SEATTLE - Debora Juarez was unanimously elected to Seattle City Council President, and becomes the first Indigenous person to hold that position in city history.
The council voted during their first meeting of the New Year on Tuesday. Juarez represents District 5 in North Seattle.
The Council President presides over the city council, sets the agendas, assigns legislation to committees and is the primary point of contact for outside agencies. If the mayor is ever absent or unable to do their duties, the council president assumes those duties.
"It’s time for our city to heal and move forward to address our most pressing issues: restructuring our community safety system, restoring our public spaces, providing services to those experiencing homelessness, building affordable housing, and working with tribal governments to promote economic vitality," said Juarez. "We do this by refocusing our city on what government does well - a common-sense approach, working in tandem with the Mayor, that will restore trust and confidence in our government."
According to the city council, 2022 marks Juarez's 35th year of service in representing Seattle, King County, and Coast Salish people. Juarez is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, and was elected to represent District 5 in 2015—at that time being the first and only Native American on the city council.
"To my colleagues, I thank you for your trust in my leadership. To start my tenure as council president, I have laid the groundwork to envision a committee structure that emphasizes teamwork - where committee members do not see each other as competitors but rather collaborators. I’ve selected committees for each of you based on your strengths, professional experience, and interests. I commit to you to serve as a bridge-builder and lead with my values: humility, civility, effectiveness, and an appreciation for each other’s humanity," said Juarez. "Under my leadership, we will move away from transactional approaches and towards collaboration and results. As Council President, I will endeavor to work with you to bring economic vitality to your districts, and help you leave your legacy for our incredible city."
Juarez said she hopes to "build stronger relationships between the city and Tribal Governments" to generate economic prosperity.
Mayor Bruce Harrell issued a statement after her election:
"Congratulations to Councilmember Debora Juarez on her historic and unanimous election to Council President. I worked closely with Councilmember Juarez on the City Council, and I know she is a listener, collaborator, and someone focused on getting things done for our Seattle community. I am ecstatic to work with her again as we urgently address issues of homelessness and public safety and strive for a united Seattle."
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