#TeresaTuesdays – Employee Hours Tax, Safe Consumption Sites, Ed Levy, Seattle City Light and Domestic Workers

June 14th, 2018

We Will Work Together to Find New Revenue

My office has heard a lot of concern regarding the Employee Hours Tax (EHT). I have concerns as well, but I cannot back a repeal without a replacement strategy to house and shelter our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

While a vote went forward to repeal the tax, our homelessness and housing affordability crisis continues to worsen. We have people who are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity, and our neighbors and friends worry about being able to afford to live in the City while we have a booming economy.

The debate around the EHT has been a flashpoint in Seattle’s housing crisis. I understand people’s frustrations. This City Council is in the midst of correcting the course set by the previous administration. Our City has taken steps to reform our contracting process and audit our efforts, providing greater transparency to the public on how dollars are spent – I’m also committed to making ourselves more accountable to you. I look forward to considering an array of options to move people from the streets to shelter, be it emergency tents, more tiny houses or temporary enhanced shelters, because right now we don’t have shelter space for the 4,500 people sleeping on the streets in Seattle on any given night. But all of these efforts are a band aid. We cannot warehouse people in shelters forever. We know if we want to permanently move people off the streets, we must provide housing and services. EHT represents a down payment to a better solution.

There’s a lot of conversation about looking at other solutions.  The reality is, we’ve looked at a lot of them. I participated in the countywide ‘regional approach’ through One Table – a group that’s been indefinitely paused. We worked on a payroll tax option and moved away from it at the request of a few large businesses. We also paused revenue efforts last year to create a task force comprised of members of the business community and housing advocates – an effort that was boycotted by several larger corporations. I cannot support repeal of the EHT without a similarly sized progressive revenue option. I am always ready and willing to work collaboratively on solutions that will make a meaningful impact on our homelessness and housing affordability crisis.  Until such a solution presents itself, I will continue to support the need for significant revenue to shelter and house our homeless, and to ensure all our community members have safe places to live, and feel safe in their communities. It’s easy to say no, it’s harder to say yes to a solution.

I do want to acknowledge the many business owners, including small and large businesses, that as civic leaders attempted to balance their business interests with those of the city’s. A critical next step for me will be to hear from those business leaders about how we can address our upside-down tax code while they continue to thrive in our city—we must ensure a future with both of those interests and I want to hear from business leaders who share that vision. While I didn’t join my colleagues and the Mayor in support of repeal without a replacement, I will work with them, along with business and labor, to find a funding replacement. We cannot wait months or until next year for another proposal or process while people are sleeping in our parks and on our streets.

Healing our Public Health Crisis of Addiction

Last week’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights committee brought a great deal of necessary attention to the topic of safe consumption sites, or a Community Health Engagement Location (CHEL).

Special thanks to members of the community who also testified about the need to provide safe health services to those with addiction. Click here to see their testimony. They, too, recognize what the experts had to say about this important public health crisis: safe consumption sites reduce unsafe drug use behaviors, overdose rates and are known to save lives.

In a perfect world, no one would use dangerous or deadly drugs. But the grim reality is that many people do.  With that in mind, a safe consumption site is needed precisely because overdose rates continue to rise and drug use in public spaces is up.

Last year (this time period is unconfirmed, we have an email out to Jeff Sakuma), 2,300 overdoes were reversed in King County. We are looking at various options where medical professionals are present when people are using. With this approach, we can save more lives, and help get people into recovery.

The City has been exploring the idea of a safe consumption site since early last year, based off recommendations by the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force.

What my committee has been exploring is a timeline, asking how it would work, and the format (meaning brick-and-mortar or a fixed mobile unit).

Council has not reached a decision about safe injection sites that are mobile.  The next steps, as outlined by Jeff Sakuma, Health Integration Strategist for the City, include community engagement, purchase of a vehicle, and siting and development of a fixed site:

  • The City and County are partners in the development of a CHEL inside the city.  Going forward we will consider the shared financial commitment for ongoing operations.
  • City Council appropriated $1.3 million in the 2018 budget for siting the CHEL.  Therefore, the money is available to be used in line with their appropriation.
  • The ongoing operating costs would have to be part of upcoming budget recommendations from the Executive and the approval of City Council.

