Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on Monday, February 15, 2016, for President's Day.  
background image
King County logo
Skip to main content
Official portrait of King County Councilmember Larry Gossett

Connect with Councilmember Larry Gossett

Send me an email:

Visit me on Facebook

My Brother’s Keeper Symposium: A CALL TO ACTION

Brother's Keeper

9am- 3pm
Panel discussion at 1:30pm-3pm with Councilmember Gossett

Seattle Public Schools Auditorium
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence
2445 3rd Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134

Symposium Theme:
Plotting the Educational Path for African American Males
(including children of color and all children)

Featured Speakers:
Dr. Ivory Toldson, The White House
Erik Cork, Literacy/Reading Writing

Symposium will address Literacy/Reading Writing, Careers, Youth Violence Prevention/Criminal Justice Systems, Business and Economics Empowerment, Parent and Family Engagement, Rethinking Discipline, Equity and Race and more.
Sponsored by Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators in Partnership with Seattle Public Schools, Equity and Race Department, and School and Family Partnership Department.

This Symposium is Free for All, Lunch Served at 1pm. Free Child Care Available.
Register at: Translation Services for Somali and Spanish
Contact: 206-772-4916 or 206-725-7138
Ina Howell, Iva Tolliver

Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Aims to Provide Equal Opportunities for All Children, Youth & Families

Brother's KeeperThank you to those who voted to pass Best Starts for Kids (BSK), a six-year levy King County voters passed on November 3, 2015. BSK is expected to raise approximately $65 million per year, and to invest those funds in prevention and early intervention to assure opportunities for all King County residents.

Half of the revenue raised through BSK will be directed toward children under five years of age, pregnant women, and new parents. Research indicates the earlier we invest in the lives of infants, children and their families, the better the outcomes. There will also be funds targeting programs for children and youth ages five through twenty-four. Since human brain development continues throughout this time, it is critical to implement measures around mental health and substance abuse during this span.

There will also be funding for Communities of Opportunity (COO), a placed-based initiative to improve economic opportunities, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, and healthy food, among other environmental factors. COO is a rather unique partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation. Research indicates strongly that, yes, place matters, just as race matters in the equitable outcomes of residents. For more information on BSK please go to:

King County Takes on Racial Disproportionality in our Juvenile Justice System

In 2001, King County implemented the Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan, or JJOMP. Its intent was to decrease the number of juveniles being detained in King County’s Youth Detention Center. While we were successful in drastically reducing the Average Daily Population (ADP) from approximately 200 in 2000, to our current ADP of approximately 60 youth, racial disproportionality increased in catastrophic ways.

For example, fifteen years ago, about 36 percent of youth in our detention facility were African American. Today, African American youth account for over 60 percent of the ADP. These numbers are beyond unacceptable, and call for a new paradigm shift in our system. As a result, in the fall of 2015 we convened the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee (JJESC), a group of activists, organizers, and community members unlike any King County government has organized in the past. Many of the members of the JJESC represents our incarcerated juvenile population in terms of race, ethnicity, life experience, and cultural expertise.

While dismantling racial disparity is our top priority, it is just one part of a paradigm shift we are undertaking in our Juvenile Justice system. We need to stop criminalizing our youth, since studies show the longer and deeper a young person sinks into our system, the worse the outcome. This is not only counter to what our systems are SUPPOSED to do, it is counter to our stated principles of Equity and Social Justice. For more background information on this effort please visit:

Community input on our workgroups will be critical to our success! Please check for the time and place of the JJESC monthly meetings.

What’s Happening in District 2

Winter is upon us in King County! There are a number of events throughout the district you may enjoy.

University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, year round
9 am - 2 pm
University Way NE (the "Ave"), between 50th & 52nd streets, Seattle, WA 98105

The award winning University District Farmers Market is a part of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance founded in 1993. The University District Farmers Market is open year round and committed to supporting and strengthening Washington's small family farm businesses by creating and operating vibrant, successful neighborhood farmers markets. For more information, visit or contact the NFMA at (206) 632-5234.

One-On-One Computer Help
Monday, February 8, 2016
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Skyway Library, 12690 Renton Ave S. Seattle, WA 98178

Tech Tutor is available at the Skyway Library to answer questions about basic internet searches, how to set up an email account or use Microsoft Office. Help is available at the Skyway Library every Monday from 5-7pm. Free, call 206-772-5541.

