Oath of Office Speech

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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