(The Center Square) – The newest members of the Seattle City Council emphasized sticking to the fundamentals of city government during Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony.
The seven city councilmembers sworn in include Rob Saka (District 1), Tammy Morales (District 2), Joy Hollingsworth (District 3), Maritza Rivera (District 4), Cathy Moore (District 5), Dan Strauss (District 6) and Robert Kettle (District 7). Morales and Strauss are the only councilmembers returning to their seats after successfully being re-elected.
All five of the new city councilmembers have prioritized public safety, homelessness, and affordable housing as part of their respective campaigns.
In the case of homelessness, the majority of the new councilmembers, including Kettle, Hollingsworth and Saka, signaled their support for a better system to improve the efficiency of homeless service providers and provide more transparency in where tax dollars go.
“We do not have the luxury of infinite resources to waste money, and it’s morally inexcusable that we’re continuing to leave people without needed support,” Kettle stated on his campaign website.
The five new councilmembers are also prioritizing increased staffing for the Seattle Police Department. Since 2019, the Seattle Police Department has had at least 669 officers resign, as previously reported by The Center Square.
Morales, who was reelected to her second term serving District 2, told her fellow councilmembers at Tuesday’s city council meeting that they face “a challenging year ahead.”
A list of challenges facing the new city council include a vote on a new comprehensive plan to determine how the city changes and grows over the next decade, a transportation levy proposal, a new contract with the Seattle Police Officers Guild, and addressing a $250 million budget deficit, while maintaining essential services.
Saka and Hollingsworth emphasized the importance of addressing the basics during their respective speeches. Saka said the basics entail improving public safety, building affordable housing, and fixing public infrastructure.
Current Seattle City Councilmember Sara Nelson was unanimously elected to take over as the Seattle City Council president for the 2024-2025 term. The Seattle City Council elects a new president every two years. Debora Juarez was the previous council president up until this year. Juarez did not run for re-election.
The new Seattle City Council will need to vote on a new appointed councilmember for the vacant at-large seat as a result of former Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda resigning her seat to take a seat on the King County Council.