By Elaine Ikoma Ko For The North American Post
On October 13, Seattle mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell held a virtual event with his closest supporters, primarily from the Japanese American and AAPI community. If elected, Bruce will be Seattle’s first Japanese-American and second Black mayor.
The meeting was co-hosted by former Seattle City Council member David Della, Tomio Moriguchi, Fred Kiga, Danielle Higa, Harold Taniguchi, and this author. It included some participants who had actively supported Mr. Harrell when he first ran for Seattle City Council in 2007.
The meeting began with a video from U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA-D) stating that Harrell is “the right leader at the right time for Seattle.”
“We learned over the past years that the best way to fight racism and stereotypes is to elect leaders who look like America, give young people role models and hope, and are in positions of leadership to fight back for us all,” she stated.
In introducing the program, Elaine Ikoma Ko noted that sixty-four current and former elected officials support Bruce Harrell, including five former Seattle mayors and Governor Gary Locke.
Among supporter comments, Elaine added, “Bruce has been a trusted friend and public servant for many years.” On the question of why Bruce for mayor now, she said, “We’re tired of this zero-sum game politics (I win and you lose) and Bruce will bring leadership to unite us all.”
Tomio Moriguchi stated, “I’ve known Bruce’s family from before he was born,” referring to his friendship with Bruce’s late mother Rose (Tamaye Kobata) Harrell, her family, and their florist businesses. “I am comfortable supporting Bruce as a business owner, property owner, and family friend.”
Harold Taniguchi stated, “I’ve worked with many elected officials. Bruce has that ‘something special.’ It takes a special person to hang in there, to move the city in a certain direction at this difficult juncture. I’m all behind Bruce.”
Bruce said, in speaking generally about his vision, “We do not have the privilege of mediocrity. We need a transition team of diverse opinions.”
“Homelessness is the number one issue facing Seattle. Inaction in City Hall only makes the crisis worse — for those living unsheltered and everyone who loves parks and open spaces. As Mayor, I’ll deliver needed housing and services — driving change to restore lives and clean up parks.”
He has goals of 1,000 units for housing the homeless within his first six months and of making our streets safe again while moving the unsheltered into safe housing.
He fielded various questions including how to level the playing field for small landlords, in light of the latest renter protection regulations passed by the Seattle City Council.
Bruce stated, “We’ll develop a new partnership with small landlords. I will make sure we have a more balanced approach with renters and landlords. We also need strong small business revitalization.”
Monisha Harrell, campaign manager and Bruce’s niece, stated, “We’re trying to run an issues-driven, values-driven campaign.”
“We know that hate speech leads to it (anti-Asian violence). We have to denounce it, clearly. This is one of the reasons Bruce decided to run. It is this ‘us versus them’ mentality. From day one, his message has been around respecting the diversity that is around us.”
Monisha emphasized that voting ballots have been delivered and people will start voting now for the November 2nd election. She asked all to tune in to the next televised mayoral debate on October 28th.
Further information on Bruce’s campaign is at bruceforseattle.com.