The Overcast: Bruce Harrell Talks About His Brief Stint As Seattle Mayor

Sep 22, 2017

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell was also the city's 54th mayor. At least, he was for a few days.

Harrell took over as mayor directly after Ed Murray resigned amid continued allegations of sexual abuse, which he denies. But about 48 hours after he was sworn in, he declined to remain mayor through the end of the November election.

City Councilmember Tim Burgess is now the mayor. And Harrell will be overseeing the process of appointing a temporary City Council member to fill Burgess' seat.

Harrell sat down with The Seattle Times political reporters Jim Brunner and Dan Beekman to talk about his brief stint as mayor of the state's largest city. 

Interview Highlights

On how it felt to suddenly become mayor...

Harrell "...realized that the city, more important than my personal emotions, that the city was facing something that I don't recall happening in my life. And so there wasn't a lot of emotion, more logic and I think the need to implement the plan."

On why Harrell never called for Murray's resignation...

"So in this controversy, if you will,  those competing values, it's hard to have a sane, rational conversation without taking a side. And that's why I was very specific during my oath of office. I said this is not a time to take sides. This is a time for all of us to heal."

On why he issued four executive orders despite declining to remain mayor...

"I was ready to assume the helm of leadership. I have held major leadership positions in the past. And so when given the opportunity, whether it was one day or five days, I was going to take full advantage of it. And there had been some events as of recent such as the Amazon announcement, such as the developments of the youth jail and what we're doing, such as what I see every day on the streets in terms of litter. There's some things that needed to be done."

The conversation above is an excerpt of "The Overcast," the Seattle Times weekly politics podcast recorded at KNKX. To hear more about why Harrell never called for Murray's resignation, the City Council's deliberation over impeachment, and what comes next in selecting a temporary Council member, check out the whole episode. You can find "The Overcast" on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.