Again, the City has no plans to buy a van or chose a location without community engagement; and, a timeline is still necessary. It’s my sincere hope that together we can raise greater awareness about drug use and bring it out of the shadows so people we all know and love will live, not die.

Renewing our Commitment to Kiddos

Last week, the co-chairs of the Select Committee released the Council’s draft legislation renewing both the Seattle Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy. In addition, the Mayor’s requested Seattle Promise – providing funding for the first two years of higher education for the first students accepted, regardless of income – is included. This combined levy is now called Families, Education, Preschool & Promise, or FEPP.

Your input will help determine which programs are funded, which are cut, and how much the total ask will be. Submit your comment to council@seattle.gov, or attend Full Council on Monday, when we will consider and take a final vote on sending this package to the ballot in November.

Working to Keep the Lights On!

The Mayor submitted the six-year DRAFT Seattle City Light Strategic Plan for my Select Committee’s review last week. Included is the Mayor’s proposed rate path, including her suggestion for a 5.8% rate increase next year. As Chair of the Select Committee reviewing this plan, I am committed to engaging with the public on what the final Strategic Plan will look like, and the final rate path, to relieve any increase for working families.

The items I am committed to adding to the Strategic Plan include (but are not limited to) workplace harassment and prevention, adequate rate design, and clarity as to how City Light intends to address capital costs. This Thursday, we’ll hear more about the rate path, and continue our work as Council to ensure the final plan meets the utility and customer needs not only for today, but throughout the six years of the Plan.

Attend and give feedback this Thursday, June 14, at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. Our next scheduled meeting is Thursday, June 28, at 2:00 p.m., where we will be discussing the plan and rates further, again with public input.

Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

Next week my office intends to introduce the legislation we’ve been working on with community since day one – the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. We are crafting a set of tools to protect domestic workers and provide clarity to hiring entities on regulations protecting workers. I am excited to continue the work of protecting working people from harassment and abuse, while lifting up wages, expanding benefits, preventing discrimination, and ensuring an ability to retire with dignity is extended to those who care for our kiddos and our homes.

Our next HHEWR Committee meeting – June 21 at 9:30 a.m. – will be the first committee review, and we’ll identify areas for amendment and ways to enhance the work that has been put into this bill. This is on our way to passing the bill out of committee in July, and continuing to ensure that Seattle shows respect for all workers!


#TeresaTuesdays – Happy May Day, 3 Ways to Get Engaged, Expanding Opportunity for Affordable Housing & More!

May 2nd, 2018

Happy May Day!

Thousands of people across the globe and from Seattle are marching today to champion the rights of workers and put a spotlight on labor issues, immigrant rights, and social justice. Today is a reminder of the power of the people and the resilience of our communities. Thank you to everyone who is marching, advocating, and fighting for a more just society.

This week we are hosting several events to commemorate labor week. I hope you can join us!

* Please note the location for the Creating our King County Kickoff with MLK Labor on Saturday has been updated to the Laborers’ Hall Local 242- 22323 Pacific Hwy S. Des Moines, WA 98198

This past two weeks have been brought to us by the phrase “getting stuff done.” I’m also hearing that you all want some concrete ways to help get stuff done, so, I’m launching a new feature:


Three Ways to Get Engaged

  • Join me for labor-week events and help get the word out about the week’s activities
  • Submit your labor story – tell me why workers’ rights matter to you, personally, and I’ll begin featuring stories in this newsletter.
  • Tell me what you’d speak about with college students.  I’m speaking at Bellevue College next week, and I’d love your thoughts.

Here is how we’ve been engaged in making changes as of late:

Expanding Opportunity for Affordable Housing!

One of the latest pieces of legislation that I sponsored and passed allows for the Office of Housing to more easily acquire and preserve land for affordable housing. Think more opportunities for Community Land Trusts, affordable housing options and public ownership.

We are in the middle of a housing crisis, we needed to act with urgency to get a different solution: more housing quickly. This change bill means more opportunities to expand our affordable housing options for low and middle income families now and in the future! This is just one more step in our actions to address the affordable housing crisis, and work to affirmatively ensure fair housing access in Seattle. But we also need the funding to build the housing needed…


Progressive Revenue Now!

