Councilmember Tammy J. Morales issued the following statement after the retirement announcement of Seattle-King County Public Health Director Patty Hayes:
“After serving as the Seattle area’s public health director for 30 years, I wish Patty Hayes a well-deserved retirement and thank her for her service. The important role of a public health director is made especially clear when we’re going through a pandemic. Hayes’ leadership was pivotal when the COVID-19 virus first appeared here in the U.S., and has remained steady throughout this past year. From working with local, state and federal public health officials to provide guidance on how to best manage the virus, to now the successful rollout of vaccines in our community, her direction as our public health director has saved a countless number of lives.
“While the management of this pandemic is the reflection of Hayes’ success as a leader, she has managed a number of public health crises throughout her career. From providing guidance on our homelessness crisis, to gun violence in King County, her advocacy for safe storage of firearms, and leadership in our region declaring racism as a public health crisis, Hayes has been a vocal champion in keeping our community healthy and safe.
“While our working relationship was newly formed as I served as a member of the Board of Health, I have long admired her tireless commitment to healthy communities. As a long time healthy food advocate and board member of Rainier Valley Midwives, I appreciate Patty’s leadership and advocacy to bring more healthy food options to food deserts, along with her attention to healthy and culturally appropriate maternal health services in our community. Our regional and state policy approaches serve as models across the country because of Patty’s lifelong dedication to public health.”