Our county government impacts every person-from regional bus service, to property taxes, employment options, and our county parks and playground (even campsites and yurts). My entire career has been all about advocating for policies that help working families and marginalized communities; supporting unions working to protect the rights of employees; and encouraging our local government representatives to prioritize community health, neighborhood safety and economic development that benefits both the businesses AND the residents of our county.
We have so much to be proud of in Snohomish County: A robust economy, a wealth of local businesses, a vibrant natural environment, and a tradition of protecting our quality of life. In order to protect and improve our human well being, we need to focus our regional response around affordability, livability, and sustainability.
Here’s what I stand for and what I pledge to support and act on if you elect me and send me to the county council!
Ensuring AFFORDABILITY: Address Homelessness, Housing Barriers and Housing Affordability
Everyone knows someone who has been impacted by opioids and other drug addictions. Mental health and drug addiction impact our public safety, our county’s budget and housing. Opioids and other drugs have negatively impacted our communities and we need to respond to the social and street level issues and underlying causes of addiction and abuse. As the county seat, Everett has the majority of social services, this concentration has lead to an increased number of people who are homeless, transients and homeless people in Everett and it’s creating a stress on our business community, public services, and neighbors.
I pledge to:
Lead policy change in our local land use and comprehensive plans to incentivize increasing density in our urban areas to protect the urban growth boundary and protect open space and farmland;
Institute the recommendations from Housing Affordability Regional Task Force (HART) to increase housing types that are affordable for all income levels;
Remove barriers in housing for renters and first time home buyers (especially people trying to get back on their feet);
Encourage infill like backyard cottages or Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) (allow pre-approved designs to make this process easier), and medium density options like townhomes and condos;
Research support for a Housing Levy and Impact fees to provide revenue for low income and middle-income housing. Assess the amount of general fund money that is dedicated to housing and emergency shelter.
Add additional support for new cold weather and emergency shelter beds;
Support and improve options for making childcare more affordable for working parents-update regulations, streamline inspections and permitting, expand education options for childcare settings in a culturally sensitive way.
Promoting LIVABILITY: Fighting the Opioid Crisis and Invest in Workplace Readiness and Working Families
Livability is about maintaining the quality of life for our residents and removing barriers so everyone has the same opportunities for success. According to the Sheriff’s 2018 Opioid Crisis Update, “Although Snohomish County comprises only 10% of the state's population, we now account for more than 18% of the heroin-related deaths statewide. From 2011 to 2013, approximately 1 out of every 5 heroin deaths in the state occurred in Snohomish County and in 2013 alone, heroin and prescription opioid overdoses represented two-thirds of the 130 accidental overdose deaths in the county[i].”We understand how this crisis is impacting out neighborhoods and we need to work together to address it.
In addition to addressing the immediate impacts of mental health and drug addition, the county needs to plan for the long term and a prepared workforce. I support opportunities for training and education beyond high school and to sure there are viable employment opportunities so our kids who grow up here want to stay in the area, can afford to stay and have living wage job prospects.
And, we need to ease the tax burden on middle-income families and build the local economy. Families are tax burdened and our neighbors are struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. Reporting by CareerBuilder found 4 out of 5 people are living paycheck to paycheck with less than 6 months of savings[ii]. According to research by the Washington Budget and Policy Center, “A tax break for low and moderate income workers is the best tool to rebalance the tax code for those at the bottom and middle who pay up to 6 times more in state and local taxes as a share of income than the top 1 percent[iii].”
I pledge to:
Support a working family tax credit and work with the county tax auditor to examine the feasibility of a county working tax credit if the state tax rebate fails to pass in 2020 (Details here: https://budgetandpolicy.org). The working tax credit is the best way to help working people keep more of what they earn and builds the economy by driving local growth, especially in rural areas;
Help seniors access the existing property tax rebate and property tax assistance with in home outreach and accessible workshops for help on the application;
Expand and support programs to treat the drug addictions and mental health problems that impact street crime and homelessness;
Fully support public safety with adequate staffing for first responders and human services personnel.
Ask the Snohomish Health District to undergo a stakeholder process modeled off the 2014 Everett Streets Initiative to suggest new long term and short term policy solutions for the opioid crisis in our municipalities (including harm reduction, pain management and multi-city/regional solutions);
Continue county support for Carnegie Resource Center building and continued maintenance;
Continue collaborative regional response to opioids as an emergency epidemic (Snohomish County Multi-Agency Coordination Group);
Ease the burden on downtown Everett businesses and neighborhoods by supporting programs in other cities and support services for mutually beneficial mental health and addiction services;
Refocus resources on violent crimes and addressing Domestic Violence by filling the position for a Domestic Violence Investigator;
Support research for alternative pain management options, including cannabis;
Support and provide leadership to the WSU and Everett Community College campus, including new programs such as the sustainable agriculture;
Prioritize workforce training to equip workers with the high-tech skills needed for the jobs of the future, such as Sno-Isle skills center;
Fight for living wage jobs and guarantee prevailing wages;
Invest in new trainings for the green economy, including solar installation and other jobs in renewable resources;
Support new green infrastructure innovations that sequester carbon including cross-laminated timber (including a review of the building code to all new materials);
Support efforts to establish Project Labor Agreements and Community Work Standards and continue to foster relationships with local unions;
Improve SUSTAINABILITY: Invest in a Green Economy and Green infrastructure and Improve Tribal Relations and Improve Equity.
As an environmental advocate for over 20 years, I recognize the need to be prepared for climate change and use an equity framework for efforts to mitigate climate change impacts, reduce greenhouse gases and reduce impacts on low income families, people of color and other communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. We must Address Climate change with investments in green infrastructure and protect open space.
We have a new airport terminal, ferry system, Sound Transit 3 and a need for better coordination for mass transit. We have the worst traffic in the country, based on a study by NRIX Global Traffic Scorecard[iv]. This impacts quality of life, air quality and has a disproportionately negative impact on low wage earners. We need to have a strong voice at the table to address traffic issues.
District 2 includes the territory of the Tulalip Tribes, a sovereign nation with their own laws, citizens and policies. The County must improve relationships with our indigenous peoples and work together on progressive land management as well as actively recruit and engage members to be employed by and represent the county on our many boards/commissions at the county. As your county councilperson, I will work to improve relationships with tribes after the final court decision on county taxes and improve relationships to ensure parity for Tulalip, work with local city councils and the health district and remove silos so government is more efficient, especially when there is an imbalance in the resources and a need for a regional response.
As a volunteer community advocate for the last five years, I fought for a more responsive government and fair and equitable representation through voting districts in Everett. I will adhere to those values and pledge to work with County administration to improve equity in hiring and improve representation on boards and commissions, because our local government and decision makers should reflect our community.
I pledge to:
1. Enforce the 2019 100% Renewable Energy Resolution with measurable goals for clean electricity by 2030 and replacing the fleet with low emission vehicles;
2. Target investment in our green infrastructure - transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases- invest in transportation and build it;
3. Support Public-private investment in “green” construction and renewable energy projects;
4. Promote our county’s incredible natural resources and outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities.
5. Invest in new trainings for the green economy, including solar installation and other union or trade jobs in renewable resources.
6. Support efforts to increase the demand of certified green building and renovations;
7. Continue to promote and invest in waste reduction, zero waste efforts, recycling programs and green infrastructure projects (such as adding to the 22 electric vehicle charging stations and expanding the county solar project);
8. Work with local decision makers to reduce the impact of noise, traffic and congestion of the new airport; encourage innovation on electric, clean fuel or hybrid planes and reducing the carbon footprint of aerospace;
9. Listen to and represent residents concerned about traffic impacts of the Mukilteo ferry, the new bridge, Boeing traffic and Everett traffic;
10. Protect the urban growth boundary and support efforts to increase density in urban areas and transit-oriented development.
11. Fund a permanent full-time Tribal Liaison position with authority to work on jurisdiction, policy and legal issues;
12. Permanently recognize Indigenous People’s Day;
13. Work with Everett to amend the City Charter to recognize Tribes and Tribal Nations;
14. Ensure equity in hiring of tribal citizens and ensure equity in resource allocation for human services, wellness programs and education;
15. Extend recruitment for District 2 boards and commissions to improve representation and civic engagement;
16. Host a monthly meet up in Tulalip Tribes and attend tribal meetings to hear directly from members;
17. Host a quarterly meet up in Mukilteo to hear directly from residents on regional issues;
18. Lobby the Executive to sign an internal policy agreement to better support tribal coordinating;
19. Assist in installing a designated Ballot drop-off on the Tulalip Reservation;
20. Recruit and appoint candidates so that all board and commission appointments from District 2 to represent the community and look like our community;
21. Work with the administration to examine the Snohomish County Leadership Civic DNA and consider initiating the successful equity in hiring employment practices recently implemented in Tacoma[v].
I’ve proven that I can work bring individuals and groups together around a common mission and get the job done! Because, results and a track record of success matter! These are my values, but above all, I will be responsive to the needs and voices of constituents and residents! Together, we can make Snohomish County a brighter place for everyone.