My office has worked tirelessly in my first term on the King County Council to address some of our region’s most pressing challenges. We secured major investments in housing, infrastructure, and community centers. We addressed several public safety concerns, protected people from the pandemic, launched initiatives to transform our behavioral health system, and designed solutions to address gun violence and homelessness. I write this to provide you a progress report on what we’ve been working on, not to suggest that these huge and complex problems have been solved.
I will continue to prioritize public safety, ending homelessness, and recovering from the pandemic. We will keep working hard for you and we invite you to partner with us on building the King County we all want to see.
Here are some highlights on thing we’ve been working in my first term:
1. Led the effort to build five Crisis Care Centers around King County, places where people can access life-saving care for mental illness and substance use disorders
2. Championed the transformation of Skyway, a diverse and lower-income unincorporated neighborhood that has faced decades of disinvestment. Girmay's efforts have led to generational investments in this neighborhood's housing, transportation, community center, and human services infrastructure.
3. Supported and co-sponsored the Health through Housing initiative, which directs the County to buy existing hotels and motels to bring indoors 1,600 chronically unhoused people and provide them housing and supportive services
4. Protected thousands of tenants by passing a suite of historic Tenant Protections and Just Cause Eviction legislation to increase housing stability and reduce homelessness during the pandemic
5. Provided housing to dozens of unhoused Skyway residents by helping to establish the first Tiny House Village outside Seattle
6. Sponsored and passed the Surplus Land for Community ordinance to ensure King County makes available unused buildings and land for housing and other community facilities
7. Led the funding and creation of a $2 million community-based gun violence prevention program
8. Championed Ranked Choice Voting and other voting reform efforts
9. Trained hundreds of new leaders by launching Build the Bench, an initiative that prepares the next generation of progressive elected leaders
10. Launched the Youth Achievement Center campaign to build a housing and jobs center for unhoused youth in South Seattle, which led to a $500,000 donation from the Seahawks
10. Worked with the Council to allocate billions of federal relief dollars to protect residents from COVID, provide millions in rental assistance, and expand transit and infrastructure projects around the region
11. Supported small businesses by establishing a $5 million economic development program in unincorporated King County
12. Initiated negotiations to buy a building for a Skyway Community Center using $10 million we secured in last year’s budget
13. Delivered a report on mental health crisis response systems to lay the groundwork for alternative emergency responders, after leading the charge on Charter Amendment 6
14. Advocated for the creation of a $10 million Participatory Budget to have community decide how funds are spent in unincorporated King County
15. Donated 12 minivans to organizations serving people who are elderly, disabled, or low-income
16. Established the Joint Aircraft Emissions Task Force to advance greenhouse gas reduction strategies and tactics, for which my team was honored with a Climate Justice Award from the Beacon Hill Council
17. Organized community leaders, government agencies, and other stakeholders to promote Public Safety in Mt. Baker, Rainier Beach, Little Saigon, and the CD
18. Expanded public transit options for residents of Skyway and other South King County neighborhoods by helping to secure $6 million for Via on-demand van service
19. Promoted digital equity by funding internet services for marginalized communities and initiating a committee report to map King County’s journey toward public broadband
20. Sponsored and passed a motion committing the County to equity in contracting and calling on the Governor to repeal laws that prevent equity
21. Advanced the Skyway Resource Center by investing $2 million to build a new home for the Center at the former US Bank location in Skyway
22. Organized decision-makers to support refugee resettlement efforts from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and other countries experiencing crisis
23. Led the effort to build five Crisis Care Centers around King County, places where people can access life-saving care for mental illness and substance use disorders
24. Co-sponsored the Free Youth Fare ordinance, allowing youth 18 and under to ride transit for free
25. Championed and passed the Extreme Weather Adaptation legislation to ensure King County creates indoor options for people to escape extreme heat, cold, and wildfire smoke
26. Organized with local food banks to pass the Food Bank Motion, which supports food banks and advances food security in our region
27. Co-created an Equitable Development Initiative to ensure King County supports development while preventing displacement of communities
28. Co-sponsored legislation to move King County elections to even years from odd years to dramatically increase voter turnout and engagement
29. Championed Skyway Affordable Housing by directing a $10 million investment to an affordable home ownership and an affordable rental development in the community
30. Supported legislation proposing a year-round Gun Return Program for residents to safely surrender unwanted firearms or ammunition
31. Secured $5 million for youth mental health services, prioritizing school-based services, mental health first aid, and suicide prevention for youth
32. Advanced the Skyway Resource Center by investing $2 million to build a new home for the Center at the former US Bank location in Skyway
33. Introduced the Missing Middle Housing Motion to lower barriers for construction of more multi-family housing which will increase housing supply
34. Passed a $16.4 billion biennial budget to fund critical services throughout King County, including major investments in housing, public health, public transit, and community safety
35. Passed a proviso to bring King County Department of Parks and Natural Resources back into the business of establishing and managing community centers, and to house the future Skyway Community Center
36. Supported the Skyway Park Renovation, a $3.9 million project that provided a new playground, new and enhanced sports fields, improved lighting, and better ADA accessibility for Skyway Park
37. Helped create Participatory Budgeting for unincorporated King County, leading to the first ever community-voted funds awarded to projects such as Street Beautification in the Skyway Business District, Hewet Skyway Community Garden, “Welcome Home” down payment assistance, and more
38. Trained hundreds of new leaders through Build the Bench, an initiative I started that prepares the next generation of progressive elected leaders
39. Co-sponsored and passed Abortion Access Emergency Legislation, investing $500,000 in the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and prohibiting King County agencies from cooperating with out-of-state prosecutions of abortion providers or patients.
40. Launched a Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program to allocate $1000 per month to extremely low income families for one year, and conducted GBI policy analysis in partnership with the University of Washington
41. Held Budget Town Halls to connect with constituents and local community organizations, and to allow community to directly inform King County’s multibillion dollar budget
42. Established a $1 million residential road safety program in unincorporated King County to protect our pedestrians and other road users
43. Created the Community Safety Ambassadors Program to promote public safety at and around public transit stations so that everyone is and feels safe while riding Metro buses
I am so incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together in my first term, but we’re just getting started and I need your support to ensure we are able to continue our work in bringing positive change to King County.
Please consider contributing $25, $50, $100, or $250 at electgirmay.com/donate, so we can continue our efforts to make King County a place where everyone is able to thrive.
Thank you all so much for your support over the last year. Serving the very district where I was raised has truly been a blessing and the greatest privilege of my life. I am honored to be a part of this fight for positive change in our region.