Bruce Harrell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bruce Harrell
Bruce Harrell cropped edited.jpg
54th Mayor of Seattle
In office
September 13, 2017 – September 18, 2017
Preceded by Ed Murray
Succeeded by Tim Burgess
Member of the Seattle City Council
from District 2
Assumed office
Preceded by Peter Steinbrueck
Personal details
Born Bruce Allen Harrell
(1958-10-10) October 10, 1958 (age 59)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Spouse(s) Joanne Harrell
Residence Seattle, Washington

Bruce Allen Harrell (born October 10, 1958)[1] is an American politician, lawyer, and former football player who is a member of the Seattle City Council from District 2. Harrell serves as the Council President and was acting Mayor of Seattle from September 13, 2017 to September 18, 2017.[2][3]

Harrell was first elected to the City Council in 2007[4] and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.[5] He is the President of the City Council, chair of the Education, Equity, and Governance Committee, serves as vice chair of the Human Services and Public Health Committee and is a member of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee. Between 2008 and 2011, he served as chair of the Energy, Technology, and Civil Rights Committee and was responsible for oversight of Seattle City Light, the city's public power utility and the city's Department of Information and Technology.[6] He also sits on the Puget Sound Regional Council's Executive Board, chairs Performance First, a partnership to support minority-owned businesses, and is the Northwest Regional Director for the National Technology Adoption Advisory Council.[7]

Early life, education, and football career[edit]

Harrell was born in 1958 in Seattle, to an African American father, who worked for Seattle City Light, and a Japanese American mother who had been interned at Minidoka and worked for the Seattle Public Library.[8] The Harrell family lived in the Central District, a minority enclave in Seattle, and Bruce graduated from Garfield High School in 1976 as valedictorian of his class.[9]

Harrell played as an American football linebacker at Garfield High School, where he was named to the all-Metro team.[10] He went on to attend the University of Washington on a football scholarship, rejecting Harvard University in the process,[11] and played for the Washington Huskies football team from 1976 to 1979. At the University of Washington, Harrell earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1980 and made the national Academic All-American First Team in football. Harrell earned the juris doctor degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984, was admitted to the Washington State Bar and practiced for 20 years, working as in-house counsel for US West, now CenturyLink, and then in private practice. In 1994, Harrell earned a Master's degree in Organizational Design and Improvement from City University of Seattle.

In 2007, Harrell received the University of Washington Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2012, Harrell won the University of Washington's Timeless Award Winner,[12] and in 2013 he was inducted into the NW Football Hall of Fame.[13]

Lawyer at US West[edit]

After attending law school, Harrell joined US West, now CenturyLink, in 1987. Harrell was chief legal advisor to the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, chief legal advisor to the First A.M.E. Church and First A.M.E. Housing Corporation,[14] Chief Counsel to US West, and general counsel to the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Zeta Pi Lambda chapter.

In addition to his legislative responsibilities, Harrell serves as Chair of the Puget Sound Regional Council's Performance First Committee: a business development strategy of PSRC's Prosperity Partnership; Advisory Board Chair for CASASTART; a focused strategy for youth with behavioral challenges at Seattle Public Schools; and, member of the Social Action Committee for First A.M.E. Church.[15]

Seattle City Council[edit]

Harrell was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2007.

In 2008, as Chair of the Seattle City Light committee Harrell authored 28 ordinances.[16] This included work to switch streetlights to LED bulbs.[17]

In 2010 Harrell created a Rate Stabilization Account (RSA) for Seattle City Light.[18] The account provides protection for Seattle City Light customers from the volatility of the wholesale power market.[19]

In 2011 Harrell sponsored a program to establish partnerships with technology companies and financial institutions to provide need-based Internet access to students in the Seattle Public Schools.[20] In 2011 Harrell wrote a letter to now former US Attorney Jenny Durkan asking for the Federal Government to mandate body cameras in Seattle.[21] Through years of Harrell's persistence Police Body Cameras are scheduled to be included in Seattle's City Budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

As of 2012 Harrell chaired the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology committees.[22]

Harrell authored the "ban the box" legislation passed on June 10, 2013 which provides job assistance to people with criminal records.[23]

During Harrell's term the Office of Immigrant and Refugee affairs was created, to help immigrants and refugees.[24]

In 2013, Harrell introduced legislation to regulate the Seattle Police Department's use of drones and other surveillance measures in an effort to protect the public's civil liberties.[25] In 2013 Harrell also ran for mayor without success.[26]

