Kate Harrison kicks off campaign for District 4 City Council seat

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Brooke Whitney/Staff

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On Wednesday, the morning before Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguin is to be sworn into office, he kicked off a campaign event for Kate Harrison, who is one of the three candidates running for his former District 4 City Council seat.

As about 20 of Harrison’s campaign staff and supporters stood in support of Harrison outside Old City Hall, Arreguin praised Harrison’s commitment to Berkeley and her experience in local government.

Arreguin said that during his campaign for mayor he had been thinking about community leaders who could potentially fill his seat. Harrison came to mind, and come September, he asked if she would run for the position.

Arreguin added that he also supports Harrison because they have a shared vision for Berkeley’s future.

“We want an equitable future for Berkeley,” Arreguin said. “We need people that are tested, that have experience and who will hit the ground running.”

While introducing her, Arreguin said that Harrison would bring “bold, progressive leadership” to City Council. He added that Harrison is “overqualified” for the council seat.

Harrison has a master’s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley and more than 20 years of experience in local and state government. In Berkeley government, Harrison has worked on the Parks Commission, the Waterfront Commission and the Housing Advisory Commission, as well as campaigning for Measure U1 this past election.

Gus Newport, who served as Berkeley’s mayor from 1979 to 1986, spoke at the press conference as well. Now an Oakland resident, Newport said that Harrison is a “pro at public policy.”

This sentiment is also shared by Harrison’s campaign treasurer Erin Diehm.

“I have gone to city meetings and heard Kate speak, and she really is about inclusion,” Diehm said. “She’s willing to fight.”

Candidate Brianna Rogers, who has been endorsed by District 7 City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, was also present at the event.

“My own personal desire and ego is not bigger than the bottom line that I have for the city of Berkeley,” Rogers said. “I am confident the seat will be in good hands.”

Rogers, who had announced two weeks ago that she would run for the council seat, said she is now considering whether to run.

“I’m here because … I want to see what Kate is all about,” Rogers said before the event. After hearing what Harrison had to say, she said “a deeper conversation needs to be had” about minority groups’ interests.

After losing the mayoral election, UC Berkeley graduate student Ben Gould is now running for the District 4 seat in an effort to represent the citizens of Berkeley.

Gould said the main area in which his views differ from Harrison’s is housing. Susan Wengraf, the council member for District 6 who has endorsed Gould, said she is only familiar with Harrison in the context of her opposition to a housing development.

Contact Aleah Jennings-Newhouse at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ajn_dc.

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  • Hobart Smedley

    Ben Gould and Susan Wengraf are both pro-developer stooges. A vote for Gould is a vote to pave over Berkeley in the name of greenwashing.

  • Margot Smith

    Kate will be a great addition to the City Council–really will work to bring about a green Berkeley, promote affordable housing, address homelessness and protect the Berkeley we all love.

  • Rob Wrenn

    Kate was very active in the campaign to pass Measure U1, which passed 3-1 despite landlords spending over $800,000 to defeat it. U1 will bring in $3.5 to $4 million annually for affordable housing. Kate also supports higher developer fees for affordable housing which Ben Gould opposes.

  • Fred Dodsworth

    Claiming Kate is against housing is a bald lie. Kate supports affordable housing all across Berkeley. She doesn’t support developer give-aways for luxury housing. I see that Laurie Capitelli and his National Association of Realtors have bought their mouth piece on the council and hope to buy another.

    • James Reagan

      Kate is a fine candidate and respected for her fine works and commitment.
      On the other spectrum there is Ben Gould who is running for Jesse’s vacant seat, and who was a young candidate who ran for the district and won,and now I’d our younger Mayor.
      He had to start somewhere and so is Ben. He also represents a large segment of the student to which we need a younger council member to represent affordable student housing and shelter for the homeless.
      I have faith in Ben Gould.