I am proud to co-sponsor the legislation to help right side up our upside-down tax code here in Seattle. The Employee Hours Tax is sponsored by Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O’Brien and me to help fund affordable housing for those exiting homelessness and those living in poverty to help create stable housing and healthy communities.

This is a common-sense solution that asks those who are prospering the most in our local economy to contribute a little to help with the housing and homelessness crisis. This is just about a quarter an hour and only applies to the largest corporations that make $20 million or more per year – many corporations that benefited from the federal tax cuts also. With this proposal we are bringing greater fairness to our local tax code and creating the housing or families and citizens need.

This is a practical approach to a public health crisis. Without shelter, people die. As part of a broader set of strategies locally (including Mandatory Housing Affordability, the Housing Levy, Incentive Zoning, the One Table county approach and other measures), we can help provide the housing and support that families need.

Please come share your thoughts on this proposal at the upcoming meetings.


Building Healthy Communities

Image courtesy of yestoscs.org

There is a terrible health crisis underway across our nation. The opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of people in our County and City. As we continue to see sharp increases in the use and abuse of heroin and prescription opiates we must enact policies that facilitate prevention and access to health services to address this epidemic.

We’ve heard several stories during both of our committee meetings on the urgency and need for a holistic and humane approach to address this crisis. Many countries like Spain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have adopted supervised sites for adults struggling with substance use disorders and can find health resources and pathways to recovery. In addition, a few U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, are also considering this low barrier harm reduction approach.

We plan to visit some of these sites in the next couple of months to learn from their approach and how we might be able to implement this in our own community. We will have our third committee meeting on this issue on June 7th in Council Chambers at 9:30 AM, where we will have an update on all eight Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations.


Free Movie Screening on Thursday: Dolores

As part of Labor Week, come watch the incredible movie, Dolores, a documentary about Dolores Huerta and her seminal role in organizing the farmworkers’ movement.

  • Thursday, May 3 @ 6pm – 8pm
  • The Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de la Raza
  • 1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St, Seattle, WA 98144

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards Recovers More Than $40,000 in Subminimum Wage Violations on Behalf of Workers with Disabilities

April 26th, 2018

After a thorough investigation by the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), Northwest Center has agreed to pay a total of $40,791 in back wages, unpaid interest and other monetary remedies to ten employees with disabilities who were paid subminimum wages. Northwest Center has already reimbursed the employees over $37,000 and will pay the remaining amount in the near future. Northwest Center cooperated fully with the OLS investigation.

Up until last year, employers had been allowed to apply for special certificates from the City of Seattle to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. These City certificates were issued if the applicant had received a special certificate from the State of Washington. OLS issued a rule in September, 2017 that prohibited these special certificates, and no such certificates have been granted since that time. In 2018, a bill authored by City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and signed into law earlier this month by Mayor Jenny Durkan, codified that ban into an ordinance.

In this case, Northwest Center never applied for or received a special certificate from the City.

“While we led the way for minimum wage, we left too many people out and did not recognize their full contributions. Eliminating the subminimum wage was long overdue,” said Mayor Durkan. “The City of Seattle will continue to fight pay discrimination in all its forms. The enforcement of our City’s laws is the best way to ensure equality and inclusion for all who live and work in Seattle.”

“Eliminating the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities strengthens our City’s belief that all work has dignity and that all workers should be able to earn at least the minimum wage,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. “The violations announced today are exactly why I worked to codify the Directors’ Rule eliminating the subminimum wage, why we need laws not just policy ideas and why, when we pass laws, we need to enforce them. I look forward to continuing to work with the Office of Labor Standards to strengthen our outreach and enforcement of labor standards.”

The elimination of the subminimum wage is a continuation of an approach spearheaded by Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities voted unanimously in June 2017 to end an exemption allowing employers in Seattle to pay a subminimum wage for their disabled workers.

“Businesses shouldn’t feel like they don’t have to follow labor laws just because their employees are developmentally disabled. Now all workers are protected by minimum wage and other labor standards regardless of disability,” said Shaun Bickley, Co-Chair, Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities.

“Northwest Center is dedicated to workplace inclusion for people of ALL Abilities,” said Emily Miller, Chief People Officer Northwest Center. “We appreciate the proactive approach from the City of Seattle and look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue to seek employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.”

Seattle is the first city to eliminate subminimum wages and currently is the largest single employer in the country for people with disabilities.