In 2014, Harrell was a sponsor on Seattle's $15.00 minimum wage legislation.[27]

Harrell appointed[when?] the first members to the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities.[28]

Harrell supported ShotSpotter, an acoustic gun shot locating system that uses microphones installed around the city that pick up the sound of gun fire and alert police in seconds. Similar systems have been instituted in Los Angeles and Boston.[29]

In 2015, Harrell was the sponsor on the Seattle Youth Prevention Initiative, lifting a budget condition on the Department of Neighborhoods' Youth Violence Prevention. This measure added much needed flexibility and resources to the program, providing more opportunity for at risk youth.[30]

In May 2016, Harrell faced some backlash over his decision to allow a supporter of a measure to attempt to bring back the Seattle SuperSonics to violate several of the city council's rules during a rant against Councilwoman Lorena González who had opposed the measure. Harrell had supported the measure, along with Rob Johnson, Mike O'Brien, and Tim Burgess, when it was defeated 5-4 with opposition from González, Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez, and Sally Bagshaw.[31][32][33]

Mayor of Seattle[edit]

Harrell was sworn in as Acting Mayor of Seattle at 5:08 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, following the resignation of Mayor Ed Murray.[2][34] Harrell served as acting mayor for a five-day period, after which the city council elected Tim Burgess to fill the position until after the November election.[35] Harrell declined to continue as acting mayor until November, which would have required him to lose his city council seat.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Harrell is married to Joanne Harrell and resides in the Mount Baker neighborhood of Seattle with his family.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Laws, Cindi (October 20, 2015). "The Case for Bruce Harrell". South Seattle Emerald. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Beekman, Daniel (September 13, 2017). "City Council President Bruce Harrell becomes Seattle's 54th mayor; Ed Murray steps down". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ DeMay, Daniel (September 18, 2017). "Seattle council picks Burgess as new interim mayor". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  4. ^ King County Election Results
  5. ^ "King County Election Results". 
  6. ^ Seattle City Council Website
  7. ^ Carter, Evan. "One Economy Launches National Technology Adoption Advisory Council (NTAAC) of 80 Leading Elected Officials". One Economy Corporation. One Economy Corporation. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Vu, Carol N. (February 3, 2007). "Harrell makes run for City Council". Northwest Asian Weekly. Archived from the original on May 14, 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ Heffter, Emily (July 23, 2013). "Mayoral contender Harrell inspired by his modest roots". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ Meyers, Georg N. (April 17, 1977). "Bruce found training ground for politics". The Seattle Times. p. H1. 
  11. ^ Rockne, Dick (August 26, 1976). "Harvard lost Harrell to Huskies". The Seattle Times. p. D1. 
  12. ^ University of Washington Department of Political Science Website
  13. ^ "Bruce Harrell inducted to Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame". 
  14. ^ "Biography". City of Seattle. 
  15. ^ "Biography". City of Seattle. 
  16. ^ “Harrell Seattle City Light 2008 Ordinances." August 18, 2015.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  18. ^ $100 million Rate Stabilization Account (RSA)
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ The Great Student Initiative
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ 2015-2016 proposed budget August 18, 2015.
  23. ^ "Seattle City Council Passes Job Assistance Bill". City of Seattle. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  24. ^ Seattle City Council establishes Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Feb 6 , 2012.
  25. ^ "Councilmember Bruce Harrell proposes legislation to protect privacy concerns when drones are used". City of Seattle. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "Bruce Harrell blasts Mayor McGinn over handling of Justice Dept." Archived September 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., June 28, 2013.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities
  29. ^ "ShotSpotter Gunshot Detection and Location Service | Protect Critical Infrastructure, Campuses, Cities". Retrieved 2015-08-20. 
  30. ^ “Safe Youth Seattle." April 6, 2015.
  31. ^ The Aftermath of Seattle's Female City Council Majority Voting Down a Sports Stadium | The Atlantic
  32. ^ In 5-4 Vote, City Council Kills Street Vacation for New Sodo Arena | The Stranger
  33. ^ Seattle Arena: Council rejects vacating Occidental Avenue 5-4 |
  34. ^ Harrell sworn in as 54th mayor of Seattle
  35. ^ "With Ed Murray out as Seattle mayor, here's how his duties will be handled". The Seattle Times. 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2017-09-13. 
  36. ^ Beekman, Daniel (September 15, 2017). "Bruce Harrell turns down Seattle mayor's job, council will pick a replacement". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ed Murray
Mayor of Seattle
Succeeded by
Tim Burgess