I can be a positive, experienced voice for the County during this time. I was on the Lakewood City Council following the economic downturn that started in 2008. Through the hiring of a highly competent City Manager and the adoption of sound financial policies, we guided the City through challenging financial waters. The City is now financially strong, maintains solid reserves, enjoys an improved bond rating (with very low debt), and consistently receives accolades for transparent and thorough municipal budgeting. While COVID creates a new set of financial challenges for our cities and County, I have the experience to help guide us through this latest challenge.
Action must be taken to ensure we:
- Scrutinize the budget to ensure cost-effective delivery of services with available resources
- Adopt sound policies that promote, sustain and grow family-wage jobs
- Ensure affordable housing is available throughout the County to accommodate all our residents, including those experiencing homelessness
- Coordinate and leverage our resources to help our existing businesses stay in business and thrive while seeking opportunities to attract new businesses to Pierce County
- Embrace available resource options to ensure stable and adequate funding for mental health services and substance abuse treatment for our most vulnerable
Sustain and grow family wage jobs
Economic security for our residents starts with a family wage job. We need to ensure there are enough family-wage jobs available for those who need one. We also need to ensure that our available workforce is adequately trained to meet the needs of an ever-changing economy. We can address the market’s work force demands through better coordination of the job training and skill development provided by our incredible community and technical colleges. We all benefit when unemployment is low and families are able to care for themselves.
We need a nimble county government that will be there for you when you need help most while providing an environment that encourages job growth. As an owner of a small business employing 12 people, I understand the challenges of making payroll in today’s climate. Our business community must drive the economy, not our government.
Ensure housing is available and affordable
Even before our economic downturn, we have had a housing crisis in Pierce County that must be addressed. With the relatively low supply of housing options and an increasing population, housing prices have risen at an unsustainable rate. Many families are stretched too thin and cannot afford stable housing.
The County must take action to increase the housing supply while providing support to those in critical need. I want every family to have a safe place they can call home.
In Lakewood, I worked with fellow council members, non-profits, and businesses to bring people together to provide more and better housing options. From creative work with Habitat for Humanity, as well as the adoption of policies that support increased housing options (including cottage housing and accessory dwelling units), while promoting minimum health and safety standards for rental housing, we have started to bend the curve. However, more work is necessary to adopt innovative solutions to increase the housing supply in order to stabilize prices and opportunities for more families.
I have the experience needed — working with local governments, non-profits, developers, and private enterprise — to bring results and make sure everyone in our county has a place to call home.
Help small businesses stay in business and thrive
Small businesses, like my company, are the backbone of our local economy. Small businesses employ a large portion of our neighbors with family-wage jobs. However, many small businesses are closing or are in severe financial trouble because of the economic challenges we’re facing. This, in turn, means fewer opportunities will be available to those looking for work.
As Deputy Mayor of Lakewood, I worked with my fellow council members to provide some relief to small businesses that were struggling — through no fault of their own — to help keep their doors open and provide employment opportunities. I applaud the Pierce County Council for taking similar action. However, the County must now work with many stakeholders to craft a long-term economic vision and plan for our community to better weather the next downturn.
As a small business owner employing 12 people, as a member of the Executive Team for the Economic Development Board, and as the attorney for many businesses in Pierce County, I understand what many businesses are going through. These businesses need a county government that will partner with them, as well as with other local governments and stakeholders, to provide an environment for them to thrive.
Now is the time to elect someone with the experience, skills, and proven leadership necessary to get the job done.