By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
Bruce Harrell announced his candidacy for Seattle City Mayor Tuesday morning with Garfield in the backdrop.
Harrell — a former city council member, longtime community leader and native of Seattle — held his campaign announcement outside of Garfield High School,where he graduated as valedictorian before attending the UW as a standout student athlete.
With the stakes high amidst economic downturns, COVID, racial injustice and homelessness, Harrell says that he looks to bring his extensive political experience, love and knowledge of his community and action to bring about bold and creative ways to bring meaningful change to the lives of Seattleites.
“After a successful political and legal career, I was content with private life,” says Harrell. “With what we are seeing now with racial unrest, social injustice, lack of police accountability, struggling business, healthcare, I am going to use every tool at my expense to run for office. But I’ve decided, and my family decided, to use every means at my disposal to change the narrative and revitalize this city. So, I am all in and looking forward to campaigning and hopefully winning.”
With this new commitment, his decision supported by family, friends and community leaders, Harrell believes his voice and experience can bring about the necessary changes for a more healthy and vibrant city and believes he is the right person, right now for the job.
“What is different now?” says Harrell. “What the city realizes is they need the kind of person who is not afraid to make bold proposals and propose creative ideas and not afraid to speak their minds and I do not know anyone who has ever questioned whether I was hesitant to speak my mind on things I believe in.”
Harrell says his campaign will revolve around a core of policy issues like community health, racial justice, police reform, criminal reform, homelessness and bringing a collaborative environment with business-to-business relationships.
“My first priority is clearly building a healthy society and making sure that we heal from COVID and recover,” says Harrell. “Not just for the health of our residents but also the economic health of our businesses so, you will see a business revitalization unlike before.”
“Racial unrest and social injustice are clearly a priority and police reform as well,” continued Harrell. “So, we will daylight the issue of institutional racism and practices in this city. We will not dance around it. With respect to homelessness, which is a big priority of mine, what we are going to do is we are going to ask the question, ‘what can [we] do collectively to drastically move the needle to address homelessness, to change the narrative to a collective and community problem because Seattle is compassionate.”
One thing that is clear when talking to Harrell is his love for the city of Seattle. Growing up in the Central District, attending T.T. Minor Elementary, Meany Middle School, Garfield High School and then the University of Washington one cannot get any more homegrown than that. It is that relationship, the relationships with others, the connection he has with his city that fuels the love Harrell has for the people of Seattle, the city itself and its potential.
“I am about relationships,” says Harrell. “For example, I’ve known the newly appointed Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools for many years, can you imagine the types of education policies we can achieve simply because we are friends?
“So, in Seattle we are going to establish relationships that we’ve never had before,” added Harrell. “We are going to speak to one another and the Mayor — he or she has to set the tone for that.”
Supporters like Roberto Jourdan, a retired Seattle fire fighter and past president of the Black Fire Fighter Association and president of the Royal Esquire Club, believes that Harrell is the right person to not only bring the city together, but to move it forward in the right direction during a time when the city really needs strong leadership.
“With all that is going on in Seattle, I believe Bruce is running because of the love he has for this city,” says Jourdan. “Just the fact that so much needs to done to try and get us back on the road, we are so divided all the way around and I think right now, Bruce is the only one that can do it.”
“There aren’t very many other people out there [running] with the experience, with the ties to the community,” added Jourdan. “Between his Husky legacy, city council, being city council president, friendships that he has made throughout the years, he is doing it out of love and the city of Seattle should be glad he is running.”
In an open letter to the community announcing his candidacy, Harrell outlined his plans and ideas to address many of the challenges facing our city, and the values that inform those ideas, rooted in his experiences and those of his family. Click here to view the letter.