Kate Harrison, Berkeley vice mayor and incumbent for city council’s District 4 seat, has once again launched a reelection campaign in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, running unopposed.
Having served on the Berkeley City Council since 2017, Harrison spent the last five years focusing on issues such as affordable housing, police transparency, environmentalism and labor rights. According to Harrison, she intends to continue being a “strong voice” for the communities impacted by these enduring concerns.
“My message is that it’s all about building community,” Harrison said. “It’s not about building false divisions.”
In terms of her platform on law enforcement and policing, Harrison said she desires a reimagination of what public safety can look like within the city.
According to Harrison, her platform pushes for utilizing mental health workers as alternatives to a constant police presence; she seeks to find ways to bolster the initiative with the adequate funds.
She added that there have also been ongoing efforts to erect mental health centers and resources at high school campuses within the city, emphasizing the importance of considering the mental state of young people.
“(The high schools) didn’t have those mental health resources,” Harrison said. “If we keep people out of crisis when they’re young, you’ll keep them out of crisis when they’re older.”
Another major aspect of Harrison’s platform is her emphasis on affordable housing and her efforts to support low-income communities and homeless individuals in the city.
Harrison made note of the ordinances and projects she introduced during her time on the council, one of these being a vacancy tax that will be on the November ballot. The measure would require the owners of empty units to pay a tax for properties that are left uninhabited.
Harrison added that during her time in office, the city has seen an increase in the percentage of units that can be deemed affordable housing.
With Harrison’s input and contributions, the city has also assisted in the creation of two different housing complexes for formerly homeless people, she noted.
“It’s all about finding solutions to homelessness that are compassionate, but also recognizing that neighbors deserve clean streets,” Harrison said.
In terms of her endorsements, Harrison has received support from several community and political organizations such as the Alameda County Democratic Club, California Working Families Party, Cal Berkeley Democrats and the Sierra Club.
Harrison noted that she is unafraid of taking an “unpopular” stance if necessary. While she said she is willing to collaborate with other politicians to achieve common goals, Harrison added that she would stand her ground if proposals went against her values, a combination of “being fierce and compromising.”
“We can have civil liberties and public safety at the same time,” Harrison said. “We can help students and families. We can have economic growth and environmentalism. We can provide needed services to the community, and we can be fiscally responsible.”