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Banner with text King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, District 2

Friends and Neighbors:

The first months of 2021 have already been filled with new challenges and opportunities to begin recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we cross the one-year mark, we’re coming together with renewed energy to build the thriving and just communities we all deserve.

To that end, please join me and my fellow Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and Joe McDermott for a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday March 3rd. We’ll be covering our County’s vaccination efforts and continued COVID-19 response along with some of the big ideas before the Council in 2021 and your voice is essential. We will be joined by King County Public Health Director Patty Hayes.

You can find full details for participation at We look forward to hearing from you then!

In the meantime, read on to find updated details on our public health response along with a few of our other efforts.

County Vaccination Update

Earlier this month, King County launched community clinics to coordinate rapid delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. As you may have heard, there is far greater demand for the vaccine than the supply coming in to our state. Although we expect this to change in the coming months, it is important for you to expect wait times for now and for you to determine your eligibility before making an appointment. You can find out more about your eligibility by heading over to the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Phase Finder.

When you are eligible to receive a vaccine, visit the Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator to find your nearest vaccination site. You can find Seattle clinic appointment information by clicking here and additional info for appointments at sites around King County by clicking here.

Vaccination is available regardless of insurance, citizenship, or immigration status. Language interpretation is available by calling 1-800-525-0127 or 1-888-856-5816 and pressing the # sign.

We still have a hill to climb, but I believe the darkest days are behind us if we stay committed to our public health guidelines. So stay hopeful and wear a mask!

You can always find the most up to date COVID-19 information on the Public Health Data Dashboard

Best Starts for Kids

Passed by King County voters in 2015, Best Starts for Kids has served more than 500,000 children, youth, young adults, and families, providing comprehensive support from prenatal development all the way to young adulthood. Programs include home-based services for new parents, programs that promote healthy development for youth, and the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative.

Last month, Executive Constantine announced the six-year Best Starts for Kids levy renewal to continue programs that focus on health and well-being for children, youth, and families throughout the region, along with new investments to improve access to childcare for families with low incomes. The measure would appear on the August ballot. So stay tuned as the campaign rolls out and click here to take a more comprehensive look at the proposal.

Masks on Metro and Returning Service

In order to ensure our public transit options continue to be safe options for our community, King County Metro will be installing mask dispensers on the entire bus fleet by the end of March. Riders are still encouraged to use their own masks whenever possible, but double-layer surgical masks will be made widely available through metro to ensure rider safety through the remainder of the pandemic.

Public transit is at the heart of a successful recovery from the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. As our region recovers and daily, local travel demand increases, Metro plans to systematically restore suspended transit service within available resources. Looking forward, Metro is seeking input from our community to guide returning bus service as we recover from COVID-19.

To that end King County Metro is seeking community feedback through a short survey on Metro’s route to recovery. Responses are due by 11:59 p.m. March 8, 2021. The input from this survey will help transit planners identify and recommend priority service changes in September 2021 and beyond. So be sure to make your voice heard! You can always read more in the Metro Matters blogpost here.

King County Sheriff’s Office Reform

Last November, King County voters (aka you!) voted to approve Charter Amendments 5 and 6, which would make the Sheriff an appointed position and give the King County Council the authority to develop a more effective system of public safety.

Thanks to that public approval, the Council can now get to work implementing a new vision for public safety in response to the historic movements demanding justice and action around the country last year.

As the chair of the Law & Justice Committee, I am committed to hearing our entire community on these matters! Here is just a preview of the relevant legislation that may come before the Council in 2021:

• An ordinance detailing the Council’s broad community engagement process for amending the structure and duties of the Sheriff’s Office
• An ordinance laying out the public engagement process for recruiting and hiring a new Sheriff, as now required by the County Charter
• An ordinance implementing any necessary changes related to the Sheriff’s Office structure and duties
• A motion appointing the new Sheriff

This will be a busy year for our Law and Justice committee, so I encourage you to mark your calendars for the committee dates, watch the hearings, and give public comment. Law and Justice Committee takes place on 9:30 AM on the first Tuesday of each month. The next one will take place on Tuesday, March 2. See you then!

Help us grow our reach!

My team and I send email updates like the one you’re currently reading every couple of weeks and we want to ensure we’re reaching as many of you in our community as possible. So if you know anyone who would like to receive these updates, please be sure to send them to over to our County Council website to sign up!

And as always, for more frequent and daily updates, you can check out our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages. For the latest news, resources, and opportunities to engage with your King County government, follow me on the social media channels of your choice:

Instagram: @councilmember.girmay
Twitter: @GirmayZahilay


Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Phone: 206-477-1002