Kate Harrison, the incumbent for Berkeley City Council’s District 4 seat, is embarking on her re-election campaign.
Since she was sworn in in March 2017, Harrison has worked on multiple issues, including affordable housing, homelessness, police reform and environmental work, she said. She added that she is running for re-election to continue to work on these issues.
“I am looking forward to continuing to represent District 4 and advocate for affordability, inclusion, environmental protections and open government,” Harrison said.
According to Harrison, she ran for the seat because Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, who previously held the District 4 seat, asked her to run when he was elected mayor.
“I strongly support and endorse Kate Harrison for the District 4 council seat,” Arreguín said. “In one year on the council, Kate has provided effective and visionary leadership to address our housing crisis, homelessness and support our small businesses.”
Harrison mentioned that she has 30 years of experience dealing with the issues in her platform. As a public sector consultant for her own firm, Kate Harrison Consulting, she advises agencies on various issues such as foster care and domestic violence.
According to her campaign’s website, Harrison served as an assistant under former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos during his term and worked at the California Administrative Office of the Courts, where she balanced the budget and confirmed services to marginalized groups in California.
As a result of this, Harrison said she believes only someone with her experience would know things beyond just politics such as budgeting, interpreting legal legislation documents, getting funding for new laws and proper utilization of resources at her disposal in order to get things done.
“I know it’s challenging to have to run twice in the same term, but Kate has been a real joy to have on the council,” said Councilmember Ben Bartlett. “She brings a level of government and politics experience that is unrivaled. I personally have learned a lot from her.”
Harrison said she has been expanding tenant ownership and protecting renters. She added that she imposed fees on developers for not upgrading units and wanted to ensure that low-income residents, rather than wealthier residents, get access to affordable housing.
Rent Stabilization Board member James Chang said he supports what Harrison has been doing, specifically concerning issues that affect the homeless population and police reform. Chang added that he has seen the most impact in regard to expanding housing in Harrison’s district.
Harrison’s initial election campaign primarily focused on alleviating Berkeley’s affordable housing problem. She advocated for more transit-centered housing and for shortening the permit process for developments with at least 50 percent affordable units.
When asked about Harrison’s original platform, Chang remarked that he would like to see her streamline permitting processes for developments with at least 20 percent affordable units — Berkeley’s current standard — rather than the 50 percent she previously stated.
Chang added that Harrison was fearless when it came to engaging in difficult dialogues with community members and the police in order to provide police accountability and cultivate a more favorable work environment for police officers in Berkeley.
“Kate plays an important role in being the bridge that helps us bring together different community interests,” Chang said.
Contact Yao Huang and Mani Sandhu at [email protected].