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Member Candidate: Jenny Durkan for Seattle Mayor

by Jenny Durkan
| Jul 24, 2017

GSBA has several members on the ballot this year. GSBA does not endorse candidates for elected office, but we are pleased to offer them a chance to speak to their fellow members.

Durkan2017During this campaign, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit every part of our city.  We’ve toured  neighborhoods and held conversations with local business owners to learn about the unique challenges facing small businesses and every neighborhood.  Gathered in coffee shops or hearing from business owners in forums, I’ve heard loud and clear that our community hates the divisive politics of Washington D.C.  People want the next mayor to bridge divides, sweat the details, and solve the toughest problems in our city. From our biggest moral challenges to our most basic needs, we need solutions on homelessness, affordability, transportation, and police reform.

We are not going to solve these big challenges unless everyone is part of the solution. We’re the only campaign that is unifying our city with a coalition that includes labor unions such as SEIU 775 and Seattle Firefighters, the business community, environmental leaders, and the LGBTQ community.  My approach is to bring people together to find common ground. In doing this, we must remember that the voices of small business owners and workers are critical in any conversation.

City Hall needs to understand how to work with business as a partner, which is why it’s critical for the next mayor to engage our local businesses – large and small – to build a healthy business climate in our City. I am committed to making sure Seattle’s dynamic economy continues to thrive, and I am equally committed to ensuring that those benifitting from our economic growth do their fair share. I have broad experience in creating and negotiating solutions to seemingly impossible problems, and as mayor, I will listen, learn and empower others. Our residents, businesses and labor will have seats at the policy table as we discuss and develop regulations, programs, and approaches to addressing a range of pressing issues.

Our progressive values make our city the special place others emulate. We need all hands on deck if we are to build the just, equitable and dynamic Seattle of the future. Like many of you, I’ve spent decades fighting for equality, working for social justice, and advocating for LGBTQ individuals.

I have spent my career focused on civil rights issues. In 2009, I became the first openly gay U.S. Attorney in our country’s history. As U.S. Attorney, I formed a special civil rights unit and prioritized hate crime prosecutions, including of a man who sought to terrorize a gay nightclub on Capitol Hill. I know the pain of LGBTQ families whose rights were stripped from them and individuals unable to visit or get information about loved ones who were being treated in an emergency. I’ve championed cases to enforce fair housing laws, language access services in our courts system, and the employment and housing rights of soldiers and veterans. I have been on the frontlines for social justice, including in the struggle for full marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights and efforts to address racial bias in policing.  The battle for equality must mean we fight for the equality, respect, and protection for every person.  Discrimination of any kind weighs down each of us.

As your mayor, I will be a progressive fighter and inclusive leader, and I hope to earn your support as I seek to become the first female mayor in nearly 100 years and the first gay woman ever to hold this office.

Jenny Durkan was the first openly gay U.S. Attorney. She’s a GSBA member and candidate for Mayor of Seattle. Learn more at www.jennyforseattle.com.