#TeresaTuesday – February 2018

February 6th, 2018

One Month Into 2018

It has been an exciting couple of weeks for our office. Our Chief of Staff, Sejal Parikh, came on board on February 1st. Joining Policy Advisor Michael Maddux, Office Manager Faride Cuevas, and Scheduler/Community Outreach lead Aretha Basu, #TeamTeresa is continuing to move forward with an agenda that protects workers’ rights, supports women and minority owned business, and ensures a more affordable and livable Seattle for all!

Small Business Advisory Council

I am excited to join Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Small Business Advisory Council, along with Council Member Lisa Herbold, small businesses and advocates for women and minority owned business opportunities. Small businesses are a key component to the diversity of our city, and the unique nature of our neighborhoods. When small businesses are strong, Seattle is strong; when workers thrive, small businesses thrive. As a part of this council, I look forward to learning about programs to support small and micro businesses – such as the Micro Mercantes program in Portland – while continuing to ensure the strong worker protections we have won in Seattle are maintained and expanded. Through this work, I know that we can implement actionable programs to provide a foundation for more small businesses to flourish in all parts of our city!

Standing with School Bus Drivers

On February 1st, Seattle School bus drivers went on strike, demanding reasonable pay and benefits from sub-contractor First Student. I proudly stand with striking drivers, who are asking for health care for the people who safely transport our kiddos in Seattle to their public schools. As Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Rob Johnson, and I stated last week, “it is imperative that we ensure we are taking care of the people who take care of our kiddos.

About Those Bike Racks

You may recall reports of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installing bike racks under the Alaska Way viaduct, not a known destination for cyclists, done in part to “lessen the hazards of unsheltered living.” The use of hostile architecture is not in line with the values I know our city holds, which is why I immediately requested additional information.

Today we received much welcomed news from SDOT and the Mayor, who stated that they will move these racks to more appropriate locations for cyclists in Seattle. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, especially with Transportation Committee Chair Member Mike O’Brien, on a long-term solution to eliminate the use of hostile architecture and instead focus on applying our limited revenue to building safe walkable/bikeable neighborhoods, and investing in infrastructure that provides shelter for the unsheltered.

In Case you Missed It –

Last Saturday, I joined 800 volunteers and the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for a Mega Citizenship/Naturalization Workshop. While the federal government is doing all it can to put up walls and try to divide us, the City of Seattle remains committed to being a welcoming, inclusive place for all residents. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, over 1,000 people were served at this city-sponsored workshop. I am so proud that Seattle continues to be a leader, showing that local government can be a partner, and building bridges with communities who may have historically been fearful of government. Click on the image below to watch me speak at the workshop.

Check Us Out!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and now keep up with us on Instagram! #TeamTeresa is out in the community, and we look forward to seeing you and meeting you where you are. Let us know if you would like to organize a meeting in your neighborhood or learn more about your organization!

In Solidarity,

#TeresaTuesdays – One Month In

January 24th, 2018

Our Work Continues

We’re One Month In to 2018, and I am excited to report that we are on track to get some good things done this year. January is where we begin preparing our workplans for the year, and my team has been listening to the community, identifying priorities for the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee this year.

Watch a quick video update here.

In the Community

We have also been out in the community, meeting you where you are – from the Ft. Lawton discussion around housing in Magnolia, to meeting with workers in the north end at Seattle City Light; speaking on Capitol Hill at the Seattle Womxn’s March, to the Central District marching in solidarity as we honor the activism and radical change that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for within the #PoorPeoplesCampaign. We keep Dr. King’s legacy alive not by celebrating him one day, but by acting daily to create greater shared power and economic prosperity.

Know Your Rights!

The first few weeks of this year were filled with news about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on workplaces as the Trump administration ramps up on its arrests and deportations of our immigrant communities. Workers from New York to California, from those who work at 7-11 to those who work as activists, are being targeted. Here in our own city, Seattle ICE served nationally known immigrant rights activists Maru Mora Villalpando (click here to join the campaign to defend Maru). This is an issue that affects employers and employees. We ask you to share this information around with your employees, neighbors, and friends – both employers and employees have rights! Share this information below today!

