As progressive Kirklanders, we have been extremely impressed by Amy Falcone’s work on the Kirkland City Council during her first term, and we wholeheartedly support her re-election bid. She is a regional leader in affordable housing and human services, and uses her seat on the council to push Kirkland to be a more welcoming and inclusive place for all families, community members, and Kirkland businesses.
Amy first got involved in Kirkland politics because she wanted safer sidewalks for kids walking to school — and she got them. She continues to focus on these sorts of practical, everyday improvements to our city — a free snow shovel program so we can all keep sidewalks clear, better fencing in city playgrounds to keep kids who are prone to elopement safe. Many of these changes focus on walkability and improving community safety and access, especially for children, elders and disabled Kirklanders.
Other improvements she’s made are much broader, requiring immense amounts of regional collaboration and advocacy. We are huge proponents of the new Regional Crisis Response (RCR) program, which provides mental health professionals as part of the first responder team when 911 responds to behavioral health concerns in five local cities. This program is a crucial equity and community safety policy, since previously those calls were usually handled by the police, and those of us with mental illness are at significantly increased risk of violent police response — as we saw locally with the tragic shooting of Andrea Churna by Redmond police.
Amy has been quietly working toward a community responder program since before she was elected to the council — back when she was a founding member and co-chair of the Kirkland Human Services Commission. Less than one term into her tenure on the council, the program is already up and running.
As the rising cost of living pushes lower-income Kirklanders out, Amy has worked hard to keep our lower-income neighbors in their homes, as well as to ensure affordable housing. She was a leader in creating tenant protections in Kirkland, including requiring landlords to provide substantive notice ahead of rent increases and caps on move-in fees like security and pet deposits.
While on the Human Services Commission, Amy championed a pilot program that provides free legal aid to Kirkland residents at risk of eviction — part of her proactive approach to homelessness. This is now a very well-utilized permanent program. As our city leadership has grappled with how to collaborate with the county on a new Health through Housing project at the former La Quinta, Amy has been a stalwart voice for the dignity and humanity of our neighbors who will move into the new permanent supportive housing community.
A great example of how Amy works is the way she championed a change at the county level that sets the formula for how much affordable housing each King County city needs. As caucus chair of the Sound Cities Association within the King County Affordable Housing Committee, she worked strategically and tirelessly to convince other local leaders that each city’s affordable housing need should take into consideration the income level of people who work in that city as well as those who already live there. This increases the affordable set-aside for high-income cities, with the explicit aim of enabling more people to live near where they work. By the time she was done championing this important equity principle, the plan received a unanimous vote from her caucus, including from the cities who will now need to provide substantially more affordable housing. She is a strategic and diplomatic leader who strives to bring others together in support of her vision.
This commitment to providing more affordable housing, especially for our lowest-income community members, is paired with a serious commitment to a greener Kirkland. She has led efforts to preserve Kirkland greenspace and led tree code updates that protect landmark trees and groves. The heat pump incentive program that she has championed — which focuses on low-income, multi-family housing — is an example of how she brings together her focus on sustainability with her focus on equity.
Just as she does with families and neighbors, Amy prioritizes equity and inclusion in her work with local artists and small businesses. She has helped make downtown Kirkland more community-minded and people-centered. Amy has been a strong voice for bringing diverse local art and culture to public spaces. For instance, she helped bring the Africans on the Eastside fashion show to Kirkland, she has supported local murals and the Pride crosswalk, and she has been a strong supporter of the annual Juneteenth event, organized by Eastside advocacy groups. Amy supported the recent Summer Certification Series, which aimed to help women- and minority-owned businesses navigate opportunities to work with the City.
Because she believes local government can have a tremendous impact on people’s daily lives, Amy also treats local government as a space where everyone belongs. Collaborating with Kirkland residents most impacted by a policy is her first step in developing and implementing a new program. She has also led efforts to remove barriers to participation in City boards and commissions. Amy has advocated for pay for these positions — in order to make it possible for low-income Kirklanders to participate — as well as childcare for those serving in government positions. All of these small changes in how the city does business make it easier for regular Kirklanders to participate in city governance.
Amy has been a huge asset to our city council, pushing it to enact bolder and more people-friendly policies. We hope she continues to serve Kirkland for years to come.
Indivisible Kirkland is an organization working toward a more inclusive, progressive and antiracist Kirkland. Kirsten Hansen (pictured left), Sarah Franklin (middle) and MJ Carlson (right) are local activists who form the steering committee of Indivisible Kirkland.