On Dec. 29, Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell announced the latest round of hires joining his administration’s cabinet as he prepares to enter office next week.
Drawing on the input and stated priorities of community leaders, Harrell has hired Kendee Yamaguchi to serve as deputy mayor of external affairs. Yamaguchi, a former City employee who currently serves as executive director for Snohomish County, will be tasked with fostering strong and collaborative relationships between the City of Seattle and community groups, non-profit organizations, and local businesses.
“Over the past several months, I have heard—in transition meetings and on the street, with city leaders and with everyday neighbors—calls for a representative and responsive City government. My executive team and cabinet are being built with that priority front of mind,” said Harrell.
Yamaguchi will help support the City’s COVID response, direct the mayor-elect’s external relations team, and coordinate mayoral priorities around cultural initiatives and events, including in the arts, film, music, sports, job creation and nightlife sectors.
Also joining the Harrell Administration will be Matt Chan, who will serve as special advisor for public engagement, advising the mayor on the City’s strategic use of digital technology to enhance public engagement, strengthen transparency, and address the digital divide. Chan brings over 45 years of award-winning success in the television industry and has served on the KCTS Board of Directors. His work landed him a spot as one of the few people of color on the Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Top 50 Reality Power Producers’ list.
“I am pleased when people like Matt Chan answer the call of public service to help Seattle reach a new level of meaningful public engagement where all voices are heard,” said Harrell. “This is a critical part of our vision.”
The current director of Seattle Office for Civil Rights, Mariko Lockhart, will rejoin the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning as a deputy director, where she and Director Dwane Chappelle will continue to drive major equity initiatives and deliver high-quality support to Seattle students.
Harrell said, “The combination of Ms. Lockhart’s previous leadership in education coupled with Mr. Wheeler-Smith’s leadership in equity work will produce outstanding results in our major equity initiatives with education and mentorship being primary components.”