Delivering COVID Recovery
The County must lead an economic recovery effort by putting our small businesses and working families at the forefront. Targeting resources to the communities most impacted and driving investments to create new jobs and restore those lost during the pandemic will be crucial to rebuilding a thriving economy. Let’s grow the workforce by increasing apprenticeship opportunities, expanding workforce development programs, and growing County-contracting opportunities, while helping align workers with needed services like affordable childcare, transit and housing.
We have an opportunity – with the right leaders who share local values and an in-depth knowledge of our community – to respond to this challenge by building a stronger, more resilient, equitable economy than we had before – where everyone comes out further ahead.
Prioritizing Affordable Housing
The housing affordability crisis in our region hurts longtime residents, fixed-income seniors, working people, and young families settling in our communities. As our region has grown, and will continue to grow, we haven’t seen forward-thinking leadership from our County Council district’s current representative on the issue of housing and the problem has only worsened. With your vote, I’ll be a voice and a vote for affordable, attainable and sustainable housing for all, looking thoughtfully in our urban villages, along transit corridors and future light rail lines, and other appropriate places to create multi-use, affordable housing options – rapidly increasing affordable housing with built-in opportunities for employment, childcare, and more.
We can and must increase the variety – and affordability – of housing in our communities while protecting the liveability and character of our suburban and rural environments.
Safe Communities for All
Everyone in our community deserves to feel safe and welcome in East King County. Voters have entrusted the Council with reviewing and revising the practices and approach of the Sheriff’s Office – I will be a strong voice for real accountability, overdue transparency, and increased funding to ensure needed staffing, neighborhood patrols, and improved response times. Let me be clear - I do not support defunding the police - we need to make sure law enforcement has the resources and support to effectively do their jobs. I’ll act to implement changes so the sheriff’s office can better serve our community and reduce crime – pushing for social workers and other first responders to respond to the call, where appropriate, like in behavioral health emergency situations; advocating for body cameras on all officers; and engaging with community members most impacted to ensure civilian oversight.
I’m also committed to addressing gun violence as a public health issue. 70% of gun deaths in Washington State are by suicide. I am committed to investing in the behavioral health resources and community-based solutions needed to prevent those at-risk of hurting themselves or others in King County.
Helping Small Business
Living, working and playing in the area for decades, I know how small businesses make up the fabric of our communities. The cities and surrounding areas of Issaquah, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Skykomish, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Woodinville, Redmond and Sammamish have many bedrock small businesses, including some of my favorites: Twede's Diner, Duvall’s Flowers and Gifts, Woodinville’s Viva Farms, Mommy's Kitchen in Sammamish, Miller's Event Space in Carnation, Mayuri Foods in Redmond – and so many more. As we work together throughout the pandemic and support their recovery, we must continue highlighting local businesses and emphasizing local shopping. In the long run, let’s streamline regulations where possible, ease business permitting, and improve the support and climate for small businesses - they provide half of the jobs in our country, and when they thrive, our communities thrive!
Improving Transit Options
Light Rail arriving in Redmond and the Eastside over the next several years has the potential to transform our transportation system for the better. Let’s make sure stations are easily accessible for commuters and community members across our district – connected by walking, biking, and additional Metro transit options. Metro schedules and routes must connect Issaquah, Sammamish, Woodinville, Duvall and the Snoqualmie Valley to each other and the rest of the county. I’ll advocate for additional routes, shuttles, and bike trails that allow residents to access businesses, work and the amazing outdoors and recreational activities of our district.
Preserving Our Environment
We live in a beautiful place in East King County, and we have a special responsibility to protect and preserve this beauty – for our health and our future, and to do so with the urgency required to protect the future of our youth. This means conserving our open spaces and air quality, protecting and maintaining our forrests, cleaning up our rivers and watersheds, maintaining our rural neighborhoods and farmlands, as well as supporting local food resiliency and sustainability programs. We must meet and exceed the ambitious goals set out by the county in our Climate Action Plan – planting 3 million trees, electrifying Metro buses, and cleaning up pollution and ensuring environmental justice for communities most affected by the lack of open green spaces and urban canopies.
Investing in Child and Elder Care
We currently have a child and elder care crisis in this country. It is prohibitively expensive to send a child or elder to a place to be taken care of - often equal to or more than the cost of rent or a mortgage - and we need to address this. Once elected, I will look for, and promote, incentives and alternatives that will help to reduce the cost of child and elder care and that do a better job of supporting our families. This is especially important for women in the workplace – I will be a champion for the programs and policies that give women the same opportunities, support, and pay, as men in the workforce. This starts by recognizing that child care and elder care is an issue that affects us all, not just women.
The complexities of the homelsssness crisis touch many areas – from lack of resources in the behavioral health and substance use recovery systems to the shortage of affordable housing for those facing economic hardship and distress. Helping people get off of our streets and into the critical housing and services needed to get through their crisis and back to stable lives requires more than a single, simple solution. It is clear that doing nothing and blaming others is not working. It’s time to end the political rhetoric and scare tactics and get to work together on this critical, complex issue.
The facts are clear: it is less expensive to house someone and provide wraparound services than it is to cycle a person in distress in and out of jail, only to fall back into addiction or crisis. We also know that public safety is improved when there are fewer tents in our parks and along our roadways, with permanent, supportive housing for people to restore their health and lives.
I will bring both compassion and action to this crisis, focusing on proven, cost effective solutions that work for our Eastside communities.
Working Alongside Tribal Nations
I acknowledge that I am on the Indigenous land of Coast Salish peoples who have reserved treaty rights to this land, specifically the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (sdukwalbixw). I thank these caretakers of this land who have lived and continue to live here since time immemorial.
As our next King County Council member for District 3, I look forward to working together with our First People and Sovereign Nations, including the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribes, along with other tribes. I am interested in using the model of Seeking Prior Informed Consent (SPIC) and having primary conversations about policies or practices that affect King County Council, District 3, with our Sovereign Nations prior to engaging stakeholders throughout the district.
I have also signed the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement Pledge as they seek "to spread awareness of the Snoqualmie people who have lived in the southern Salish Sea since time immemorial and share the significance of these lands and provide information on how people can help the Tribe in respecting, restoring, and protecting these lands." and encourage others to join me in signing the pledge as well.
Supporting Mental Health
It has been frustrating to me to see how much we underfund mental health and behavior health support and services, and that as a state we are 48th in the country in behavioral health support services. I will use my platform to ensure behavioral health services are accessible to all who need them, supported with adequate funding and staffing. I support new programs to strengthen the behavioral health workforce and believe workers must be paid fair wages and benefits for this critical work that helps our family, friends and community members through their specific crisis and return to living stable, productive lives.