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posted Friday, January 8, 2020 - Volume 49 Issue 02
Balducci re-elected chair as King County Council embarks on busy new year
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Balducci re-elected chair as King County Council embarks on busy new year

SEATTLE (January 6, 2020) - Coming off a challenging past year and looking ahead to a busy 2021, the King County Council on Tuesday unanimously re-elected Claudia Balducci as chair and Joe McDermott and Reagan Dunn as vice chairs.

"I'm proud of the work the King County Council accomplished in 2020 under unprecedented conditions and look forward to leading the council in 2021 as we continue to respond and recover from the pandemic," Balducci said. "As the pandemic raged, the King County Council adapted and worked together to support our constituents. In 2021, we will recover and build toward a better, more equitable future with economic opportunity and improved public and mental health for all."

The council faces a full docket in 2021, including:
o Vaccine distribution & COVID-19 recovery - Job #1 in 2021 continues to be saving lives, preventing the spread of the virus, and getting to the other side of the pandemic. The council will continue to provide oversight and budget support to respond to the pandemic, while also working to deploy COVID-19 vaccines countywide.

o Best Starts for Kids levy renewal - Six years ago, the voters of King County approved the first Best Starts for Kids levy, dedicated to putting every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path toward lifelong success. In 2021 the council will review accomplishments, set priorities, and determine investments for a levy renewal to be put before voters.

o Law enforcement reforms for public safety and equity - With voter approval of charter amendments to improve accountability in law enforcement, the council will work with the executive, community, stakeholders, and experts toward public safety and reduced racial disparities in law enforcement practices.

o Strategic climate plan update - As the region confronts the realities of a warming planet, the urgency to act now as a county is even greater. In early 2021, the King County Council will review and approve a five-year update to our groundbreaking strategic climate action plan.

o Rebuilding transit - Access to frequent and reliable transportation improves economic opportunity. Following the wake of the pandemic, the council has a lot of work to rebuild our transit system, including planning and updating our policies to enable a more robust and equitable transit network throughout King County.

o Homelessness - Homelessness continues to be a crisis in all parts of our county. Councilmembers will work toward real progress putting roofs over heads as the County implements the Health through Housing Program approved last year. The council will also continue working with its partners to stand up a truly regional response to this humanitarian crisis.

Although the King County Council will continue to operate virtually in keeping with public health best practices, the reorganization adopted today will shift business back to more normal operations. The council will ramp up a full suite of committees so members have all the tools to take up the important work of the new year. The organization of the council remained largely unchanged for 2021.

"I'm personally committed to continuing the fight for more affordable housing so our region can be more inclusive and economically accessible," Balducci added. "I hope you will join us in coming together and seizing opportunity as we take up this important work."

Dunn and McDermott lauded Balducci's efforts and looked ahead to a productive year.

"Councilmember Balducci has been a strong and steady leader of the King County Council over the course of a particularly difficult year," Dunn said. "I am honored to support her for another term as Chair and look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the council's leadership team as we tackle the many challenges facing our region."

"Residents of King County deserve and expect us to tackle important challenges that will help us recover from this pandemic and thrive once we get through the worst of it in the years ahead," McDermott said. "With this monumental amount of work ahead, I'm proud of the work we've done to ensure that our work at the council in 2021 remains as accessible as possible to the residents of King County as we continue to endure necessary restrictions on operating in-person.

Courtesy of the King County Council Office of Council Communications

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