Councilmembers Inaugurated in First District-Based Representation System Since 1910, Harrell Elected Council President
SEATTLE – All nine Seattle City Councilmembers took their oaths of office in the traditional inauguration ceremony in City Council Chambers today, following their successful victories in last November’s election. Newly elected Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez, Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson and Debora Juarez joined returning re-elected Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant in taking their seats at the Council dais.
Family, friends, colleagues and community members filled the Seattle City Council chambers to celebrate the new and returning local government leadership. Each elected official was sworn in by someone of their choice and gave brief remarks.
Following their oaths, Councilmembers elected Councilmember Bruce Harrell to the position of Council President. Harrell has served as Seattle City Councilmember since 2008 and most recently chaired the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. The Council President is the presiding officer of the Council, sets the Full Council agenda, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for external agencies. When the Mayor is absent from the City or incapacitated, the Council President assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.
Today’s historic oath of office ceremony ushered in first district-based representation system since 1910. Seven of the Councilmembers will now each represent a geographical district, while two Councilmembers will each represent the entire city:
- District 1 (West Seattle, South Park): Councilmember Lisa Herbold
- District 2 (Southeast Seattle): Council President Bruce Harrell
- District 3 (Central Area, Capitol Hill): Councilmember Kshama Sawant
- District 4 (Ravenna, Wallingford): Councilmember Rob Johnson
- District 5 (North Seattle): Councilmember Debora Juarez
- District 6 (Fremont, Ballard): Councilmember Mike O’Brien
- District 7 (Downtown, Magnolia): Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
- At-Large (city-wide): Councilmember Tim Burgess
- At-Large (city-wide): Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
Click here for an interactive tool to help find which Council district you live in.
Today’s inaugural ceremony also marked a series of notable firsts in Seattle local government history:
- First Enrolled Native American Councilmember – Debora Juarez
- First Latina Councilmembers – Lorena Gonzalez and Debora Juarez
- First Japanese American/African American Council President and first African American Council President since Council President Sam Smith in 1986-1989 – Bruce Harrell
- First Female Majority City Council since 1998 – Sally Bagshaw, Lorena Gonzalez Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez and Kshama Sawant
Councilmembers also took their first votes in their 2016-2017 term and assigned committee chairs. Each Councilmember is responsible for heading a Council committee and managing legislation related to that committee’s focus:
- Council President Bruce Harrell, Chair: Education, Equity and Governance
- Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair: Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance
- Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Chair: Human Services and Public Health
- Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, Chair: Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans
- Councilmember Lisa Herbold: Chair: Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts
- Councilmember Rob Johnson, Chair: Planning, Land Use and Zoning
- Councilmember Debora Juarez, Chair: Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront
- Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair: Sustainability and Transportation
- Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Chair: Energy and Environment
Today’s inauguration ceremony served as an opportunity for the public to witness and participate in their local government. The ceremony was broadcast live on the Seattle Channel and can be viewed at http://www.seattlechannel.org/mayor-and-council/city-council/full-council.
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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.