Seattle’s city council will soon have a supermajority of female councilmembers following the election of Teresa Mosqueda to the seat long held by now interim Mayor Tim Burgess.
Mosqueda, who’s served as political director for the Washington State Labor Council, defeated housing activist Jon Grant, taking more than 60 percent of the vote, as of the latest results.
“I think it's a new day in Seattle and across the country in many ways,” said Mosqueda. “We saw record numbers of women and people of color standing up to run for office for the first time ever. I am one of them and many of us won.”
Her win will give the council six women and additional diversity. She will become the third Latina councilmember, following Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, re-elected this year to Position 9, and Councilmember Debora Juarez who is both Native-American and Mexican-American.
“I think it means that our democracy is beginning to reflect our community more and more,” said Mosqueda.
“I think it means we can get a lot done around equal pay, around protections in the work place and making sure more of us as working families can afford to stay and live in the city and have greater shared prosperity,” she continued.
Mosqueda says one of her top priorities will be equal pay for women, citing a report this year that Seattle has one of the biggest gender wage gaps in the U.S.
“I have legislation ready to go, and I look forward to working with our colleagues to make sure that happens,” she said.
Mosqueda, who has a background in both labor and public health, says she's also working on a proposal to look at a regional health plan, modeled after one in San Francisco to address continued national uncertainty over the health insurance market.
Mosqueda will become the only renter on city council, a body that will have to tackle Seattle's ongoing housing affordability crisis.
Mosqueda will replace veteran city leader Burgess, viewed as a centrist and moderate on a council that's moved progressively to the left.
“I think that councilmember and now Mayor Burgess got credit for trying to find that common ground,” said councilmember-elect Mosqueda.
“I know that I can do that. I hope to lead by example, and pull people together. I gotta say with nine people on Seattle city council, we don't have time to point fingers at each other. We cannot create divisions within our city. Right now, we need people who are going to unify our movements,” she said.
Since Burgess vacated his seat early to fill out the remainder of Mayor Ed Murray’s term, Mosqueda will be sworn in early on November 28.