Public safety is Pierce County’s number one responsibility and already accounts for 80% of the general fund, but the jail’s $5 million deficit continues to put pressure on critical services. Every dollar spent closing the jail’s deficit is a dollar that can’t be spent on transportation, police coverage, health services, and infrastructure improvements. Our current crisis is more than the result of a bad economy; it’s because of a shortfall in foresight, planning, and regional partnerships.
We need to get Pierce County’s fiscal house in order. I’ll work on building a long-range plan for growth that hems in costs while strengthening services to our core communities in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and the Key Peninsula. At the same time, I’ll address short-term deficits by working with cities to reduce overlap and increase cooperation.
Open Government and Transparency
We need to restore public trust in local government. That starts at the County Council by increasing public participation. I’ll advocate moving meeting times to accommodate working families and work to ensure that the County complies with the letter and spirit of the Open Public Meetings Act. Most importantly, I promise to always be accessible and remember that as a County Councilmember, I will work for you.
Our district is bisected by the Narrows bridges and divided by tolls. Because of this, transportation Is critical to our community. For too long Pierce County has allowed our citizens to pay more and get back less than neighboring counties. I've fought hard to ensure our voice is heard and that we get the funding we deserve.
As a Board Member for Pierce Transit, I stepped up to make sure the agency lives within its means. We made innovative decisions to provide services at low cost to the taxpayers such as the Gig Harbor Trolley. I held the line on operational expenses and minimized the type of cuts that would have hurt our community. Now, as the economy recovers, Pierce Transit is seeing revenue rise and increasing services again. The Pierce County Council needs to be a partner in making sure that our citizens have access to transportation options for seniors, students, and those in need.
Parks and Open Spaces
No matter which side of the bridge you live on, we are fortunate to have scenic views and open spaces to enjoy. My mission on the Council will be to prioritize these unique assets for future generations. That means expanding protected views for property owners, supporting parks and recreation for our families, and planning for growth to protect our environment.
Public Safety and Mental Health
We’ve seen too many stories in the news where the mental health and public safety systems failed our community. And yet, the Pierce County Council voted to outsource mental health services and was the only urban county in Washington State to vote against improving funding for mental health.
The Council's inaction hurts vulnerable people who need and deserve our help. In extreme cases, people suffering a mental health crisis are a threat to themselves or others. Turning them back out into the streets is not just immoral, but also threat to public safety. Violent offenders don’t care about city or county borders. We need a regional response to protect our citizens. I will support bringing mental health services back under County oversight to ensure that we are providing treatment for those in need and protecting our citizens.
The keys to vibrant economic development include lowering the barriers to smart growth, investing in our core communities, supporting education, and creating safe, livable neighborhoods.
My experience on the Gig Harbor City Council has shown me that by investing in growth, listening to citizens, and planning for the future, we can grow our economy to keep taxes low and service levels high.