Bruce Harrell

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Bruce Harrell
Photograph of Bruce Harrell
Member of the Seattle City Council,
District 2
Assumed office
January 4, 2016
Preceded byKshama Sawant
54th Mayor of Seattle
In office
September 13, 2017 – September 18, 2017
Preceded byEd Murray
Succeeded byTim Burgess
Member of the Seattle City Council,
Position 3
In office
January 1, 2008 – January 4, 2016
Preceded byPeter Steinbrueck
Succeeded byKshama Sawant
Personal details
Bruce Allen Harrell

(1958-10-10) October 10, 1958 (age 60)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Spouse(s)Joanne Harrell
ResidenceSeattle, 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. He was first elected to the city council in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.[2][3] In 2016, he was chosen as president of the city council.[4] He also briefly served as acting Mayor of Seattle from September 13 to September 18, 2017.[5][6]

Early life and education[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.[7] 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.[8]

Harrell played as an American football linebacker at Garfield High School, where he was named to the all-Metro team.[9] He went on to attend the University of Washington on a football scholarship, rejecting Harvard University in the process,[10] 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 a juris doctor degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984. 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,[11] and in 2013 he was inducted into the NW Football Hall of Fame.[12]

Professional career[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,[13] 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.[13]

Political career[edit]

Councilman Harrell with mayor Ed Murray met with African American leaders

Harrell was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2007. 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.[14] In 2010, he created a Rate Stabilization Account (RSA) for Seattle City Light.[15] The account provides protection for Seattle City Light customers from the volatility of the wholesale power market.[16]

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.[17] In 2011, Harrell wrote a letter to now former US Attorney Jenny Durkan asking for the Federal Government to mandate body cameras in Seattle.[18]

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.[19] He also authored "ban the box" legislation that passed on June 10, 2013.[20]

Following years of at-large city council elections, Bruce was re-elected into the newly created District 2 position following a change to district-based city council elections. On January 4, 2016 Harrell was sworn into the District 2 office and elected council president by fellow councilmembers.[21] In 2016, Harrell supported a measure to attempt to bring back the Seattle SuperSonics, but the measure was defeated in a 5–4 vote.[22][23]

Mayor of Seattle[edit]

Harrell was sworn in as acting Mayor of Seattle on September 13, 2017, following the resignation of Mayor Ed Murray.[5][24] 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.[25] Harrell declined to continue as acting mayor until November, which would have required him to lose his city council seat.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Harrell is married to Joanne Harrell.

Electoral history[edit]

2007 election[edit]

Seattle City Council Position 3, Primary Election 2007[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Venus Velazquez 31,554 43.72%
Nonpartisan Bruce Harrell 20,520 28.43%
Nonpartisan Al Runte 9,397 13.02%
Nonpartisan John E. Manning 5,665 7.85%
Nonpartisan Scott Feldman 4,810 6.66%
Nonpartisan Write-in 223 0.31%
Turnout 84,038 25.03%
Registered electors 335,746
Seattle City Council Position 3, General Election 2007[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Bruce Harrell 80,839 59.88%
Nonpartisan Venus Velazquez 53,539 39.66%
Nonpartisan Write-in 626 0.46%
Majority 27,300 20.22%
Turnout 159,120 47.46%
Registered electors 335,276

2011 election[edit]

Seattle City Council Position 3, General Election 2011[29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Bruce Harrell 96,978 61.05%
Nonpartisan Brad Meacham 61,138 38.49%
Nonpartisan Write-in 737 0.46%
Majority 35,840 22.56%
Turnout 197,524 52.87%
Registered electors 373,630

2013 mayoral election[edit]

Mayor of Seattle, Primary Election 2013[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Ed Murray 42,314 29.85%
Nonpartisan Mike McGinn 40,501 28.57%
Nonpartisan Peter Steinbrueck 22,913 16.16%
Nonpartisan Bruce A. Harrell 21,580 15.22%
Nonpartisan Charlie Staadecker 6,288 4.44%
Nonpartisan Doug McQuaid 2,546 1.80%
Nonpartisan Kate Martin, planner 2,479 1.75%
Nonpartisan Mary Martin, factory worker 1,498 1.06%
Nonpartisan Joey Gray 1,318 0.93%
Nonpartisan Write-in 334 0.24%
Turnout 144,306 34.95%
Registered electors 412,847

2015 election[edit]

Seattle City Council District 2, Primary Election 2015[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Bruce Harrell 8,066 61.72%
Nonpartisan Tammy Morales 3,223 24.66%
Nonpartisan Josh Farris 1,725 13.20%
Nonpartisan Write-in 55 0.42%
Turnout 13,258 26.81%
Registered electors 49,450
Seattle City Council District 2, General Election 2015[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Bruce Harrell 9,532 50.79%
Nonpartisan Tammy Morales 9,188 48.96%
Nonpartisan Write-in 46 0.25%
Majority 344 1.83%
Turnout 19,866 39.74%
Registered electors 49,987

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Laws, Cindi (October 20, 2015). "The Case for Bruce Harrell". South Seattle Emerald. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  2. ^ King County Election Results
  3. ^ "King County Election Results".
  4. ^ Beekman, Daniel (January 4, 2016). "New Seattle City Council sworn in Monday". The Seattle Times.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ DeMay, Daniel (September 18, 2017). "Seattle council picks Burgess as new interim mayor". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Heffter, Emily (July 23, 2013). "Mayoral contender Harrell inspired by his modest roots". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  9. ^ Meyers, Georg N. (April 17, 1977). "Bruce found training ground for politics". The Seattle Times. p. H1.
  10. ^ Rockne, Dick (August 26, 1976). "Harvard lost Harrell to Huskies". The Seattle Times. p. D1.
  11. ^ University of Washington Department of Political Science Website
  12. ^ "Bruce Harrell inducted to Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame".
  13. ^ a b "Biography". City of Seattle.
  14. ^ Seattle City Council Website
  15. ^ "$100 million Rate Stabilization Account (RSA)". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "The Great Student Initiative". Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ "Councilmember Bruce Harrell proposes legislation to protect privacy concerns when drones are used". City of Seattle. Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Seattle City Council Passes Job Assistance Bill". City of Seattle. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Councilmembers Inaugurated in First District-Based Representation System Since 1910, Harrell Elected Council President". Council News Release. January 4, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  22. ^ In 5-4 Vote, City Council Kills Street Vacation for New Sodo Arena | The Stranger
  23. ^ Seattle Arena: Council rejects vacating Occidental Avenue 5-4 |
  24. ^ Harrell sworn in as 54th mayor of Seattle
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "King County Official Final, Primary Election". King County Elections. September 9, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  28. ^ "King County Official Final, General Election". King County Elections. November 27, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  29. ^ "Elections Results - General and Special Election" (PDF). King County Elections. November 28, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  30. ^ "Elections Results - Primary and Special Election" (PDF). King County Elections. August 20, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  31. ^ "Elections Results - Primary and Special Election" (PDF). King County Elections. August 17, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  32. ^ "Elections Results - General and Special Election" (PDF). King County Elections. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2019.

External links[edit]

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