Kate Harrison, experienced government leader and progressive activist, announced her candidacy for District 4 City Council on the steps of Berkeley's Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.
Harrison brings more than 20 years of public service to the job, and will join a progressive majority on the Berkeley council to enact lasting change by building more affordable housing, offering compassionate solutions to homelessness, making Berkeley a green model for the nation, and preserving local-serving businesses.
“When Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín asked me to run for his former seat, I said ‘Yes’ to the opportunity to put my experience in making government work better for the people into service for my own city of Berkeley,” said Harrison. “I will bring lessons from work with public agencies around California and across the world to ensure that our progressive council creates a more equitable and sustainable future for Berkeley in ways that embody our city’s unique character and leadership.”
Harrison, who began life in politics as a student activist at UC Berkeley, co-founded the Berkeley Progressive Alliance and is a leader of the Wellstone Democratic Club – early supporters of the progressive slate which reasserted Berkeley as a progressive people-focused city again with a sweeping victory in the November election.
“I strongly support and endorse Kate Harrison for the District 4 Council seat. Kate is an experienced public policy professional who has worked for mayors, state and national governments, and will bring to Council a wealth of public management experience,” said Mayor-elect Arreguín, the outgoing Councilmember for District 4. “She will continue our district’s independent, progressive leadership on affordable housing, homelessness, climate change and balanced growth.”
Harrison uses her management and budget skills on a number of Berkeley Commissions – the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC), the Parks and Waterfront Commission, and the Streets and Open Space Improvement Committee – to enhance the city’s infrastructure and parks and to increase the city’s stock of affordable housing.
As a leader in passing Measure U-1, Harrison led volunteer efforts to secure $4 million a year in new revenues from the windfall profits of Berkeley largest landlords. These new revenues are to used to create and preserve affordable housing for the people of Berkeley.
Harrison comes from three generations of women political activists and three generations of UC Berkeley alumni – where, as an undergraduate, she was a student body senator, participated in student efforts to pass Berkeley’s initial rent control ordinance (Measure D), and coordinated a coalition to pass California’s first retaliatory eviction protections for tenants on behalf of California Rural Legal Assistance. Harrison earned her master’s degree in Public Policy from Berkeley’s Goldman School.
In her professional career, Harrison has managed state and municipal budgets and improved government efficiency while ensuring vital public services are maintained and employees treated fairly. Harrison’s work experience includes policy and executive positions in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office under Art Agnos, and at the California Administrative Office of the Courts, where she helped develop the budget and policies for California’s $1.7 billion-a-year court system. As a public sector consultant for the past 16 years, Harrison solved problems for agencies in 31 California counties, eight states and 14 nations. Her firm improves systematic access to justice and brings agencies together around solutions in domestic violence, child support, and child custody cases.
Harrison is endorsed by Mayor-Elect Arreguín, former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, Councilmembers-Elect Sophie Hahn and Ben Bartlett, a supermajority of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, District 4 leaders and residents.
Harrison will work with Berkeley’s young activists to build the next generation of leaders and to ensure an equitable future for all residents.
District 4 includes Berkeley’s downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. A special election is needed to fill in the vacant seat caused by Arreguín’s election to mayor. The Berkeley City Council will meet December 8 to set the date for the all-mail election to fill the District 4 seat