Budget Season Is Here, We Need You

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Banner with text King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, District 2

Friends and Neighbors:

September is upon us as we continue to navigate an unprecedented year. The King County Council now has before us the task of enacting our biennial budget. With the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 crisis, we are facing significant challenges to ensure that those most in need are not only heard but uplifted at a time when need is greatest.

That means we need you! In the coming months, the King County Executive and the Council will decide how our County runs and governs. Communities in our district have historically been overlooked and underfunded and we will be fighting every step of the way to make District 2 the priority.

Of course, the budgeting process can be opaque and confusing. I’m still learning the ins and outs myself! That’s why we’re hosting a series of Community Budget Workshops to educate ourselves on this critical process and to uplift the voices in our community working for systemic change.

So tomorrow, please join King County Budget Director Dwight Dively and I, for a presentation and live Q&A on the intersection between the county budget and our criminal legal systems. The streaming event starts at 6:00pm and we’ll be taking your questions live from our official Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

Face Masks Available

Coronavirus continues to be a deadly threat to our community so we must slow its spread by physically-distancing from one another and wearing masks. My goal as a King County Councilmember is to put as many masks in the hands of District 2 residents as possible. For the past few weeks, I have been teaming up with volunteers and community-based organizations to pass out 24,000 masks throughout the district. Because COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and Brown people, I have targeted key neighborhoods as mask distribution locations. We've seen great enthusiasm from our neighbors in Skyway, the University District, the CD, and the South End. People have been grateful for the reusable cloth masks and are committed to protecting themselves and one another by wearing them regularly. It's also just been great to get face time with my constituents and hear how they have been doing.

We will announce our third week schedule soon so please reach out via email or follow us on social media for more info. Girmay.zahilay@kingcounty.gov or Facebook.com/councilmember.girmay.

Youth Right to Counsel

Interactions with law enforcement are high stress and all too frequently have the potential for violence. For our young people, these situations are especially high risk and split-second decisions can have long lasting consequences. That’s why I sponsored legislation to guarantee our youth the right to an attorney if they have been Mirandized by an officer. Our youth must have every opportunity to be informed of their Constitutional rights before they make any decisions that could influence their interactions with the criminal legal system. Thanks to the hard work of our colleagues and community partners the ordinance, named to honor Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, passed the Council by a unanimous vote. There is so much work to be done to ensure justice is truly executed in our system and this step gets us that much closer.

You can learn more about the ordinance and why we needed it here.

Rental Assistance

Facing a looming eviction crisis in the face of COVID-19, King County recently allocated over $41 million specifically for rental assistance. Funds are available for tenants, small landlords, large property landlords and managers, manufactured home park owners and managers, and local nonprofits in an effort to take a broad approach to the scale of the need. You can find full details, including information in over a dozen languages, by clicking here. If you are in need, apply as soon as possible as funds will be distributed quickly.

Finally, I want to thank each of you for your continued efforts to stay home and stay safe. These are trying times and the best way to combat the virus is by doing our part to limit travel and to social distance with face coverings when travel is necessary. Take care.


Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Email: girmay.zahilay@kingcounty.gov
Phone: 206-477-1002
Website: http://www.kingcounty.gov/zahilay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/councilmember.girmay
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMGirmayZahilay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/councilmember.girmay/