A Regional Healthcare Approach

I also recently joined my first Board of Health meeting as a new Board member, and was proud to cast my vote for a resolution in support of full access to health care, particularly reproductive health care, to all residents in our county. Health care is a fundamental human right and we need to make a commitment to ensuring everyone can access these services regardless of immigration status, gender identity, ability to pay, sexual orientation, race, and age. I will continue to advance this cause as Chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, as well as by working closely with partners from across the region. The health of each individual is intertwined with the health our whole community. This is why closing gaps in access to health care for immigrants and refugees can help us to build a healthier Seattle and region for all our residents. Tune into our HHEWR Committee on Thursday next week for more on this concept.

What’s Next?

We are gearing up for a busy year. In the coming months, watch my office for introduction of legislation to expand efforts to make easier to access the Seattle City Light discount rate program for low- and moderate-income families throughout Seattle. We will be advancing legislation to codify the elimination of sub-minimum wage for workers with disabilities (a rule in place but changing it into law). We will be working in coordination with the Office of Housing and community partners to look at ways ease community-initiated development of affordable housing throughout our city to address the affordable housing crisis. In the upcoming month, look for future conversations around the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, to create stronger protections for workers – who are more likely to be women and people of color – to have greater workplace protections!

Want to keep up to date with what we are working on? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and keep an eye on our blog, where we’ll be diving into greater detail on topics in our committee and before your City Council.

In Solidarity,


Kicking Off 2018!

January 10th, 2018

We’ve Hit the Ground Running!

This week, during my inauguration for my full-term as Council Member, I gave a glimpse into the work we will be doing in 2018. The challenges facing the people of our city are real, but I when we work together with solutions rooted in community needs, I know we can right the course.

I was honored to join the roll-out of the campaign for a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which will ensure that the folks who care for our kiddos and elders have protections enjoyed by other members of the workforce. The connection between affordability in housing, healthcare, and access to services such as childcare, transit, and recreation is real, and my office will be collaborating with fellow council-members to move our city forward with more options for childcare providers, and an aim to ensure that no family pays more than 10% of their income for care of their kiddos.

We will work to ensure that Seattle City Light provides affordable rates for low-income families, while pushing for more housing types in all neighborhoods of our city, expanding missing middle dramatically while providing more opportunities for families to thrive near our amazing parks, with access to our trail system and great schools. We will push forward with anti-harassment, anti-assault, anti-intimidation policies, ensuring that all workers – especially women – feel safe and welcome in all parts of our society, and that there is a meaningful response for those who would abuse their power.

So, keep watching and stay involved. There is a lot of work to do, and together, we can accomplish great things.

We have other pressing matters on our doorstep. Monday, the Trump Administration announced it is ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for immigrants from El Salvador. Salvadorans fleeing their home country have done so due to natural disasters, violence, and real threats to their and their families lives. Since 2001, with the support of the United States government, 250,000 Salvadorans have resettled in the U.S., have built homes, raised families, and been part of the fabric of our nation. The administration’s move, with a Congress complicit through inaction on immigration reform measures, is yet another attack on our neighbors across the country. But, in Seattle, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all members of our community.

I am proud to serve as Vice Chair on Councilmember Gonzalez’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee which has purview over protecting immigrants and refugees. We would like to make sure everyone knows about an upcoming mega workshop, organized by the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. This is an opportunity for immigrants to obtain assistance with citizenship applications, and attorneys and paralegals to give back to the community by volunteering time.

Seattle United for Immigrants and Refugees

Free Citizenship Assistance

Our volunteer attorneys and experts can help you with your citizenship application. Click here to register. (NOTE: The City of Seattle does not share personal information with ICE or any other federal agency for OIR programs).

If you have other immigration questions, volunteer immigration attorneys will offer free legal consultations from 10 AM to 2 PM; you do not need to register in advance for immigration consultations. For more information and help getting prepared, call 206-386-9090 or visit www.newcitizencampaign.org. Also, please share and spread the word with the two images below:

Want to Volunteer?

Do you want to help prepare and/or provide legal support for this workshop? OIRA is seeking volunteers, especially attorneys, paralegals, and bilingual logistics volunteers. If you are If you are interested in volunteering, click here to register as a volunteer.  Please share this volunteer opportunity with your networks via social media or otherwise.

