In an address that was both pragmatic and optimistic about the role of government, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today vowed to address issues such as income inequality and global warming in the city, as well as its crumbling residential streets and rapid growth.
“Local government has always served as the laboratory of democracy in America,” Murray told a standing-room only crowd at City Hall. “We have the opportunity to again lead on disparity in pay and housing, on urban policing, on the environment and universal pre-[kindergarten].”
In his first State of the City speech, Murray tried to tap into the energy and excitement over the Seahawks Superbowl win, praising the team as “very Seattle” in its intelligence, focus on fundamentals and innovative leadership.
But his delivery undercut the message of enthusiasm and accomplishment. Murray read from a script and often stumbled over words.
“It wasn’t what I would call an inspirational speech,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “He was really giving a report on the challenges the city faces and how he intends to meet them.”
Murray promised to convene a group of stakeholders to recommend a plan for affordable housing. He renewed his pledge to work for a $15 minimum wage and he announced a Neighborhood Summit on April 5 for residents to talk about growth, neighborhood character and the future.
“I understand that this will unfold differently in each of Seattle’s unique neighborhoods–and it’s a conversation I am very excited to begin with all of Seattle’s neighborhoods,” Murray said.