Berkeley vice mayor and incumbent Kate Harrison has won the race for Berkeley City Council District 4 with 917 votes as of 7:40 a.m. Wednesday with 100% of the precincts accounted for.
Running unopposed during the most recent electoral race and having served on City Council since 2017, Harrison centered her platform around affordable housing, police transparency, environmentalism and labor rights. According to Harrison, her aims are to continue serving constituents and uplifting their voices.
“It was a really good election. I had the chance to talk to a lot of voters and hear their concerns. I also pushed to get the vacancy tax on the ballot and that’s passing,” Harrison said. “People are struggling to come together as a community, but we are starting on a path of people reemerging.”
District 4, which currently encompasses much of Downtown Berkeley along Shattuck Avenue as well as other portions of the city, includes several student-populated neighborhoods. As part of her campaign, Harrison emphasized improving public safety within the city while also pushing forth legislation that will secure affordable housing for the community.
Harrison received endorsements from organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Alameda County Democratic Club, the California Nurses Association, the California Working Families Party, the Alameda County Green Party, the Berkeley Democratic Caucus, the Alameda Labor Council and the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club. She was also endorsed by local politicians such as Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Berkeley City Councilmembers Sophie Hahn, Rigel Robinson and Ben Bartlett.
“I had strong support from the beginning of the race,” Harrison said. “We ran a really strong campaign. I’m an honest person and we’ve released a lot of cutting-edge legislation. People really appreciate that.”
According to Harrison, her previous term in office gave her the opportunity to pursue policies that continue to better the city of Berkeley. In addition to striving for greater affordable housing and improving existing building stock, Harrison’s office was responsible for the passing of the first natural gas ban, legislation that was eventually replicated throughout the country. She also worked on equitable infrastructure through the paving of roads on the basis of necessity, a change from the former system.
Now that Harrison has reaffirmed her position in City Council, she said her priority is to continue the work she was able to start during her prior time in City Council while also being mindful of budgetary restrictions and funding allocations. Harrison is currently working on legislation — Fair Work Week — that will provide protections for low-income workers who require greater shift security.
“I’m optimistic about the next four years. I’ve learned that many Berkeleyans want the same thing,” Harrison said. “There’s a generosity in the community.”