Seattle, this is a crucial time for our community to stand together, and stand up against xenophobia and bigotry that the current administration is attempting to foment and weave into public policy. Our shared commitment is stronger, and together we can ensure that families are not torn from their communities in an effort to advance a white-nationalist agenda. Thank you for your commitment to all Seattleites!

Of course, there is some good news to report. Late on Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge William Alsup temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s phaseout of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and ruled the administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications. However, the ruling is also limited since it doesn’t’ allow for new applications from those who haven’t received DACA in the past. I support Judge William Alsup’s decision, but we must also remember that the DACA program was never going to be a permanent solution for DREAMers and that the Trump administration will likely challenge this ruling. Unfortunately, this will likely cause confusion and anxiety in the community. This decision further highlights the need for Congress and the White House to find a permanent legislative solution for DREAMers with a path to citizenship. As a Welcoming City, we have made a commitment to all our immigrant communities. This includes finding ways to make Seattle a safer and more equitable city for all our residents as well as being a vocal advocate on the national stage. This is the time for courageous action. Now, more than ever, we need to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrant youth to keep advocating for a clean Dream Act.



Teresa Tuesdays: The HHEwR Committee & Short Term Rentals

December 12th, 2017

Teresa Tuesdays Video - 2017-12-12

The HHEwR Committee!
(pronounced her)

Yesterday my colleagues voted me to be the Chair of the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights (HHEWR) Committee. We will do important things together in 2018 to make Seattle a more affordable place to live and a healthier place for our families.

In my committee, we will work to create more affordable housing. We will be the voice demanding a focus on the public health impacts of our city’s policy proposals. With you, we will continue to work to protect all workers from discrimination, harassment, and wage theft, while ensuring the Office of Labor Standards has the resources necessary to do its job. And with a new CEO of City Light coming in, I’ll be working with the Mayor and community groups to ensure that our largest public utility is working to benefit everyone and our environment. Thank you to Council President Harrell for this opportunity.

Short Term Rentals

Yesterday Council voted on the Short-Term Rental (STR) legislation that was two years in the making. In an effort to ensure more housing remains on the market for working families, hearing concerns from residents of condo and apartment buildings of their homes being turned into de facto hotels (without the health and safety standards of a hotel), I cast my vote in favor of common sense regulations of the STR market in Seattle. Folks who rent out 1-2 units as an STR to help pay the bills can continue to do so, while ensuring that we preserve housing for the long-term rental market. I look forward to continuing to work with owners, renters, and communities on implementation of these new policies.

We are so energized by your messages of congratulations and your concerns. Please keep them coming. We’ll be volunteering at the North Helpline Food Bank on Thursday night. We’d love to see you there!

Happy Holidays,

Teresa Mosqueda signature

Teresa Mosqueda

Teresa Tuesdays: KeyArena & Protecting Tenant Rights

December 5th, 2017


It has been one week since I was sworn in as your city councilmember, and we hit the ground running. I was proud to cast my first vote from the dais – approving payment of the city’s bills, but this was not the vote that caught the most attention.


Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda making her first votes

Council President Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Debora Juarez, the co-chairs of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas, did phenomenal work bringing the final Memorandum of Understanding (MOU – a pre-contract with Oak View Group) to full council. Personally, I want to thank Councilmember Juarez and Central Staff for the time they took to walk my team through the MOU, and make sure we were up to speed in advance of this vote.

By approving this MOU, we are moving forward to ensure we have a world-class arena for our Seattle Storm, while working to bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle. With strong protections for workers, we also know it will bring good-paying jobs renovating and maintaining a revamped Key. Add in the community contributions – $10 million from Oak View Group to YouthCare, investments in transportation infrastructure, and requirements to support existing tenants such as Pottery Northwest – this is a win-win for our city, and I was excited to support the final bill.

Rally to Protect Tenant Rights

Earlier today, I was excited to join with housing activists and leaders in support of stronger protections for tenants in Seattle and beyond. As the only renter on council, this issue is deeply personal, and I look forward to continuing to organize and work with tenants to ensure that we are providing the needed support and protections for renters across Seattle. One of the best ways to reduce housing discrimination and the cost of housing is to create additional low and middle income housing across our city. I’ll be fighting for tenants’ rights and for more housing for working families, artists, activists and retirees all across Seattle. We can be leaders, and I look forward to being part of this conversation.

