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Mayor Jenny Durkan launches free college tuition plan

Mayor Jenny Durkan. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

By Essex Porter

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is moving fast to keep one of her campaign promises, free college tuition for high school students.

OPINION: Give Durkan a fighting chance

Mayor Durkan signed her executive order at South Seattle College.

The idea builds on the free year of college already offered to high school students to attend South Seattle.

“If it wasn’t for the 13th year, or that first year of college (at South Seattle) I wouldn’t be standing here before you today as a proud graduate of the University of Washington,” said construction project manager Myron Ramirez to applause.

The mayor’s Seattle Promise will start by adding a second free year at South Seattle College. It would phase in to all Seattle high school grads and phase in to all Seattle community colleges.

“There is no better investment we can make as a city then in the education of our young people,” said Mayor Durkan to applause.

It is just one item on the new mayor’s extensive to-do list.

And in a one-on-one interview, KIRO 7 asked her about something she’s been saying to laughter in speeches — that if the solutions to Seattle’s problems were easy, “the city wouldn’t have elected a woman mayor.”

“I think that when you add diversity in the workforce one of the things you are doing is bringing different points of view and so if you bring a woman into a position where usually men have done it you’re going to get different points of view, I think we’ve got to build a very vibrant quilt here — my mayor’s office is going to reflect all the people of Seattle.”

She’s ordered that the plan for expanding free college tuition be ready within her first hundred days.

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