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King County Councilmember Larry Gossett

Councilmember serving the communities of District 2
Larry Gossett
Council District 2  
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-477-1002
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

Serving the communities of the Central Area, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, the Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Skyway, UW, Fremont, Ravenna, and Laurelhurst.

Budget AdoptedImage: Council budget adoption

On November 17, the Council passed its first biennial (two-year) budget for all county agencies, including those contained within the County General Fund. I am encouraged that even during challenging budget times the Council passed a balanced budget that continues to be committed to equity and social justice. This budget works with our partners to save our public health clinics, ensures  transit service remains stable for the next two years, and continues supporting programs for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The 2015-2016 budget of $9 billion also reinstates the Sheriff’s Domestic Violence Unit and creates an Executive Equity and Social Justice Office.  

The King County Budget is the single most important document through which the Council sets policy for county government and oversees the prioritization and delivery of critically important services . The biennial budget process is the culmination of months of review and negotiations. The biennial budget process is the culmination of months of review and negotiations. To review the budget click here.

A New Way to Get Health Insurance

Open enrollment of Affordable Care Act is open again.  Now is the time to buy into the insurance exchange,  and depending on your income, some may be eligible for free health insurance. If you earn too much for free Medicaid insurance, you can  enroll for low-cost private insurance through February 15, 2015.

All health plans offered through Washington Health Planfinder include basic benefits like doctor visits, emergency care, prescriptions, maternity care, and preventive care like cancer screenings and vaccinations. Free or low cost coverage is available. No one will be denied coverage because they are sick or because they have a pre-existing condition.

Learn more and find enrollment at Visit to enroll online.

What’s Happening in District 2

This time of year is full of celebrations. The fall weather reveals beautiful landscapes and local events that make King County a fantastic place to live. Here are a few events throughout the district you may enjoy.

Word AIDS Day Event: Screening of 25 to Life
Monday, December 1, 2014
6pm-7 pm Informational Tables, HIV & Hepatitis Testing
7 pm-8:30 pm 25 to Life World Premiere in Seattle
8:30- 9:00 pm Panel Discussion  

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Avenue South 
Seattle, Washington 98144  

25 to Life, is the story of a man seeking redemption after keeping his HIV/AIDS status a secret for 25 years The film tackles the tough social issues of sex, race, and manhood, providing unprecedented access into a life and a family living with the HIV virus. This is the debut feature-length documentary by award-winning director and Spike Lee protégé. Mike L. Brown.  Watch the movie trailer.    Make your reservations at    

Rainier Valley Historical Society Holiday Open House
Saturday, December 6, 2014
3710 S Ferdinand St
Seattle, WA 98118

This is the annual open house. Warm beverages and tasty treats will be served, and items from their collections will be on display for you to look at. Click here for more information.  

Open Space Forum, Community Conversation
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Alder Hall Commons, on the University of Washington campus
1310 NE 40th St.
Seattle , WA  

Join  the discussion on future Open Spaces in the University District and establish the foundations for a community-based Open Space Plan. Please contact for more information.

Legislation to Stop Honoring Immigration Holds Without a Warrant

You may recall that in December of last year, the King County Council adopted a new policy relating to honoring civil immigration hold requests (detainers) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE uses detainers to continue to hold people in jail for alleged immigration related offenses, even after they would be released from the King County Jail. The policy adopted in December required the County to honor detainers for people convicted of certain crimes, including violent or serious crimes, sex offenses, or human trafficking crimes. The suspects could only be detained when the ICE agents provide documentation of a criminal history falling within the guidelines of the new policy. The federal government has not provided the County with this information when placing a detainer on someone in the county jail. As a result, King County has not honored any ICE detainers in 2014.

Since the adoption of our new ICE detainer policy, some federal courts have ruled that it is not mandatory for local jurisdictions to honor an ICE detainer or continue to hold someone in jail after they would have been released otherwise. Additionally, these courts have ruled that holding an individual on an ICE detainer without any other probable cause may result in the violation of that person's constitutional rights and the jurisdiction honoring that ICE detainer may be financially liable.

