For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 21
Seattle – Charlene Strong, a civil rights advocate best known for her fight to expand rights and protections for LGBT couples following the tragic 2006 death of her partner Kate Fleming, today announced her bid for Seattle City Council in Position 8. This seat is the at-large, open seat as a result of the retirement of Councilmember Tim Burgess.
In kicking off her campaign, Strong laid out her vision for representing all of Seattle. Specifically, Strong promised to fight to make Seattle more affordable, to advocate for small businesses, and to tackle the issue of homelessness, addiction and mental illness – an issue that has impacted her personally.
“I have a family member who struggled for many years through the cycles of addiction and homelessness. So, this is deeply personal for me,” Strong said. “I believe there is more we could be doing in this city to accelerate the good work that has been done while continuing to be compassionate and effective. I want to add my voice and my energy to that work.”
In addition to addressing issues around addiction and homelessness, Strong plans to be a champion for small businesses in our city. As a small business owner and with more than 20 years of experience in business management, Strong believes the city’s continued economic success depends on doing more to protect and boost small businesses.
“As with housing affordability, small businesses are being priced out of the commercial real estate market,” Strong added. “We could be doing more as a city to support small business in terms of streamlining permitting and increasing access to microfinancing and capital for low and moderate-income small businesses.”
In 2006, Strong turned sorrow into action following the tragic death of her partner, Kate Fleming, who was trapped in their flooding basement in Madison Valley during a devastating storm. Because she was denied hospital visitation for her partner and there were no laws protecting LGBT couples at the time, Strong testified in the Legislature the following session to push for rights and protections of LGBT couples. The legislation passed, a first step of many in the march toward marriage equality. For the next ten years, Strong flew across the country speaking at universities, advising governmental agencies and departments and pushing for laws that expanded civil rights and marriage equality.
Now, Strong is the Chair of the Washington State Human Rights Commission where she leads the Commission’s important work to protect the rights and expand equality to all Washingtonians, like her recent work on HB 2029, which would create a telephone hotline and website to assist people on immigration and citizenship issues.
Strong is married to Courteney Bealko, a longtime friend who helped Strong rebuild her life after the devastation in 2006. They both live in Magnolia with their two young children, Etta and Anders.
For more information, please visit Charlene Strong’s website at www.electcharlenestrong.org.
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