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The Durkan Digest: Two Years of Turning Our Progressive Values into Action

Two years ago this week, I had the amazing honor of being sworn in as the 56th Mayor of Seattle – and the first woman to lead the City of Seattle in nearly a century.

From Day One, my goal has been to deliver the essential services our growing city needs, and to turn our shared progressive values into action that makes people’s lives better. Together, over the last two years we’ve done just that. Some of the steps we’ve taken together are:

  • Navigated historic challenges like the February 2019 snowstorms, and the first three chapters of the Seattle Squeeze;
  • Delivered two free years of college through our Seattle Promise program;
  • Expanded the Seattle Preschool Program and Child Care Assistance Program;
  • Given more than 14,000 students and low-income neighbors a passport to Seattle – free transit – through our ORCA Opportunity program;
  • Made new, unprecedented investments in housing for our low- and middle-income neighbors;
  • Taking new steps to ensure Lyft and Uber drivers are paid fairly, and to invest more in housing near transit and transportation projects through my Fare Share plan;
  • Expanded emergency shelter and outreach for our neighbors experiencing homelessness; and see the first decline in people experiencing homelessness since 2012.

I hope you’ll take a minute to look back at all we’ve done together over these past two years here.

This week has been another one of action. On Tuesday, I signed our Fare Share plan into law. It invests in first-in-the-nation protections for drivers, more housing near transit, and transit projects that will help keep Seattle moving. It is the right thing to do.

And earlier today, I had the chance to sign my 2020 budget plan into law after it was approved in an 8-1 vote by City Council. Working with City Council, this budget invests in our shared priorities like expanding access to opportunity for young people, more affordable housing, addressing homelessness, advancing public safety, and more transit.

I also pledged to you that I would get out of City Hall and listen. Over the last two years, I’ve listened at 76 roundtables and town halls, 25 neighborhood walks and tours, and 315 community events.

Each of these events – not to mention the conversations at the coffee shop and the grocery store – reaffirm my belief that Seattle is the best city anywhere. Because everywhere I go in Seattle, I always here the same thing: “What can I do to help?”

So what’s next? In Year Three of my first term, above all,  I’ll keep getting out of City Hall and keep listening and keep working with communities to build a more affordable and inclusive city of the future.

Most importantly, I want to say thank you for the honor of being your mayor, and thank you for your commitment to making Seattle a better place for all. I have so appreciated all of you who took the time to reach out to write me, to sit down with me, and to say hello as I’m out in community.

What’s most important to you and your loved ones in 2020, and what else can the City of Seattle do to help create a better future for you and your loved ones? Please write me at, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope that you and your loved ones have a safe and very happy Thanksgiving. I know that this holiday, I’ll be feeling grateful to be with my family and for the opportunity to live and serve the public in the greatest city in America.

Happy Thanksgiving – and thank you,

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.