It is the responsibility of all elected officials to represent their entire community. We must represent those people who voted for us, those people who voted against us, and those people who didn't vote. Only by listening to and learning from each other, can we achieve good public policy.

I authored and submitted this op-ed to the Seattle Times in December, 2016, signed by mayors from across the county:

We are mayors of cities in Puget Sound, committed to ensuring the safety of all our residents. Perhaps more critical today, we want people to feel welcome in our communities. We are committed to the values of equality and justice for all. We declare that we, as elected officials in our cities, will uphold our duties to provide services to every member of our communities; regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration status, political party or ideology, or national origin.

We do not condone hate -- in our schools, places of worship, or anywhere in our communities. Hateful and divisive rhetoric is un-American and drives us apart instead of building bridges toward a more inclusive and more welcoming community. It is unacceptable that many of our residents live in fear and don’t feel welcome where they live. It is unacceptable that any child does not feel welcome in our communities.

As students of history, we recognize that slavery, the Trail of Tears and other violations of tribal treaty rights, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Jim Crow laws, the internment of Japanese Americans, and Bowers v. Hardwick are stains in our American creed -- that everyone is created equal and endowed with inalienable rights.

While the march toward a more equal society is uneven, as your elected officials, we have a responsibility and a duty to stand up for the rights of all our residents. We will to continue to work toward providing a safe environment for all of our communities. Our cities are strengthened by a rich variety of neighbors that have co-existed peacefully and respectfully for many years. We will continue to foster and create a welcoming space for every resident of our communities, including Native Americans, African Americans, Muslim Americans, Latinos and Hispanics, Asian Americans, LGBTQ community, and all people in our communities.

We believe in the primacy of the First Amendment and the freedom of worship. The freedom of conscience is the underpinning of a democratic society and who we are as individuals. We reject any notion that a religion is incompatible with democracy. We will not pass any law, or proclamation, that is discriminatory in nature against any religion.

We value and celebrate the diversity in our communities. Immigrants have and will continue to play a significant role in making our cities as strong and resilient as they are and shaping the greatness of our country. We believe that our country needs immigration reform, and we have an obligation to make all members of our communities feel safe and welcome during that reform.

As your elected officials, we commit to developing stronger relationships with our residents to build more inclusive, equitable communities.

 

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