I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as District 5’s very first representative on the Seattle City Council. District elections offered voters the opportunity to select candidates who were committed to addressing the specific needs of their respective communities; perhaps nowhere was this more apparent than in North Seattle. I view North Seattle’s overwhelming 2013 vote in favor of the district election system as well as my victory in November as dual mandates to focus my legislative advocacy on the district-specific issues we face in the North End. In light of this message delivered by the voters of our district, I have developed a three-part plan of action for my first months in office.
First, I will be opening a part-time district office in North Seattle. While I will often be working on issues that impact the entire city, my office will be committed to maintaining a direct connection to our community. Stay tuned for our announcement regarding the operating hours and the location of this office.
Second, I will be embarking on an in-depth “tour” of District 5. My goal for this initiative is to listen to community members and learn more about the needs and concerns of our major cultural, economic, and social organizations. Hopefully, I will also be able to identify areas where I can be of service.
Third, I will focus on the current status of the three major capital projects planned for our district in the next few years: the proposed additional light rail station on NE 130th Street, the new North Precinct police station on Aurora Avenue, and the pedestrian/bike bridge connecting the west side of I-5 and North Seattle College with Northgate Mall and the future Northgate light-rail station. All three of these projects will require leadership and determined advocacy in order to be developed and delivered in line with the the values of our district. I am committed to engaging early and often with these projects.
As your councilmember, I also plan to help cultivate a sense of identity in the North End. For far too long, members of our district have suffered a general feeling of being left out of the major conversations regarding the future of our city. I believe this is in part due to our lack of representation in city hall as well as a lack of a central identity. While I will serve as an ambassador and advocate for our community at City Hall, I also am interested in finding ways to develop a more solid “sense of place” in our own neighborhood. Please let me know if you have an idea for me or any other way you would like to help us achieve this goal!
Councilmember Debora Juarez has built a career focused on legal advocacy and economic development for the most marginalized communities in our state. Over the last 25 years, she has witnessed many changes and challenges faced by our District 5 community as a North Seattle homeowner, renter, and parent to two daughters.