Upcoming Events

I’ll be at the Muckleshoot Tribe Holiday Reception Tonight, and the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights on Thursday evening. As my staff gets settled, we are working out the details for an open house in our office! Keep your eyes peeled for a January date. Want to keep up with what we’re doing day-in and day-out? Check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

And have you met our staff? Learn more about them here!

As always, thank you for this opportunity to serve you.

Oath of Office Speech

November 28th, 2017

As Delivered

Thank you Council President Harrell,
Thank you Mayor Burgess,
Thank you council colleagues and esteemed elected officials for your support throughout the campaign, and for being here today.

And Thank ALL OF YOU –
all of you who worked so hard to help make this day possible.

Thank you for your hard work, your vote and your trust.
This November sure felt a hell of a lot different than last year!

I am humbled and grateful to serve you and
the entire City of Seattle as your new Councilmember!

Long before I entered the race 11 months ago,
Long before I ever thought of running for office,
we have been in the streets, at the airport, we’ve been on the strike lines, in the courts and right here testifying to advance progressive change.

Today’s victory builds on that momentum and those accomplishments.
It builds on the power of workers, organized labor, communities of color, progressive business owners, the faith community,
immigrants/refugees who have joined struggles and fought shoulder to shoulder
for greater shared prosperity and racial/social/economic justice for all.

Together we have not only fought, but we’ve won.

We have advanced efforts to protect women’s health, worker’s safety,
protections for immigrant/refugees, and our lowest wage workers in this city.
We have fought to improve the public’s health,
and to lift up and invest in our smallest businesses and local economy.
We have won on Sick Leave, Wage Theft, Hotel Worker Protections, Secure Scheduling, and we raised the Minimum Wage…

In this city, in our corner of the country, we have not only won, but we have lead the nation in these victories.

We did this here in Seattle by working together, by finding common ground and leading even in the face of extreme odds and opposition.

We won by creating broad coalitions, by being thoughtful – and often a little relentless – in our cause to advance greater equity for all.

YOU did this, and today’s swearing in is YOUR win as well.

I am so proud to have been elected by you – at a time – and in a City,
that is proving what it means to be the resistance.

In Seattle we can be that last line of defense
to protect those in the crosshairs of hate and bigotry,
and step-forward to be the first line of offence to
protect our environment, our economy and our basic human rights!

Just look at this election – We’ve elected the first Woman Mayor in almost the century to lead our progressive city – and with her track record of tackling injustice and inequity, I look forward to serving with Mayor Durkan to fight for the rights of all our residents.

And look at what our council has been able to accomplish:

My friend and Councilmember GONZÁLEZ, has shown what it means to stand up for immigrant and refugee rights, and fight to protect women’s rights at work.

Councilmember HERBOLD, is fighting to create economic development and opportunity for all our communities, and to uphold our commitments to protect workers, and I look forward to working alongside you.

Councilmember SAWANT, I join you in your commitment to doing everything in our power to see greater shared prosperity for everyone in Seattle.

Councilmember JOHNSON – I enjoyed working with you almost 15 years ago to create safe routes to schools and healthy/thriving communities then,
and I pledge to be a champion with you for safe and affordable communities now.

I can’t wait to work with Councilmember BAGSHAW to improve the health of our communities and make sure zip codes and race no longer determines health outcomes or life expectancy in our city.

And to my new friend, Councilmember JUAREZ, with your determination and drive to fight for our most vulnerable, I know that together we are going to get —- stuff —- done!

Council President HARRELL, thank you for your leadership –  I look forward to working with you to bring communities to the table and be there long after the ink is dry to make sure policies actually work!

And a heartfelt thank you to Mayor Tim BURGESS for your service, in both your time as mayor and your years on Seattle City Council in this position.
I pledge to continue your practice of being thoughtful, inclusive, collaborative and effective. These are big shoes to fill, the residents of Seattle are better off today thanks to your selfless service on Council and as Mayor. Thank you.

To my friend, Mike O’BRIEN who lives just around the corner from me. You have an incredible generosity and willingness to work with me.  When I sat down with you, you said to me, will you stay true to your commitment?  Will you stay true to your progressive values? And can we work together to lift up our community and hold ourselves accountable? You have shown me what that means.  I look forward to following in your footsteps to make sure that’s possible.  Thank you Councilmember O’Brien.

