Washingtonians want to know what their government is up to. They want public money being spent in public. The people want their voices heard and they want access to their elected officials.

  • Gael is a relentless advocate for open government. She keeps connected to her constituents and the broader public with community meetings, one-on-one coffees, and social media.  It’s not unusual for her constituents and reporters to see Gael’s tweets or Facebook posts and then have the chance to talk to her in person the next day.
  • From work sessions in district to legislative and telephone town halls, Gael is working hard to ensure that governmental decisions and choices are being made in the view of the public. When constituents can see and participate in the legislative process, we build stronger public policy.
  • Working on complex public policy requires a system where all sides can have a say. No matter the party affiliation, Gael has collaborated with legislators, citizens and residents, businesses, and diverse stakeholders to create sound public policy. Gael is not afraid to work across the aisle to keep good policy the priority. As House Democratic Floor leader, Gael works with her Republican counterpart to get legislation ready for a vote and ensure that all voices are heard.
  • Gael worked with her fellow legislators to resolve confusing and contradictory regulations among four Washington State agencies and local agencies regarding liveaboards, houseboats and on-water dwellings. Her work resulted in new legislation clarifying state regulations and city planning and development rules.
  • During her first term, Gael co-sponsored legislation to require the City of Seattle to notify neighbors when building permits would allow multi-unit, multi-story buildings in previously single-family residential neighborhoods. It just makes sense that public agencies should keep neighborhoods informed about what’s happening on their street.
  • Gael actively participates in the Coalition for Open Government legislative caucus, and has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation directing broader use of web-based information from state agencies.
  • Gael continues to fight for more visibility into funding sources for ballot initiatives and is committed to protecting the public’s access to campaign contributions to candidates for public office.
  • Gael learned from her time as a Port Commissioner that public agencies must work with their neighbors. The Port of Seattle is the second largest public property landowner in King County, and affects the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of King Country residents. Below are a few of Gael’s reforms and common sense accomplishments during her tenure at the Port of Seattle:
  • Thanks to Gael’s leadership, the Port Commission created a Commission Audit Committee. She chaired it in 2010. It includes a volunteer committee member from the public. More than 100 internal audits were completed during her tenure, collecting more than $4 million in fees owed to the Port.
  • Within her first month in office, Gael wrote the “Transparency Code of Conduct” policy that is still in force today, moving the Port away from its history of closed-door meetings.
  • Under Gael’s leadership, the Port staff adopted new policies for small-works contracting and consulting projects, and implemented new community outreach with women- and minority-owned businesses to help more companies qualify for Port contracts and procurement projects.
  • All Port projects and their schedules and budgets – approximately 85 active contracts and more than 600 contractors, tenants or suppliers – were posted online, through Gael’s urging, and accessible to any person who wishes to see how public money is being spent.
  • All Commission and Audit Committee meetings were streamed live on the web and are archived on the Port’s website.