What opportunities do you see in combining COVID-19 economic recovery with greener climate change policies?

That’s the first question Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Tacoma) asked me during a recent interview. As current member and past Chair of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, I believe in a common-sense approach based on my six years of experience. Specifically, my work on Vision 2050 – a working document to create new job opportunities, employee opportunities, and housing opportunities – gives me insight on how to lead a sustainable economic recovery in Pierce County. 

Like so many regions in Western Washington, Pierce County residents sit through traffic off and on the freeway every day. Long work commutes from Pierce County to King and other counties frustrate residents – and wreak havoc on the environment. The common-sense solution? If people who live in Pierce County can work in Pierce County, less time is wasted in the car, and less carbon is emitted from sitting in traffic. How can Pierce County accomplish this?

Our collective work on the Vision 2050 plan paves the way for the EDB’s five-year workplan and goal to create 2,800 new jobs in Pierce County, with new and existing companies investing $159 million into our economy. The COVID-19 pandemic complicates the plan and necessitates change, but the focus remains on both attracting and retaining companies looking to expand operations locally using cleaner methods. Harnessing the power of clean technology and attracting investment leads to a healthier outlook for communities across Pierce County.

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging – but it also creates new growth opportunities. I am the only candidate in this race who can hit the ground running on day one, fighting for my “healthy community requires a healthy economy” philosophy. 

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