In a late-afternoon ceremony in Council Chambers, Teresa Mosqueda took the oath of office to become the newest Position 8 City Council member.
Normally newly-elected Council members take office in January; however, since the Council position she was elected to had been vacated by Tim Burgess when he was appointed Mayor, she was seated immediately after the election results were certified this afternoon. Likewise, Jenny Durkan became Seattle’s Mayor today since the previously-elected Mayor, Ed Murray, stepped down in September.
In her prepared remarks after taking office, Mosqueda stayed true to her past as a workers’ rights leader, noting the battles they have won in recent years, and the fights still to come. She rallied her supporters to keep fighting, and reached out to those who didn’t vote for her (or didn’t vote at all), saying “we must find common ground, build coalitions, and unite around our common values.” She also celebrated the “fresh wave of leaders” emerging from the current political climate, and claimed, “our place as advocates and organizers is among them.”
In a session with reporters after the ceremony, Mosqueda expanded upon her legislative priorities. Under an umbrella of ensuring economic stability for all of Seattle’s residents, she called out four issues in particular:
- Affordable housing;
- Equal pay for women;
- Affordable childcare;
- Protecting everyone’s health.
Mosqueda said that her two immediate priorities were affordable housing and affordable childcare. Expanding on the issue of affordable childcare, she argued that no one should have to pay more than 10% of their income on childcare. Mosqueda claimed that part of the reason childcare is so expensive is because of a lack of providers; she wants to dramatically increase the number of providers. She expects to work with Council member Gonzalez on this issue in the first quarter of 2018.
Asked what Council committee responsibilities she hopes to land, she listed three areas of interest:
- Workplace standards and workforce development;
- Affordable housing issues;
- Public health (she hopes to serve on Seattle’s public health board).
Finally, Mosqueda noted that she is excited about the task force being set up to discuss an employee-hours tax, and she is supportive of working on the idea. She said that the city needs to “use every tool we can” to tap into progressive revenue sources.
Mosqueda’s official web site is already up and running, and she and her staff went through “new city employee” training yesterday.