I sponsored new legislation that addresses the potential liability of the County. This new legislation (PO 2014-0297) clearly states that the County will not honor any ICE detainers without a valid federal warrant for anyone in the King County Jail. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this issue and hope the legislation moves quickly through the Council. If you have any questions or comments on my new legislation relating to honoring ICE detainers, please email me at

50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. This summer, marks the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of this historic legislation. The act was initially called for by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963, following a series of protests by African Americans, including the Birmingham Campaign in May of 1963. During his speech, President Kennedy requested legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public – hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments”, as well as “greater protection for the right to vote.”

While civil rights leaders felt essential provisions of the act were not included, such as protection against police brutality, discrimination in private employment, or granting the Justice Department authority to initiate desegregation or job discrimination lawsuits, it did enable the U.S. Attorney General to join in lawsuits against state governments for operating segregated school systems, and other provisions.
Passage of the Civil Rights Act stands as one of the major milestones in our nation’s history, raising the level of consciousness, equality, and humanity for all during the past 50 years. However, the work that began 50 years ago is unfinished. Let our commitment for justice and equality for all redouble as we move forward.

King County  commemorated the 1964 Civil Rights Act with a lunch time discussion on the historic passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the impact it has had on the country and the county workplace over the last 50 years. I was joined by County Executive Dow Constantine for this important conversation. The City of Seattle Office of Civil Rights will celebrate the 50th anniversary on:

July 9, 2014, from 5 to 8 pm; panel discussion at 7 pm
Northwest African American Museum
2300 S. Massachusetts Street
Seattle, WA 98144
View the flyer

Garfield High School State Champions Garfield High School Basketball State Champions

The Garfield High School Basketball team was honored by the King County Council  on June 9 for the impressive season and accomplishment  as the  2013 – 2014 4A State Basketball Champions. The Garfield High School Bulldogs Basketball  team was led  by head coach Ed Haskins with assistant coaches Brent Merritt,  Jamaal Williams, Mike Nowell, Reggie Paul, Walter Washington. The team had three impressive accomplishments winning the League and Conference 4A KingCo Championship  and the Las Vegas Prep Championship (nationally recognized tournament), and is the only team in Garfield Basketball  history to win 4 consecutive League Championships! Congratulations to the Garfield Bulldogs.

First Hill Streetcar Construction

Construction of the city of Seattle’s  First Hill Streetcar is complete. Delivery of the streetcars is behind schedule, but several vehicles are now nearing completion, with initial deliveries expected in December and the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in early 2015. Check the First Hill Streetcar  website for updates.

The First Hill Streetcar is funded by the city of Seattle and will operate mostly in District 2 with ten stations along S Jackson Street, 14th Avenue S, Yesler Way, and Broadway, between Occidental in Pioneer Square and Denny on Capitol Hill.  The system will be operated by King County Metro, Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.  On Sundays and holidays it will run from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The fare will be the same as that for Metro buses.  ORCA cards and transfers will be accepted.

Expansion of the County’s Mental Health Recovery Model

I have always been in support of services and adequate treatment for those living with mental illness and I am proud the King County Council gave its unanimous support for the expansion of the County’s successful Mental Health Recovery Model to include substance abuse services.

In the past, too many County residents battling mental illness received a jail cell instead of a treatment bed. King County has created a new paradigm in assisting the mentally ill. The establishment of a behavioral health component is a welcome addition to the program. The legislation adopted by the Council will continue the current successful recovery model for mental illness and expand the framework to include substance abuse treatment.


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Larry Gossett

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In the community

Read my Seattle Times OpEd: Economic recovery has left African Americans behind

Visit from Seattle University students
Seattle University students recently visited the Council to learn about the Council’s work process.
Seattle University students recently visited the Council to learn about the Council’s work process.

King County’s annual Martin Luther King Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to the three winners of the County’s annual MLK Essay Contest (l-r) Rae Hirshfeld-Smith, Lucy Mujugira and Mengmeng Gibbs!!

Rae and Mengmeng both go to Lake Washington Girls Middle School, their essays tied for first. Lucy is an 8th Grader at St. Therese Catholic Academy. Proud of these young women, and proud that their schools are part of Council District 2!!


Equity and Social Justice
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District 2 Map

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