We have unprecedented health, human services, economic, and social challenges facing our city. I’m running for re-election because I have the unmatched policy experience to address these complex issues.
SOCIAL JUSTICE & EQUITY
Our city and our nation are experiencing a civil rights and social justice reconning. The pandemic put a spotlight on the racial inequities we were already working together on: in health, in housing, in education, in employment and in law enforcement. Facing the task of becoming an anti-racist city requires committed leadership willing to transform systems influenced by systemic racism, and honoring all voices to find new ground.
Representing Tacoma’s Eastside and Southend, I worked to ensure the successful redevelopment at 72nd and Portland, elimination of the code enforcement backlog, increased services to help re-house homeless populations, restoration of neighborhood-level planning, and improving city communications on 311 complaints. When the city offered loans for small businesses suffering from COVID19 closures, I ensured there was multilingually accessible information, and I hand-posted information on small businesses throughout the district that I knew may not be on the city’s email distribution list.
On the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health, I championed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, and directing agency-level anti-racist transformation similar to that we unanimously passed on the Tacoma City Council. I’ve fought to rectify the historically disparate distribution of city services and resources to the Eastside and Southend by requiring policy reference the City of Tacoma equity map.
Due to the pandemic, Tacoma is facing a $20,000,000 budget shortfall this year. I’ve taken steps to prioritize core services like public safety and human services while finding efficiencies, and still making investments in our neighborhoods including the restoration of Gas Station Park and the renewal of neighborhood-level planning. In my first year on the Tacoma School Board, I was tasked with overseeing our response to the Great Recession and, despite cuts, we managed to increase the graduation rate from 55% to 89% during my term in office. Through a recession or not, we must do better. I’ll bring the experience of having done exactly that to my next term on City Council.
We must also ensure that Tacoma is building back our economy to be more resilient. I’m proud of the entrepreneurial culture we’ve built in our city, and will help expand Tacoma as a hub for emerging fields like digital security, biotech, and environmental sciences.
HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS
I have no doubt that the significant measures Tacoma has taken including Temporary Emergency Shelters and Warming Centers have mitigated the impacts we might have otherwise seen; however, the evidence of crisis is visible throughout our district and our city. In addition to continuing to work towards solutions for those who need permanent supportive housing, I will continue to advocate in Olympia and DC for greater flexibility and funding for affordable housing, greater investment locally to get people off of the streets and into any kind of shelter, and continuing to increase support for mental health and for substance abuse recovery.
Providing support for those experiencing homelessness is only part of the problem. 20 years of insufficient building nationwide has negatively affected Tacoma’s affordability. We need to embrace growth management requirements and welcome greater density, while protecting the character of our neighborhoods. This means changing city zoning that currently does not allow density and increasing permitting opportunities for residential housing concepts beyond single-family. We’ve made some progress toward this on Council in allowing ADUs in residential areas and encouraging more affordable housing in mixed-use centers, but there is more work to do to develop solid policy that both welcomes density and protects neighborhoods.
Over the past year on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Board, our primary job has been responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. We’ve worked to distribute PPE to individuals, assisted living centers, and businesses to keep our community safe and mitigate the negative economic and social effects of the lockdown. Now we’re scaling up efforts to distribute vaccines and finally put this pandemic to rest.
While working to keep our community safe, I also was compelled to lead the grassroots campaign against dismantling the Health Department by a minority of the County Council. This dangerous gambit for short-term political control would have put our city and county at greater risk during a pandemic and left our public health in the hands of partisan politicians. I’m pleased to say that with overwhelming citizen support, we were successful!
I can’t do this without your partnership. Please feel free to reach out to me personally at 253-579-3129 with your concerns and your ideas for our City. From rallying public support to save our Health Department to the voices from the community challenges all of us – including myself – to do a better job of promoting justice and equality, to the individual small sacrifices we’ve all made in our homes, families, workplaces, and community to keep us safe and help each other, I know that if we work together, Tacoma can and will solve these challenges.