Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Governance & Education Committee, was elected Council President by a unanimous vote of her colleagues during Monday’s first Full Council meeting of the New Year.
The Council Presidency is a two-year term. The President serves as 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. The Council President also assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Executive when the Mayor is absent from the City or incapacitated.
“I’m grateful for the trust my colleagues have placed in me during this pivotal time in the Council’s history and the city’s future,” said González. “I take seriously my leadership role, and the positive impact Council’s legislative priorities can have to improve the daily lives of all Seattleites. Our city will continue to experience rapid growth, extreme economic inequality, heightened insecurity for working families, and daily threats to women, immigrants and refugees from the federal level. As Council President, I promise to work with my colleagues to protect our most vulnerable residents as we work towards ensuring that Seattle reflects our progressive values,” González concluded.
González was first elected in 2015, becoming the first Latinx person elected to Seattle City Council in the City’s history, and was re-elected in 2017. González is also one of the first two mothers who were pregnant and will give birth while serving on the Council, and she is the second youngest person of color to serve as Council President since 1984.
González recently chaired the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education committee, and brings more than a decade of prior experience in the private sector as a civil rights attorney, law firm equity partner and community advocate to her role as President.
Selected highlights from her service on the Council include her efforts to spearhead secure scheduling for thousands of low-wage workers in large retail and restaurant industry; establish a permanent annual $1 million fund for a Legal Defense Network for immigrants and refugees facing immigration proceedings, including deportation; creation of a community-driven police accountability and reform ordinance; expansion of paid parental leave and addition of paid family leave to all City of Seattle municipal employees; advocating for the passage of a statewide Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program (effective January 1, 2020); restoring the will of voters by passing a suite of labor protections for thousands of hotel workers; establish funding for a housing stability program to provide benefits-dependent, disabled residents a rental subsidy; and prioritizing investments across the education spectrum, including expansion of quality pre-school and free college for all public school graduates.
Born and raised in Washington’s lower Yakima Valley to a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, González moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School, where she graduated with honors in 2005. Since moving to Seattle, Councilmember González has lived in Capitol Hill, First Hill, Ballard, South Park and White Center. She lives in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood (District 1) with her husband Cameron Williams and their dog, Hugo. González and Williams are expecting their first child in January 2020.