M. Lorena González, Seattle City Councilwoman: 5 things to know

by: Ashli Blow, KIRO 7 News Digital Producer Updated:

SEATTLE - City Council President Bruce Harrell was sworn in as mayor on Wednesday afternoon upon Ed Murray's resignation, and he has five days to decide whether to stay for the remainder of the term.

Harrell would have to vacate his council seat and his two-year term to accept the interim mayor position. And in the event Harrell declines, the council would appoint someone else, possibly Councilman Tim Burgess or M. Lorena González.

Burgess, who is retiring this year, ran for mayor previously and also served as council president last term. Read about Burgess here.

Here's a quick background on González.

1. González wins council position in 2015:  Viewed as someone with critical and independent thinking, González was a standout candidate when running for Seattle City Council Position 9 – one of the two citywide seats. She won with nearly 75 percent of the votes, becoming Seattle’s first Latina/o elected to serve with the council. Throughout her term, she’s advocated for immigrants and refugees. This year, in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, she worked to get a resolution passed that made Seattle a “Welcoming City” to push back on federal orders.

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2. She was born to a Spanish speaking migrant farmworker family: Born and raised in Washington’s Yakama Valley, González shares on her city biography that she earned her first paycheck at the age of 8, alongside her parents and five siblings. Through scholarships and three jobs, she attended community college and later Washington State University. She moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School – graduating in 2005 with honors.

3. She’s a nationally-recognized civil rights attorney and activist: She primarily represented workers in wage theft and anti-discrimination cases as an attorney. González also represented victims of police misconduct – including a lawsuit she settled with SPD over an officer’s slur to a Latino man. She went on to work as formal legal counsel to Murray and offered advice on land use, affordability and police reform. 

4. González publicly asked Murray to step down:  When newly found records in Murray’s sex abuse case surfaced, González was the first councilmember to publicly ask Murray to consider resignation. In July, she voiced concerned about Murray’s ability to run the city amid the allegations and argued Murray staying in office was hurtful to all victims of sexual abuse. She broached the topic of impeachment with her colleagues, many of whom felt at the time that removal was premature.

5. She is likely to win re-election for her council position: With rumors she'd bid for mayor, González confirmed in May that she focus on a second run for her council seat. She faced six challengers in the August 1 primary and took 64 percent of the vote. If she were to take the interim mayor position, she would have to vacate her seat, but she could run to get it back in November. Whether she takes the interim position or remains in her council seat, she’s likely to get re-elected for position 9.

 

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