Council Chair Claudia Balducci
We live in a dynamic, diverse, and growing region.
I am excited to put my experience as a local elected official, transit leader, and mom to work to enhance our communities and our region. I look forward to meeting and working with the people of the 6th District and all of King County!
Redoubling Our Efforts to Combat the Climate Crisis here in King County
Many District 6 constituents share my alarm and are urging greater action to address the climate crisis. After talking with constituents and members of People for Climate Action, I introduced legislation that calls on King County to build on its partnerships with cities and other stakeholders to go further to reduce greenhouse gas emissions communitywide.
This legislation will direct the creation of a Climate Action Toolkit that all jurisdictions can use to create locally-tailored climate action plans. The Climate Action Toolkit will enable cities to identify their leading greenhouse gas contributors and implement strategies to reduce those emissions. It will also be a tool for residents to use to advocate actions to meet our collective goals to reduce communitywide greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
Investing in Our Values
Voters and the King County Council took action in August to invest in community priorities, including:
- King County Parks Levy Renewal: On August 6, 70% of King County voters approved the 2020-25 King County Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space Levy, which will invest over $50 million to build out the Eastrail, along with new investments in open space, pools and playfields. Learn more about the Parks Levy.
- $100 million for affordable housing: Legislation I sponsored unlocks a new tool provided by the Washington State Legislature to access approximately $100 million in funding for affordable housing over the next 20 years – all done without raising taxes. Read more about the legislation in the Seattle Times.
- $318 Million for New Early Learning Facilities, K-12 Programs, College and Career Support for Underserved Youth in King County to improve education outcomes: I worked with my colleagues and the community on a plan that will ensure we make targeted, deep investments that will be transformational for a generation of youth and young adults over the next 15 years. Read more about funding to specific educational priorities.
As a sponsor of the legislation leading to these important King County investments, I’m proud to represent the values of our District 6 neighbors to build a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
The Eastside Rail Corridor is Renamed the Eastrail
Twelve years ago, the future of the Eastside Rail Corridor was uncertain. Since then we have preserved the corridor and started opening segments of the trail to the public. Now with the unveiling of the new Eastrail name, we make a turn and begin the process of transforming these segments into a singular, regional whole.
The name change to Eastrail, which was made official in Redmond on July 20, as well as the community and business leadership behind it, marks an exciting next step to realize the vision of a connected 42-mile corridor to communities, light rail and many destinations across the Eastside. As the chair of the Regional Advisory Council, which guides the development of this regional treasure, I’m excited to continue the work to realize this vision.Learn more about the Eastrail from King County Parks, and be sure to watch the video recap, courtesy of King County TV, of the official name unveiling celebration.
Working together to build more affordable homes across King County
At the same time that job numbers and economic growth are at record highs in King County, thousands struggle to find an affordable place to call home.
To respond to this housing crisis, I co-chaired the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force, which wrapped up its work in December 2018. The Task Force estimated that King County needs 244,000 new affordable homes now to meet the need by 2040 and it recommended the creation of a regional body, now called the Affordable Housing Committee, to bring cities, the County and stakeholders together.
This Committee began work on June 21 to implement the Task Force’s ambitious 5-year action plan to build or preserve 44,000 homes by 2024 for families in King County earning 50 percent or less of area median income. Learn more about the Affordable Housing Committee, and the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force recommendations.
Listening to Sammamish Valley
Thanks the many engaged community members who attended the June 4 Winery, Brewery and Distillery Code Update community meeting, as well as to our wonderful hosts at Lake Washington United Methodist church. We had a wide-ranging discussion, lots of good questions, listening and learning. I appreciate everyone who spoke and shared their knowledge, experience and concerns. The love and care for our Sammamish Valley and irreplaceable agricultural areas was strongly evident.
Many requested additional responses to questions, which can be found here.
A formal public hearing on the code update occurs at the meeting of the Full King County Council on Wednesday, June 12 at 10:30 am.
Connecting with Constituents at District 6 Town Halls
Thank you to everyone who joined me at the town hall meetings in Kirkland and Bellevue on Saturday, April 27. I enjoy town halls because I get to hear from constituents directly on topics they are passionate about. This year’s themes included King County initiatives to mitigate and adapt for climate change, next steps to build and preserve affordable housing in King County, as well as new legislation impacting wineries and breweries in the Sammamish Valley.
For those who missed it, you can find the presentation I gave at both meetings here. As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out!
Making a Transportation System that Puts People First
As ride-hailing, bike-share, scooters, and more autonomous vehicle technologies come online, disruption of the existing transportation system is inevitable, but worsening inequality doesn’t have to be.
At the April 2019 Regional Transit Committee meeting, Stuart Cohen, the co-founder and former Executive Director of TransForm, presented on how we can harness these changes to create a more equitable and accessible transportation system that puts people first. Mr. Cohen’s presentation is part of Councilmember Balducci’s ongoing initiative to build a regional mobility framework in King County. Read Cohen's "A Framework for equity in new mobility” here.
Standing with our Muslim American Neighbors
I’m proud to have sponsored, along with my King County Council colleagues, a proclamation condemning acts of violence against those exercising their constitutionally protected right to worship. While the genesis of today’s proclamation is in response to the horrific attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, this proclamation is so much more. With this proclamation, the King County Council celebrates how the Muslim American community contributes to our civic, economic, cultural and spiritual life both in King County and nationally.
Read the proclamation here.
Balducci Calls for State Action to Create Clean Energy Future
King County is taking local and regional climate action now to protect the health, environment and economy of future generations through the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C). Through this collaboration, King County, 15 cities, and the Port of Seattle are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our communities by 50 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
But we can’t stop there and that’s why I’ve joined with Mayor Matt Larson of Snoqualmie and Councilmember Bruce Bassett of Mercer Island to ask all Eastsiders to contact your state legislators to pass strong, effective state legislation to secure our clean energy future.
Read our op-ed calling for a clean energy future in the Issaquah Reporter.
Regional Leadership for Affordable Housing
With the tremendous growth in King County, thousands of our neighbors lack safe, healthy and affordable places to call home. Almost one month ago, through the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force that I co-chaired, King County and all of its cities agreed on a path forward, confirming that working together is the only way we can solve the region’s affordable housing crisis.
But cities and the County cannot do it alone. I applaud Microsoft for its historic investment in our community. Our shared prosperity depends on businesses and governments coming together to build more affordable homes across King County.
Council Chambers are now Looped!
Almost 20 percent of Americans report hearing loss and almost 15 percent of school-age children, including my own middle school-aged son, have some degree of hearing loss. Looping the chambers is an important step to make King County meetings and deliberations more accessible to our constituents and will enable more people to engage in our civic life.
Check out the King County TV segment on this great improvement at the King County Council:
Bellevue Eastlink Tunnel Breakthrough
In July 2018 Sound Transit’s East Link project completed its initial excavation for the light rail tunnel in downtown Bellevue. This tunnel breakthrough represents a decade of vision, hard work and tenacity by local and regional leaders, planners, staff, and many, many members of the public who all insisted on a great transit. Light Rail connecting Eastside communities will give more people the freedom to get around easily and affordably. I can’t wait to see it open in 2023.