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On the Issues

Affordable & Accessible Housing

We are in the midst of a housing crisis in Seattle. The lack of accessible and affordable housing is destroying our vibrant cultural communities and pushing people out of the city.

The 2015 Seattle Housing Authority Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) laid out an aggressive plan to create 2
0,000 affordable housing units by 2025 and we need to make sure we are delivering on this plan.

I currently serve on the Black Community Impact Alliance and was pleased to help our partners secure the purchase of the YK building. This spring, it will open its doors to 130 young adults making less than $19,000 annually.

According to the Office of Civil Rights, 60% of those receiving section 8 housing vouchers were discriminated against due to race, sexuality, national origin, religion, and criminal history. This is unacceptable. I will work to address rental housing discrimination, provide wider access to rental assistance and increase enforcement of Seattle fair housing ordinances. One option I would like to explore is a "ban-the-box" style proposal similar to what we see today on job applications. This would prohibit landlords from asking a prospective tenant about criminal history until they make it past the first phase in the housing application process and then, only if the crime has anything to do with the likelihood of safety or housing should the tenant be restricted.

Growing Small Business

As a small business owner, and former President of First Thursday Seattle, I know that locally owned small and mid-sized businesses are the solution to expanding opportunity in Seattle. I actively organized small businesses to rally around the Seattle minimum wage increase and worked with the Office of Labor Standards to enforce and uphold good labor practices such minimum wage, paid sick leave and ban the box. By helping support and build small businesses in Seattle we can continue to build a fair and healthy environment for workers and business owners alike. One way that Seattle has been helping business owners is by investing resources into supporting the growth of micro businesses. The Economic Development Office has been doing an exceptional job with assisting micro businesses in the Central and International Districts. I would like to leverage the success of this program and continue this work in areas like White Center and Columbia City.

Jobs Not Jails

Over that past decade, crime has decreased by 60%. This is largely because we are starting to treat the problems in our communities, rather than the symptoms. Instead of spending money on more law enforcement and jails, we need to continue to invest in prevention services and create real opportunities for people to succeed in our community. We should continue to make investments toward community led efforts that work directly with youth violence prevention; we should continue to financially support successful outcomes like those achieved by the Urban League Career Bridge, and we should continue to invest in apprenticeship opportunities like those we see at the Seattle vocational Institute. These are the types of programs that actually reduce crime and help provide financial stability for those who are the most vulnerable or struggling. Together we will continue to invest in programs that lift up our communities and provide opportunity instead of placing people in jails.

Racial Justice

With the President's administration already targeting disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, Seattle residents are looking to their city leaders to stand up against hate and discrimination. The racial divide that we see nationally has fueled us to start making the changes we want to see here at the local level. Seattle has led the nation in closing the disparity gap under its Race and Social Justice Initiative. In 2013, we created more equity in the hiring process when we agreed to ban-the-box through Seattle's Fair Chance Employment Ordinance. We were also one of the first cities to provide an analysis on how policies would impact communities of color and where financial resources should be allocated. For over 15 years, I have been on the front line of these battles. Through my work with the NAACP I have not only led the successful efforts to pass these initiatives, but I have actively worked on maintaining and enforcing these programs and standards. I am ready to continue my work to ensure that we don’t just stand our ground, but continue to push forward on issues of racial equity.  

Paid for By
Friends of Sheley Secrest
PO Box 75525 
Seattle, WA 98175
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