Bruce Harrell’s priorities while he is briefly Seattle’s mayor

Sep 14, 2017, 5:56 AM | Updated: 10:12 am

Bruce Harrell...

Councilmember Bruce Harrell speaks shortly before becoming Seattle's 54th mayor. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

He may only have mere days to be Seattle’s top official, but Bruce Harrell laid out a list of priorities for the city to tackle while it is in mayoral limbo.

RELATED: Bruce Harrell sworn in as Seattle’s 54th mayor

Ed Murray resigned as Seattle’s mayor this week after a fifth man accused him of sexual abuse. That prompted Harrell, the city council president, to become the city’s 54th mayor on Wednesday.

Harrell must now decide if he will guide the city over the coming weeks before Seattle votes in the November election, choosing its next leader. If he does not stay on, the city council will then decide how to proceed.

Despite the unknowns, Harrell said the city now has a few priorities to manage in the wake of Murray’s departure.

Murray’s departure

The issues of support for survivors of childhood sexual assault and abuse have gotten more attention because of the accusations against our mayor so we will examine our prioritization of our investments in this regard.

I personally believe now is not the time for division or taking sides. For me, it’s a time for healing. These allegations have been unsettling and disturbing so I ask: How can this issue that we are faced with as a city bring out the best in ourselves? How can we support survivors of childhood assault and abuse? The toughest part of any painful experience is to ask that question – how can it bring out our best? Because often it does not.

Politics and the economy

I think it is also time to openly acknowledge that our city is at a crossroads in its history. As a major city, we have a different vision of what makes a city great than our national president.

Amazon’s recent announcement that it is seeking a second headquarters shouldn’t discourage us, it should indeed inspire us to examine everything we do and have an understanding of economics and market dynamics.

As the investors, yesterday, in the Oak View Group demonstrated in their willingness to invest over $600 million into a city arena, we need to reiterate to the world that we believe in a strong business environment and strong employee rights – one does not exclude the other.


But make no mistake about it, there is a time to shout at the top of your lungs, or there to take a knee on the sideline when you believe in something that is bigger than yourself and you don’t care about aesthetics or optics … let’s not worry about aesthetics or optics. Let’s heal together. Let’s embrace the best we have in ourselves. For those who are hurting, let’s heal together.

Harrell also clarified a previous statement he made about not judging someone (such as Murray) for actions taken 33 years ago. In this case, Murray is accused of sexually abusing minors in the ’70s and ’80s.

If any kind of heinous act was committed 10 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago, and the healing of the victim is part of a process of unveiling that, certainly a person should be judged for that. I grew up in the church. There is a saying in Matthew that says ‘Thou shall not judge, lest they be judged.’ And what I try to do on a day-to-day basis when I meet someone is to not judge someone, to not ask them what they were doing 30 years ago … what I try to do, personally, is to make sure we look at each other and evaluate who we are right now and what we try to do; who we try to become, not on our mistakes … I hope that we become a city that evaluates most people on who they are today … and that there is another process to make sure that there is a fair adjudication of crime and they are dealt with accordingly.

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Bruce Harrell’s priorities while he is briefly Seattle’s mayor