More gun violence on the Fourth of July, congratulations to Megan Rapinoe, COVID updates, this week’s Committee of the Whole meeting on gun violence prevention, salmon in distress, Art Walk in Belltown

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Banner image showing King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

July 8, 2022


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Amidst the celebrations, fireworks and consumption of hot dogs and apple pie, our nation’s Independence Day was again marred by another mass shooting – this time in Highland Park, Illinois. Unfortunately, a day meant to be spent with family and relaxing was not spared a truly unique American experience – gun violence. Compounding this tragedy is the fact that there were more than 220 people shot and killed over the 4th of July weekend. Sadly, there have been over 300 mass shootings thus far in 2022.

In response to the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, I had scheduled a two-part discussion on gun violence in the Committee of the Whole – scheduled for July. I worried at the time that the issue would not seem as timely in light of the time that had passed since all of those children and teachers were slaughtered in cold blood. Afterall, our news cycle is rapid and built for short attention spans. However, after the shooting in Highland Park, it was obvious that here in America gun violence is tragically endemic and it impacts us every single minute of every single day.

So, on Wednesday of this week, I chaired the first of the series on “Preventing gun violence: Mapping the issue in King County.” The discussion aimed to provide a bird’s-eye view of gun violence in King County, focusing on data, public health impacts, and relevant laws in Washington state and in King County specifically.

We heard from a phenomenal panel of experts and policy workers:

  • Mac Nicholson, Director of Government Relations, King County Council
  • Rebecca Johnson, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility
  • Dwight Dively, Director of King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget
  • Fred Rivara, Harborview Injury and Research Center
  • Judge Anne Levinson (Ret.)
  • Sandra Shanahan, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
  • Elyne Vaught, King County’s “Shots” Fired Program


The panelists presented a significant amount of information and statistics. There were also one-pagers and PowerPoint presentations. I encourage you to look through the meeting materials by clicking here. There are a lot of data and relevant information to unpack.

Ultimately, the result of the panel led to us getting a strong idea of what it is we are trying to tackle, the extent of the problem and the debunking of some common myths about what gun violence truly looks like.

I am hopeful that Wednesday’s discussion will help us do everything in our power to strengthen some of our current policies while focusing on ways to fight this endemic creatively and fearlessly.

The committee will hold a second meeting on July 20 at 9 a.m. to continue the conversation, with a focus on community-based voices and violence interruption work as well as on tangible strategies to achieve safer, healthier communities. We are now planning a third meeting to take place on August 17 to discuss what’s next, funding options and possible legislative solutions.

Relevant articles about the panel:

Gun Violence-related Articles (Our programs are mentioned in the national articles)



On a lighter note, congratulations to soccer superstar and King County resident Megan Rapinoe! On Thursday, President Joe Biden presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read more here.

As always, I would like to hear from you. You can call me at 206-477-1004 or you can reach me by email at  

All the best and I hope you are staying safe.