Bruce Harrell

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This article is about the politician of Washington state. For the Louisiana accountant, see Bruce C. Harrell.
Bruce A. Harrell
Bruce Harrell 02.jpg
Bruce Harrell, 2011
Member of the Seattle City Council District 2
Assumed office
Preceded by Peter Steinbrueck
Personal details
Born Seattle WA
Spouse(s) Joanne Harrell
Residence Seattle, WA
Occupation Seattle City Councilmember (District 2)

Bruce A. Harrell (born 1958) is a member of the Seattle City Council first elected in 2007[1] and re-elected in 2011.[2] He is chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, serves as vice chair of the Transportation Committee and serves as a member of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. Between 2008-2011, 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.[3] 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.[4]

Bruce is married to Joanne Harrell and they are raising their family in the Mt. Baker neighborhood.

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Seattle, Harrell attended Garfield High School where he graduated valedictorian in 1976.[5]

He went on to attend the University of Washington where he 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,[6] and in 2013 he was inducted into the NW Football Hall of Fame.[7]

Legal and community experience[edit]

After attending law school, Harrell joined US West, now CenturyLink, in 1987. There, Harrell achieved the positions of Counsel, Senior Attorney and Chief Counsel. Harrell served as 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,[8] 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.[9]

Public service and 2007 election to Seattle City Council[edit]

Harrell worked for Seattle City Council in 1980. Harrell ran for City Council in 2007. Harrell was endorsed by both The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[citation needed].Harrell won the general election by a 20 percent margin, with over 80,000 votes. He is the first member of Japanese descent on the Seattle City Council. Harrell chaired the Energy and Technology Committee, responsible for overseeing Seattle City Light. He has led efforts to switch streetlights to Light Emitting Diode or LED lights.[10]

Harrell sponsored a Race and Social Justice Resolution in November 2009 and in 2011,launched the Great Student Initiative to provide low-cost Internet access to students in Seattle Public Schools.[11]

In 2013, Harrell introduced legislation to regulate the Seattle Police Department's use of drones in an effort to protect the public's civil liberties.[12]

Harrell sponsored a Job Assistance Bill passed by the Seattle City Council on June 10, 2013. The bill provides job assistance to individuals with previous criminal records.[13]

Harrell ran in the Seattle mayoral election in 2013, without success.[14]


  1. ^ King County Election Results
  2. ^ "King County Election Results". 
  3. ^ Seattle City Council Website
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Wahman, Wendy. "The Linebacker: Bruce Harrell". 
  6. ^ University of Washington Department of Political Science Website
  7. ^ "Bruce Harrell inducted to Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame". 
  8. ^ "Biography". City of Seattle. 
  9. ^ "Biography". City of Seattle. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Councilmember Harrell to launch Great Student Initiative". City of Seattle. 
  12. ^ "Councilmember Bruce Harrell proposes legislation to protect privacy concerns when drones are used". City of Seattle. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Seattle City Council Passes Job Assistance Bill". City of Seattle. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Bruce Harrell blasts Mayor McGinn over handling of Justice Dept.", June 28, 2013.