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A letter to you.

In 2019, the voters of Kirkland elected me to my first term as a member of the City Council. Thank you!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be running for re-election in 2021, and I'm excited to have an opportunity to serve again.

My first year on the Council was a challenging year – for the city, state, and nation. That makes me all the more proud of what the City of Kirkland, the Council, and the community were able to achieve.

In February 2020, Kirkland was thrust into the national spotlight as the first “epicenter” of COVID-19 in the United States. Kirkland’s first responders and their health care provider partners at Evergreen Hospital responded heroically. Meanwhile, the Council and the city’s staff, with intense energy and attention, immediately began preparing and implementing strategies, through thoughtful and nimble decision-making, that helped keep residents, visitors, business owners, and their workers safe; provided for economic relief and recovery; and aided and protected the most vulnerable in our community.

And, in May 2020, following the tragic killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, we again found ourselves – as a city and nation – facing difficult questions and conversations about structural racism, equal access to justice, systemic barriers to equality, and the role of police in the justice system. These issues loomed large – and still do today – but I’m proud of how Kirkland embraced these challenges during my first year on the Council. In August 2020, I and my colleagues adopted Resolution R-5434, developed through an intensive public-outreach and planning effort, affirming that Black Lives Matter and establishing a framework for implementing specific strategies – involving transparency, accountability, inclusivity, community dialogue, and funding – that will help ensure that everyone who lives, works, and visits Kirkland feels safe and welcome and, just as importantly, knows they belong. Resolution R-5434 is more than words. It has already formed the foundation for a broad city-wide equity assessment, regular listening sessions between city leaders and community leaders representing People of Color, the creation of a new community court within the Kirkland Municipal Court, and a wide-ranging Community Safety Initiative that devotes substantial funding and energy to everything from food and shelter services to evaluation of police use of force policies to low-income and affordable housing to alternatives to a police response to certain emergencies, particularly those involving mental health crises, substance use disorders, and homelessness.

Through it all, the Council and the city’s staff kept doing the work of the people of Kirkland:

  • We made substantial investments in our parks system, including enhancements to Juanita Beach Park and 132nd Square Park, together with the transformation of the park at Totem Lake
  • In September 2020, the Council adopted the final Safer Routes to School Action Plan
  • We continued to make progress on key transportation projects, including the Totem Lake Connector Bridge, which will enhance the Cross Kirkland Corridor and increase opportunities for multi-modal transportation
  • In March 2020, with the Council's adoption of a Missing Middle Housing Initiative, we took additional steps to encouraging development of the greater mix of housing types needed to better enable all those who live and work here to live here, including long-time residents and newcomers
  • Affordable housing is also sustainable housing and contributes to vibrant, sustainable, and walkable neighborhood centers consistent with Kirkland's first Sustainability Master Plan adopted by the Council in December 2020
  • We also increased the support Kirkland provides to its human services partners and arts organization
  • We celebrated the opening of the new Women and Families shelter in Kirkland, partly funded by the City of Kirkland
  • And, we did all of this while maintaining Kirkland’s strong financial position and a top credit rating

As proud as I am of what Kirkland accomplished in 2020 and the first half of 2021, I know our work is not done. I will continue my support for:

  • Thoughtful, compassionate, responsible, service-oriented decision-making involving meaningful engagement with residents and business owners, regardless of the issue
  • Housing and human services designed to aid, protect, and enhance opportunities for the most vulnerable in our community
  • Relief and recovery for business owners, workers, and residents hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Sensible and careful planning for growth that encourages, among other things, development of a greater mix of housing types in vibrant, sustainable, walkable neighborhoods
  • More and diverse transportation options that reduce congestion and afford residents and visitors choices that are cleaner, greener, and more efficient
  • Enhancing the city’s parks and open spaces and encouraging the creation of more “third places” outside of homes and offices where residents and visitors can work and play
  • Reducing systemic barriers to equality and fostering greater inclusivity and access to justice
  • Responsible stewardship over the city’s fiscal resources
  • Alternative models for responding to behavioral, mental health, and addiction crises in the community
  • And, a Kirkland that is safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all

I'm excited to be working for the people of Kirkland. Thank you!

Paid for by Neal Black for Kirkland
PO Box 822
Kirkland, WA 98083-0822
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