Shortly after being sworn in as the newest Seattle City Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda told those gathered at city hall Tuesday that her victory belonged to them as well.
“I am so proud to have been elected by you — at a time — and in a city, that is proving what it means to be the resistance,” she said.
The former political director for the Washington State Labor Council officially took office as the citywide councilmember in Position 8, shortly after the results of the Nov. 8 general election were certified. She finished with just under 60 percent of the vote in her race against ex-Tenants Union head Jon Grant, to fill the seat held previously by Tim Burgess (and interim member Kirsten Harris-Talley since Oct. 6).
After entering the council chambers to chants of “TE-RE-SA,” Mosqueda stressed the importance of working together, citing the city’s progress on sick leave, secure scheduling, and the minimum wage among others as achievements reached, “by finding common ground and leading, even in the face of extreme odds and opposition.”
“We won by creating broad coalitions, by being thoughtful — and often a little relentless — in our cause to advance greater equity for all,” she said.
Invoking the words of labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez, Mosqueda said, “once social change begins, it cannot be reversed,” and that a “fresh wave of leaders” is rising and running for office at a critical time in our nation’s history.
“We are the ones in the crosshairs,” she said. “We as workers, women, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, environmentalists, small business owners and immigrants and refugees. And the best way to protect our rights — is to get more of us elected to office.”
After the ceremony, Mosqueda told reporters her legislative priorities stem from her broader campaign platform of providing greater economic stability for workers in the city. That means a focus on equal pay for women in the workplace, protecting the health of the city’s residents, along with creating more affordable housing and affordable childcare.
The last two, she said, will take on an expedited timeline, with the new councilmember noting conversations will take place this week and next with community members on what making sure families can spend less than 10 percent of their income on child care would entail.
The cost to make that a reality is unclear; with Mosqueda saying Tuesday it depends on how much can be done to increase the number of providers.
“It’s more than just revenue,” she said. “It’s about making sure that workers are getting trained, that we have adequate workforce, that we have the appropriate zoning and credentials for communities so that more community-based childcare facilities can be opened and home-based facilities can be opened, and that we’re paying those workers appropriately.”
When asked about her stance on an employee hours tax, Mosqueda said she thinks the city can come up with a “smart solution.” She expressed excitement about the task force approved by the council this month to explore potential new progressive revenue sources — including the tax — and to identify where that money would go.
“I think that it’s time in our city that we take every tool that we can to have a more progressive revenue approach,” she said. “Tim Eyman’s legacy lives on, and we have to figure out ways to get enough revenue here.”
For more information on Councilmember Mosqueda’s office, visit www.seattle.gov/council/mosqueda. To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.