the eyes of family members, friends, and colleagues. This decision will ensure that they are no longer one major medical emergency away from health and financial disaster,” said Councilmember Harrell. “People can now seek solace knowing that their health is not tied to their employment status. This is absolutely critical in building a healthy Seattle.”

The Councilmember would like to thank President Obama, Congress, and specifically the members of the Washington State congressional delegation for taking the hard steps to address health care coverage in this country. Today’s decision is just a start. Now, lawmakers at the local level must move forward together to implement the Affordable Care Act.

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Mar 14 2012

Post from Jeremy Racca: Disability Rights Advocacy

Published by under Civil Rights

This post was written by my Legislative Assistant, Jeremy Racca.

At the UW, I studied and advocated for people with disabilities. College, while an intellectually fulfilling endeavor, often fails to achieve actual action. While lofty ideals are cultivated in academia, I want pragmatic action to be practiced in government.

As a Legislative Assistant for the Council, I have had enumerable opportunities to practice the ideals I formed in college. Since my first day, Councilmember Harrell has enthusiastically encouraged me to use my disability rights advocacy experience to help as many people as possible. “Policy work is useless if it is not translated into action and practice.”

An older man contacted our office and told us about a problem he was having getting business managers to let him use their restrooms. The man, like myself, suffers from Crohn’s Disease. An often-misunderstood disease, Crohn’s can sometimes cause a person to frequent the restrooms several times an hour.

The man was a patient at the Pike Place Clinic, but he had not seen his doctor in sometime. In addition, he was unaware that simply presenting a letter from a doctor can often get you access to restrooms in public. Our office contacted his caseworker and arranged a doctor visit for him to get such a letter. Unfortunately, while the letter was helping him gain access to restrooms, it was not holding up to Seattle’s often-wet weather. I told the Councilmember Harrell about the problem and he suggested we make laminated, wallet-sized cards for the man to use.

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Mar 09 2012

Proclamation: 101st year of International Women’s Day

Published by under Civil Rights

Whereas, The City of Seattle officially recognizes the 101st year of International Women’s Day; and

Whereas, The first International Women’s Day was held on March 19, 1911, when more than a million European women and men rallied for the right of women to vote, work and hold public office; and

Whereas, The date of International Women’s Day became fixed as March 8 in 1917, in commemoration of a strike by Russian women involved in the peace movement; and

Whereas, The women’s movement recognizes and values women’s rights; and

Whereas, The Seattle City Council recognizes the dedication and commitment of the members of the Seattle Women’s Commission in this effort; and

Whereas, The Council officially commemorates the strides and contributions that women have made by serving in public office, as Mayor, City Council members and participating in Seattle’s civic life; and

Whereas, The City of Seattle celebrates the anniversary of International Women’s Day in order to reaffirm its commitment to the basic principles underlying the equality and justice for all women;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, that the Seattle City Council officially recognizes the 101st year of International Women’s Day

Be it further resolved, that the Seattle City Council forwards a copy of this Proclamation to each member of the Seattle Women’s Commission and calls on all our residents to give special thanks for the courageous women from around the world and in the city of Seattle.

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Oct 13 2011

Healthcare inclusion for City of Seattle transgender employees

On October 7, it was announced that healthcare exclusions for City of Seattle transgender employees are being lifted. I drafted and submitted a memorandum to the City’s Health Care Committee (HC2) encouraging their consideration of removing healthcare exclusions for City of Seattle transgender employees. Also signing on to the letter were Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen. Beginning January 1, 2012, transgender medical procedures will be included in all City of Seattle healthcare plans.

I am so pleased to see our policies reflect our values; our value that we will not discriminate based on one’s sexual identity. I was pleased to work with our City’s five Civil Rights Commissions, in particular, the LGBT Commission, to help ensure that our transgender employees can now get the coverage they need. Our City’s healthcare plans will now include treatments, medications and services for gender affirming surgeries and procedures.

Current data shows 39 percent of Fortune 500 companies include transgender healthcare procedures in their healthcare plans, compared to only 1 percent in 2004. Seattle is proud to join San Francisco and Portland, Oregon with this inclusion for transgender employees.

Without this inclusion, those identified as transgender are often denied other basic medical and psychological care. By including transgender medical procedures in our City’s healthcare plans, we show our commitment to social justice, fairness and the needs of all City employees.

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