Finally, Councilmember HARRIS TALLEY, thank you for raising-up the voice of the people – I will continue this momentum and look forward to working with you to fulfill the efforts you put in motion for accountability and transparency.

Can we give it up for this City Council and our Progressive City?

Together, working with our King County Colleagues, Executive Dow Constantine, our City Atty Pete Holmes, with the State Legislature, and
champions like Congresswoman Jayapal, and AG Ferguson
– we will not only resist – we will persist.

What we do now, together, can help undo the often historically racist, classist and sexist policies that have created inequality.

I will hold myself accountable to the same standards I’ve held other elected officials – to stay true to protect the most vulnerable,
to lead with community ideas and intent, and
to always be pushing for progressive change.

And this really comes from my parents – Larry and Patty –
who instilled in me the fight for social justice.
My little sister – Tania – and grew up in a household where meetings and gatherings were taking place all the time to fight wars of aggression and injustice in our own back yard.
We grew up at protests and rallies, toting our own hand painted signs and most of our clothes had political messages on them. (Much like we seen now with the kiddos and families who took to the streets earlier this year).
Thank you Mom and Dad, you lead by example, you didn’t just teach us to fight for change, you showed us how to make it possible.

I want to thank my Husband, Manuel, happy 2 MONTH anniversary.
Thank you for being a champion, lifting me up and pushing me forward.
You kept me going this year!
You ready for another 60 years or so of this? Thank you, love you.

And can you all please join me in thanking our Team that made this possible:
Aretha, Tai, Ilani, Katherine, Gabriela, Erin, Christian, and Abbot.

To the students and activists, volunteers and staff, this is only because of you.

Give it up for the volunteers, team and staff!

And speaking of staff,
I am so excited to have Sejal Parikh, Katie Garrow, Michael Maddux, Faride Cuevas and Aretha Basu!

These are worker justice warriors, housing advocates, dreamers, and activists. And if you could give them a huge round of applause.

To those who I have worked along side over the years,
who encouraged me to see that serving in Council Chambers is an extension of our movement and struggle for social justice,
and those who voted for me — thank you for placing your trust in me.

To those who didn’t vote for me, or didn’t vote in this election,
I look forward to helping to unify our progressive movements and to fighting harder than ever to protect our most vulnerable, and
to maintain our identity as a city of hope, progress and inclusion
and to make sure we keep the left in our upper left hand corner of the country that we’re so proud of.

We must be stronger today and more resilient now than we’ve ever been.
We must continue to grow our movements and strengthen the commitment to find the intersectionality of our struggles.

At a time when our nation is too often defined by what divides us,
we must find common ground, build broader coalitions,
and unite around our shared values.

We in Seattle are proud of our progressive reputation and values.
But when we fight instead of unite, we yield power and opportunity
to those who oppose all that we’ve accomplished,
and benefit from wealth and health inequality.

Because the fight for affordable housing, equal pay, health care, childcare
are just as much about economic justice as they are
about a racial justice and gender justice. 

Some 33 years ago, when I was only about 5 years old, Cesar Chavez said
“once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.”

We will not let our victories be reversed,
we will not let our progress be undermined.

We are at a critical time in our country’s history.

A fresh wave of leaders is rising and resisting and running for office for the first time ever- record numbers of women, members of the LGBTQ community and people of color. I am one of them.
Our place as advocates and organizers is among them.

Because who better –

Who better to protect workers’ rights to organize, than those of us who have organized in the face of fear and intimidation?

Who better to protect immigrants workers from exploitation and retaliation, than those of us who have had our skin color and status used against us?

Who better than us to stand up to fight for childcare and health care for all than those of us who have seen our families go into bankruptcy and delay care due to the cost of services that are basic human rights?

There is no one better than us!
We are the ones in the crosshairs, we as workers, women, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, environmentalists, small business owners and immigrants and refugees.

And the best way to protect our rights – is to get more of us elected to office.
Cezar continued his quote by saying “We have looked into the future and the future is ours!”

Thank you for electing this Latina, woman, fighter in the labor movement, renter and advocate to Seattle City Council.

I look forward to working collaboratively
with my colleagues and with our communities
to build that future, to create a more equitable and affordable city for all.

Thank you all!

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda

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