King County Council, District 9

Kim-Khanh Van

Question

Black wealth remains near zero due to centuries of systemic anti-Black racism and is on a trajectory to only worsen. In Seattle, white wealth is nearly 20x more than Black wealth. What specific actions will you take to close the Black-white wealth gap?

  1. How much of the Black-white wealth gap will you close while in office? 

  2. Who are you working with in the Black community to close it? 

  3. How will you support investing federal funding directly and specifically into the Black community in the next two years?

Answer

Taking on the wealth gap and ensuring economic fairness, justice, and opportunity for our region’s Black residents must be a major priority for the County Council. I believe COVID presents us with a chance to build a stronger foundation for truly safe and healthy communities – where we build a new and more inclusive economy, address injustice head-on, protect and expand access to rights and care, and improve access to clean air and water for every resident. Inclusion and equity for vulnerable and historically marginalized communities must be at the center of our recovery efforts.

For too long, District 9 has received less than its fair share of investments, especially marginalized communities who’ve not received the targeted support they need and deserve. On the County Council, my agenda will be based on the principles of recovery, opportunity, and community – rebuilding from COVID-19 by creating a more equitable region. By expanding transit options, creating job and apprenticeship opportunities, and bringing down costs for things like housing and childcare, King County can do its part to help close the wealth gap.

We will need additional help from state and federal governments. When it comes to federal funding, I will work to invest disbursements from the American Rescue Plan, as well as hopefully funding from a federal infrastructure package, into programs and projects that benefit Black residents, informed by direct input from the Black community.

As a Renton Councilmember, I’m proud of the strong relationships I’ve built working directly with the Renton-King County Alliance for Justice and other Black-led groups such as Renton Residents For Change and Renton Anti-Racism Coalition. Together, we’ve worked to make Renton’s government anti-racist by purusing bold equity initiatves that are directed toward supporting BIPOC residents. I look forward to continuing to organize and act with these groups and with others throughout King County.

I’m grateful for the support and endorsement of leaders like Reverend Dr. Linda Smith and former County Councilmember Larry Gossett – leaders in the Black community who trust my commitment to building opportunity for Black communities and know firsthand that I will bring an intersectional lens to the County Council.

My opponent was the only member of the County Council to vote against declaring racism a public health crisis. With me on the Council, you will get a totally different approach on this issue. We need a representative who recognizes the significance of racism across our society and who is committed to acting boldly to addressing it and fighting for equity in our region. I believe I am better able to represent our diverse community and be a strong advocate on this issue. While my experience with racism is different from many Black neighbors, as a woman of color and an immigration attorney, I understand the urgency we face, bring a lived perspective, and am a skilled listener and advocate.

Next Candidate

Dr. Shukri Olow

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