West Hill Community Association Monthly Board Meeting
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
7pm –9 pm
King County Fire District 20 Training Center, 12424 76th Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98178

West Hill Community Association Monthly Board Meetings are open to the public, and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. Click here for more information:

UHeights' Second Saturday Spectacular Presents:
Book-It Theater's A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
Saturday, February 13, 3pm
University Heights Center, Room 209, 5031 University Way NE, Seattle, WA

The incredible true story of a African American painter's life and art. Horace Pippin was an African American painter born in Pennsylvania in 1888. As a child, he loved to draw pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during World War I, he filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches…until he was shot. Witness Pippin’s incredible true story of triumph when not even an injured arm could keep him from his art. Free to the public! Family-friendly entertainment for kids and adults. For more information

Educator & Family Day
Monday, February 15, 2016
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St. Seattle, WA 98144

The museum will celebrate President’s Day with activities including presidential trivia, arts, crafts and storytelling. Museum exhibits will be open including the Harmon & Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art, where visitors can explore local and national stories on their own or take part in docent- led tour. Admission by donation.

Youth Employment, Education & Career Fair
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Seattle Goodwill, 700 S Dearborn St, Seattle, Washington 98144
This event is a great opportunity for youths and young adults aged 16 - 24 to come meet with employers, learn about educational opportunities and connect with colleges, and learn about steps they can take to start their careers.

Seattle Goodwill will partner with YMCA of Greater Seattle, King County, WA, and WorkSource. In addition their partners, numerous employers and colleges will be represented at the event. Learn about Seattle Goodwill's Youth Programs:

King County joins community leaders, parents, and youth on work to end racial disparity in juvenile justice system

“It is imperative that [we create] a new paradigm that moves us away from further criminalizing our children – especially youth of color – and moves King County towards creating equitable opportunities for all,” said King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. “Our history consists of watershed moments where it’s been more important for us to change; this is one of those moments.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine joined with Superior Court Presiding Judge Susan Craighead and members of the King County Council to announce members of a countywide steering committee charged with recommending solutions to a growing racial disparity in the regional juvenile justice system. It is the largest and most diverse group King County has ever assembled to act on juvenile justice issues.

“Racial disparity has no place in our justice system, especially not in a system responsible for the well-being of our youth,” said Executive Constantine. “Making the system impervious to the mostly unacknowledged, but nevertheless real biases that each of us carries with us is a tall order, and will require the partnership of everyone in our community."

“There is an urgent need to redefine how the juvenile justice system works,” said Judge Craighead. “Lasting and effective reform depends on collaborative, community-informed actions to end racial disproportionalities in school discipline, arrest, and detention rates.”

Among the members of the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee are parents, youth, mental-health and grassroots leaders. They are teaming up with the heads of school districts, law enforcement agencies and courts from across the County, including Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O'Toole, Highline School District Superintendent Susan Enfield, and Juvenile Court Judge Wesley Saint Clair. The panel includes youth who have experienced juvenile detention themselves, youth mentors, a foster parent and community-based advocates fighting to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by increasing effective alternatives to school suspensions and youth detention. Read more

ORCA LIFT Reduced fare

Image: Orca Lift program

I was a proud prime sponsor of the legislation creating the low-income fare, the new ORCA LIFT reduced fare program to make public transportation more affordable for those who need it most. The creation of the low-income fare has been 3 years in the making. I am excited King County is committed to bus service for all. Thank you to the members of the Low Income Fare Advisory Committee for the hard work they put into recommending the creation of a low income fare. The ORCA LIFT fare can be used on Metro Transit buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, the Seattle Streetcar, King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit buses. You can apply for the ORCA LIFT program at Public Health - Seattle & King County and selected social service agencies including these locations in District 2: Seattle Vocational Institute, Rainier Community Service Office, King County Juvenile Detention, and the Rainier Beach Community Center. See a list of enrollment locations here.

The reduced fare on an ORCA card is valid for 24 months and the reduced fare for King County Metro buses is $1.50 per trip any time of day, for one- or two-zone travel; Sound Transit Link light rail is $1.50; Seattle Streetcar is $1.50. Click here for additional information

Read the OpEd I co-authored with Councilmembers Phillips and McDermott:
A transit option for those who depend on public transportation

Contact Councilmember Gossett

Main phone: