By Alia Sinclair

Here’s what happened at Tuesday night’s (Aug. 8, 2023) SeaTac City Council meeting:

Public Comments

Several local residents spoke to the council about their support for the proposed pilot priority hire program that would provide opportunities for SeaTac residents (particularly those in underrepresented groups) to learn a trade and get into well-paying careers. The commenters spoke of their personal experiences in the trades, expressing how the opportunity to learn a trade skill and join a union changed their lives and provided for their families.

Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Senator Keiser and Representatives Orwall and Gregerson were present to report to the council on the highlights of the most recent legislative session.

Sen. Keiser began by expressing how there is an emphasis on working together in Olympia to get to a path forward everyone can feel good about as opposed to the “partisan food-fight” that is happening in Congress.

To that end, Keiser reported that public safety was a big issue, and they were able to get a deal passed on the Blake decision for drug possession and the consequences of drug use. Other issues of public safety include street racing, and police officers will now be able to impound the cars of street racers. A task force was also put together to combat rampant organized retail theft that is happening across the state. Lastly, Senator Keiser expressed her delight in the win of 32 million dollars allocated to sexual assault resources.

Rep. Tina Orwall discussed how behavioral health was a focus of this session, specifically having a number to call for people having a mental health crisis and resources to give them a place to go. Big investments were made in this area and two of the first crisis centers are being opened in South King County. These centers offer alternatives to emergency departments and jail and will offer the resources those struggling with metal health need to be stabilized. More mental health support in schools was also a priority, and a partnership has been made with Highline School District to get more clinical social workers in schools starting next year.

Rep. Gregerson discussed the budget and the priority to get creative with what they had in the absence of new federal dollars. Rep. Gregerson expressed how the priority was responding to what they had been hearing was the greatest need and staying focused on keeping current programs going. Some of the priorities included wages for healthcare workers, expanded coverage for childcare for healthcare workers, housing for homeless coming out of hospitals, healthcare coverage for immigrants, and free school lunches.

Community Workforce Pilot Program Passes

A Motion supporting a pilot priority hire program by applying a Community Workforce Agreement to the 34th Avenue South Phase 2 project and accepting grant funding from King County to support the pilot program passed unanimously.

The program is meant to expand the workforce opportunities for apprentices, underrepresented ethnic groups, women, youth, and disabled apprentices. The hope is that the pilot program will be a success and more Community Workforce Agreements can be made on future projects in the SeaTac community.

Alia Sinclair is a writer residing in SeaTac. She is passionate about the arts and connecting people through the written word, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of Patchwork Mosaic magazine for creatives.