In this midst of this pandemic and the economic uncertainty, we need a councilmember who has the experience necessary to deliver for our communities.

As Deputy Mayor of Lakewood, I worked with fellow council members to ensure city government had a healthy rainy-day fund to respond to emergencies and economic downturn, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hired a highly competent City Manager and adopted sound financial policies. Together, we guided the City through challenging financial waters. The City is financially strong, maintains solid reserves, enjoys an improved bond rating (with very low debt), and consistently receives accolades for transparent and thorough budgeting.

While COVID-19 creates a new set of financial challenges for our city, I have the experience to help guide us through this latest challenge.

To ensure strong government operations that can serve all residents, even in times of crisis, we must:

  • Maintain a robust rainy day fund to respond to emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Keep our government nimble enough to adjust to changing economics
  • Adopt sound fiscal policies and use taxpayer money wisely
  • Hire excellent staff

Hire excellent staff

For a period of time, the City of Lakewood failed to maintain adequate financial reserves for those “rainy days.”  When a new council was elected, we started to make changes. With Lakewood being a Council-Manager form of government, it was essential for us to hire an excellent city manager to develop the right culture with staff in order to execute Council’s adopted policies in a fiscally prudent manner.

Working closely with the city manager, the council was able to make some big changes which empowered the staff to find efficiencies and has placed Lakewood in a strong financial position.

Adopt sound fiscal policies

It is critical that we keep a healthy reserve fund in place for emergencies.  In Lakewood, we have kept a healthy 12% of our general fund in reserve, giving us the resources required to respond in emergencies – like the one we’re in right now.  I will fight for keeping a healthy reserve fund in our city budget.

When new programs are implemented, we must identify metrics that determine if the program is successful to ensure our tax dollars are being spent on impactful programs. I am pleased to have been part of that effort in the City of Lakewood. One notable example is the program to embed a mental health professional with our police department. That program proved to work and was worthy of continued and increased funding.

It’s important that our city council look at government programs objectively, funding those that make an impact while shuttering those that do not.

Keep our government nimble

Having an efficient, nimble city government is critical for delivering the services and support our community needs and expects.  I have the experience to understand that government must be efficient and nimble in order to respond to both opportunities as well as emergencies.

On the Lakewood City Council, our sound fiscal policies gave us the room we needed in the budget to take advantage of grant funding for improving major infrastructure needs, like Veterans Drive and, soon, Washington Blvd, both major arterials in Lakewood.

Often, when grant funding is available, a project must be “shovel ready” to be eligible. Getting a project to “shovel ready” status requires a lot of work and money, environmental studies must be done, impacts must be evaluated, and plans must be drawn up. Oftentimes, grants will require a certain percentage to be matched by the municipality; having solid financial policies in place, and healthy reserves, helps ensure funding is available when opportunities arise.

As a business owner, elected leader, and member of the economic development community, I bring an entrepreneurial mindset to government that will ensure Lakewood continues to be ready for the next challenges in the years ahead.

Advancing Access to Mental Health Services

I strongly support increasing mental and behavioral health services for those in need.

Healthy communities require adequate funding for mental health services and substance abuse treatments. Vulnerable members of communities in Lakewood struggle with mental health and/or drug abuse challenges. Providing needed relief to our mental health crisis requires access to essential behavioral health services.

I have a track record of getting results for my constituents in Lakewood and am proud of the work the work I did with my fellow Council Members, such as ensuring a mental health professional would be available on police calls for those in crisis, by committing one percent of our general fund to human services, including mental health services, and by partnering with Pierce County and the Cohen Veterans Network to bring Washington’s first mental health clinic serving veterans and military families to Lakewood.

As your council member, I will work to:

  • Increase access to needed, localized care by properly funding mental health services and substance abuse treatments in our communities.
  • Provide law enforcement with the proper resources to address mental health and substance abuse challenges.
Improving and Reforming Public Safety

As Deputy Mayor, I helped implement reforms in Lakewood, including eliminating our role in Metro swat to increase accountability, reviewing our use of force and de-escalation policies, and ensuring funding for mental health professionals to be available on police calls for those in crisis. These are the kinds of common sense reforms I will continue to push for as your council member.

The Lakewood Police Department does a lot of great work in our City. The calls to defund the police will not solve our community’s problems. Removing officers from the streets will make our families less safe and is not the answer. The City Council must dedicate adequate resources to ensure that the Department can recruit and retain the high-quality officers we need and can provide proper training to ensure both their safety and the safety of all community members, including our communities of color.

As your Council Member, I will work to:

  • Implement reforms to rebuild trust in order to keep all members in our community safe
  • Provide needed funding to ensure excellent training, including all necessary training to instill a greater sense of community confidence in our Police Department
Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic

Our community face unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Between health concerns, job losses, and business closures, our community is in emotional and financial pain. But I know a strong recovery is possible. As a member of the Lakewood City Council, I helped reinvigorate the City of Lakewood by attracting more jobs and achieving financial security following the 2008 economic downturn. We ensured Lakewood created a healthy rainy-day fund to respond to emergencies and economic downturn, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and we pushed to invest more money into mental health services.

I am confident that – through smart policies implemented by the right leadership – Lakewood will experience a strong COVID-19 recovery.

  • Listen to the experts and follow the guidelines outlined by them
  • Increase vaccine access and mental health services
  • Ensure small businesses have access to the resources they need to recover financially and retain employees
  • Implement smart incentives to attract more businesses to Lakewood, as well as more affordable housing, creating more jobs and reinvigorating local growth
  • Create a robust rainy-day fund capable of helping our community overcome unexpected future emergencies
Building an economy that doesn’t leave people behind

I believe a healthy community requires a healthy economy.  Not long ago our economy was vibrant, growing steadily, with low unemployment.  Our reality is much different now; many in our community are hurting. Everyone needs that sense of financial security. More than ever, we need experienced leadership to guide us through this economic downturn in order to rebound stronger than before.

I will continue to be a positive, experienced voice for the city 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 city, I have the experience to continue to 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 City 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 Lakewood
  • Embrace available resource options to ensure stable and adequate funding for mental health services and substance abuse treatment for our most vulnerable

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