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About Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Learn more about Councilmember Girmay Zahilay.

What we’ve been working on this past year

My office has worked tirelessly this year to address our region’s most pressing challenges. We championed transformational initiatives like building crisis care centers to help our neighbors experiencing mental illness and substance use disorders get off the street and into care. We organized effective public safety strategies in key neighborhoods like Rainier Beach, Mt. Baker, and the Central District. We balanced and passed a $15.8 billion budget and secured major investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and community centers.

In 2023, I will continue to prioritize affordable housing and ending homelessness, public safety, and helping our economy recover from the pandemic. We will keep working hard for you and we invite you to partner with us on building the King County we all want to see. Please fill out my District 2 Community Priorities Survey to help me better serve you: District 2 Survey 2023.

Highlights and accomplishments

  • Free Youth Fare Ordinance
    Co-sponsored the Free Youth Fare ordinance, allowing youth 18 and under to ride transit for free

  • Equitable Development Initiative 
    Co-created an Equitable Development Initiative to ensure King County supports development while preventing displacement of communities

  • Extreme Weather Adaptation 
    Championed and passed Extreme Weather Adaptation legislation to ensure King County creates indoor options for people to escape extreme heat, cold, and wildfire smoke

  • Passed $16.4 Billion Biennial Budget 
    Passed a $16.4 billion biennial budget to fund critical services throughout King County, including major investments in housing, public health, public transit, and community safety 

  • Food Bank Motion
    Organized with local food banks to pass the Food Bank Motion, which supports food banks and advances food security in our region

  • Billions of Federal Relief Dollars 
    Worked with the Council to allocate billions of federal relief dollars to protect residents from COVID, provide millions in rental assistance, and expand transit and infrastructure projects around the region

  • $5 Million Economic Development Program 
    Supported small businesses by establishing a $5 million economic development program in unincorporated King County

  • Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program 
    Launched a Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program to allocate $1000 per month to extremely low income families for one year, and conducted GBI policy analysis in partnership with the University of Washington

  • Participatory Budgeting 
    Helped create Participatory Budgeting for unincorporated King County, leading to the first ever community-voted funds awarded to projects such as Street Beautification in the Skyway Business District, Hewet Skyway Community Garden, “Welcome Home” down payment assistance, and more

  • Donated Four County Vans 
    Donated four County vans to local nonprofits to support food delivery, driving seniors and disabled neighbors, and other vital needs

  • Joint Aircraft Emissions Task Force 
    Established the Joint Aircraft Emissions Task Force to advance greenhouse gas reduction strategies and tactics, for which my team was honored with a Climate Justice Award from the Beacon Hill Council

  • Promoted Digital Equity 
    Promoted digital equity by funding internet services for marginalized communities and initiating a committee report to map King County’s journey toward public broadband

  • Support Refugee Resettlement Efforts 
    Organized decision-makers to support refugee resettlement efforts from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and other countries experiencing crisis

  • Repeal Laws that Prevent Equity
    Sponsored and passed a motion committing the County to equity in contracting and calling on the Governor to repeal laws that prevent equity

  • Health through Housing initiative
    Supported and co-sponsored the Health through Housing initiative, which directs the County to buy existing hotels and motels to bring indoors 1,600 chronically unhoused people and provide them housing and supportive services

  • Missing Middle Housing Motion 
    Introduced the Missing Middle Housing Motion to lower barriers for construction of more multi-family housing which will increase housing supply

  • Surplus Land for Community
    Sponsored and passed the Surplus Land for Community ordinance to ensure King County makes available unused buildings and land for housing and other community facilities 

  • First Tiny House Village Outside Seattle
    Provided housing to dozens of unhoused Skyway residents by helping to establish the first Tiny House Village outside Seattle

  • Tenant Protections and Just Cause Eviction
    Protected thousands of tenants by passing a suite of historic Tenant Protections and Just Cause Eviction legislation to increase housing stability and reduce homelessness during the pandemic

  • 500,000 Donation from the Seahawks
    Launched the Youth Achievement Center campaign to build a housing and jobs center for unhoused youth in South Seattle, which led to a $ 500,000 donation from the Seahawks

  • Community Safety Ambassadors Program
    Created the Community Safety Ambassadors Program to promote public safety at and around public transit stations so that everyone is and feels safe while riding Metro buses

  • Established a $1 million residential road safety program
    Established a $1 million residential road safety program in unincorporated King County to protect our pedestrians and other road users

  • Gun Return Program
    Supported legislation proposing a year-round Gun Return Program for residents to safely surrender unwanted firearms or ammunition

  • Gun Violence Prevention Program
    Led the funding and creation of a $2 million community-based gun violence prevention program

  • Public Safety in Key Neighborhoods
    Organized decision-makers and resources to promote public safety in key neighborhoods like Mt. Baker, Rainier Beach, and Central District

  • Crisis Care Centers
    Led the effort to build five Crisis Care Centers around King County, places where people can access life-saving care for mental illness and substance use disorders

  • Mental Health Crisis Response Systems
    Delivered a report on mental health crisis response systems to lay the groundwork for alternative emergency responders, after leading the charge on Charter Amendment 6

  • Youth Mental Health Services
    Secured $5 million for youth mental health services, prioritizing school-based services, mental health first aid, and suicide prevention for youth

  • Abortion Access Emergency Legislation
    Co-sponsored and passed Abortion Access Emergency Legislation, investing $500,000 in the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and prohibiting King County agencies from cooperating with out-of-state prosecutions of abortion providers or patients.

  • Skyway Affordable Housing
    Championed Skyway Affordable Housing by directing a $5 million investment to an affordable home ownership and an affordable rental development in the community

  • Skyway Community Center
    Passed a provison to bring King County Department of Parks and Natural Resources back into the business of establishing and managing community centers, and to house the future Skyway Community Center

  • Skyway Park Renovation
    Supported the Skyway Park Renovation, a $3.9 million project that provided a new playground, new and enhanced sports fields, improved lighting, and better ADA accessibility for Skyway Park

  • Expanded public transit options
    Expanded public transit options for residents of Skyway and other South King County neighborhoods by helping to secure $6 million for Via on-demand van service

  • Skyway Resource Center
    Advanced the Skyway Resource Center by investing $2 million to build a new home for the Center at the former US Bank location in Skyway

  • Budget Town Halls
    Held Budget Town Halls to connect with constituents and local community organizations, and to allow community to directly inform King County’s multibillion dollar budget

  • Build the Bench
    Trained hundreds of new leaders through Build the Bench, an initiative I started that prepares the next generation of progressive elected leaders

  • Championed Ranked Choice Voting 
    Championed Ranked Choice Voting and other voting reform efforts

  • Moved King County Elections to Even Years 
    Co-sponsored legislation to move King County elections to even years from odd years to dramatically increase voter turnout and engagement