Jenny Durkan Becomes First Lesbian Mayor of Seattle, Only Second Woman to Ever Take the Post

Jenny Durkan Becomes First Lesbian Mayor of Seattle, Only Second Woman to Ever Take the Post

- in Local, Politics
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Jenny Durkan wins Seattle’s mayoral race to become only the second woman in the city to take the post. Bertha Knight Landes won nearly 92 years ago to become the first.

Durkan also shatters the city’s glass ceiling for being the first elected lesbian mayor.

Durkan’s remarks are below, as prepared by her campaign.

Wow, Seattle.

Are you having a good time?

Good evening Seattle. Thank you!

So I want to say, there’s a few celebrities in the house I want to thank.

The Seattle Times has called the race.

I’m so grateful for all of you that are here tonight.

I’m especially grateful to have my family Dana and our boys here. They’ve put up with me at every step of the way.

I also want to thank my campaign team, I’ll name some folks I miss some people but I love you all Kelly, Erin, Ali, Anthony, Stephanie, Lyle, Amanda and everyone –

We have the greatest team.

We were like flying this plane as we were building it.

And you’ve all been there right along.

Thank you to every single one of you for helping my campaign.

It’s been a great journey. I’m so proud of the historic inclusive campaign that we built.

And I will tell you the backbone of our campaign was our working families like our nurses, fire fighters, health care workers, building trades, and longshore workers, and there’s a rumor there’s labor in the house tonight.

But the truly secret weapon: folks up here, folks out there – our volunteers.

We had the best grassroots campaign of any mayoral campaign ever.

At the end of the day today we contacted more than 100,000 voters. And I apologize to all those people whose dinner we interrupted. And those doors we knocked on again and again but thank you.

So this campaign was never about any candidate. It wasn’t about me. Or anyone else.

It was about you.  It was about Seattle and the future of Seattle. It’s a campaign about what Seattle will be like for the next generation. You have committed to making it the best Seattle ever.

Now I know there are a lot more votes to be counted. And if you know me you know I like to count every single vote.

But, I have to tell you: We are feeling really really good about where we are. And I think you guys should celebrate.

And I have it on good authority that some of you have been doing that!

So I want to talk a little bit about the last woman mayor.

92 years later Seattle is about to have another woman mayor.

Bertha Knight Landes, she’s got a conference room. She was the first woman mayor, and the first woman ever to lead a big American city.

And she did it in 1926 – not too long after women got the right to vote.

At the time, newspapers they talked about her – they described her as this:

“[A] plain, unassuming, churchgoing woman.”

That is kind of like what they have been calling me.

Last week, I was in South Seattle at the senior center and I met a woman named Jewell who is 94.  She was alive when Bertha was Mayor.  She has lived in this city for decades.   She has lived almost two lives.

But today Jewell can barely get by.  I sat and talked to her. And she pays her rent and expenses – she has only a few hundred dollars left.  And she talked to me about how hard it was and how much she really had faith in Seattle.

So wanna tell you Jewell if you’re watching this: Help is On the Way.

You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about Bertha and that glass ceiling.

And when we had the year of the woman – you know, they gave us a year. I remember going to a conference and someone say you know the first people through that glass ceiling, they get cut.

Well, did you notice they named this big drill after Bertha?  94 years later, it was all Bertha’s fault when it didn’t happen.

Just imagine what they are going to blame on me in 94 years!

I will be honest – running for office – it is not for the meek.

But my mom – Lolly Durkan – did not raise her 8 kids to be meek.

She raised us to be fierce — and gentle.

And I tell ya, everywhere I went in this campaign – I knew that was Seattle. Because we stand fiercely for what we believe in.

But when we see our neighbors hurting we will also be gentile.

Because that’s the kind of future we will build together for Seattle.

Fierce and Gentle.

And in this time of Trump, are we gonna be fierce?

And for our neighbors in need, are we gonna be gentle?

And we have a lot of people hurting now but we know if we come together as a city we can tackle those challenges. We can build that better future, that better Seattle for the next generation.

NOW the other thing that Mayor Landis was quoted as saying is she thought Seattle is not really a city – but it’s really “only a larger home.”

So that’s how we have to think of Seattle. We have to build it as a place where everyone has a home.

A place where people are united. Where people know they have have place. Where we are a city that will be equitable and inclusive. And where every person regardless of their race, gender, their faith, their economic status, there is a place for you in Seattle.

That’s the Seattle we believe in, right?

And you know what else we believe in? Science. Seattle will continue to fight [for] climate change and will help lead this country.

And we believe everyone has a right to a shelter and a home. And we work as hard as we can to bring everybody inside until that happens.

We believe in full justice and equality, and we will not rest and will keep fighting until we get it.

In this time in our nation, we know that we need to face the deep wounds of systemic racism.

And we will not be afraid to look in that mirror, to heal those wounds, and to make our hearts better. Because that’s who Seattle is.

And for you parents out there who are struggling so hard to get by and you’re worried about your kids and you’re trying to get them through school, please know that if they graduate from Seattle Public Schools, college is on the way!

You know, we’re also a city that has been blessed with a great economy, even though many have struggled. And we believe in diverse businesses that make up the heart of every neighborhood, who employ so many people. And I have to tell you, walking the neighborhoods of Seattle, meeting with the small business owners, and knowing that they are the work engine of this city, thank you for all you do.

So, you know, I started this campaign, and it was beautiful weather. What happened to that?

We’ve walked neighborhoods, we’ve knocked on doors. And this weekend I was doing it in the rain, the snow, the sleet. I could have worked for the post office. But after all those miles, I will tell you one thing and I know you agree with me, I love Seattle.

I am more optimistic today than when I started this race.

We have great challenges. Affordability is crushing Seattle. The homeless need a home. Our transportation system has challenges. But you know what, I know we are up to the task. I know it because of everyone in this room, everyone at home, in all the neighborhoods I’m walking.

People in Seattle care, we will build a better city, we will build a better future, and we can be proud of it.

You know, we can really show what it looks like when it progressive values are put into action.

And can I just say to Donald Trump, keep your hands off Seattle!

So the Seattle I know and the Seattle we live in?

Unity triumphs over division

Equity over inequality.

Progress over gridlock.

And inclusion always triumphs over injustice.

So I just want to close. I want to thank you again for all your hard work. Thanks to everybody who has contributed and helped this campaign, been there volunteering, knocking on doors, talking to me, talking to me in every part of this city, it really has renewed – renewed – my love for this city and my optimism for the future.

I love you guys!

So you all worked so hard and things aren’t quite official yet, but thank you so much.

You know I also want to thank Cary Moon and her family.

I know firsthand how hard they worked and how much they put into this and the toll it takes on families, so they deserve a huge round of applause for their love for this city.

We did – we had somewhere over 85 debates.  And I will tell you, we have to be thankful that people are willing to go out and try to contribute to their city in this way, so thank you to the whole Moon family.

So I just want to say in close, thank you!

I trust the people of Seattle. I trust us to build a better future. I trust us to show the other Washington how we can really put values to work – to show that we are a better place than Donald Trump says we are.

Thank you very much.

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