My Initiatives for Pierce County
Leverage Partnerships - We can achieve better services and outcomes for our citizens by partnering with others - cities, businesses, school districts, healthcare systems, and non-profit organizations. The Heritage Recreation Center is a tremendous example of a partnership between the County and the Puyallup School District - meeting both the athletic needs of Rogers High School during the week and the recreational needs of our County on the weekends. One example of further partnerships could include: vehicle maintenance - combining the support of the vehicle fleets for the County, Tacoma, and school districts. Such a partnership both saves money and result in a better service. Additionally, the County could partner with local hospitals in delivering wellness programs for our citizens and addressing chronic health issues. Additionally, parks across the County could coordinate more effectively, like an interconnected trail system - as well as park maintenance.
Great jobs for our Citizens - The economic recovery in Pierce County has lagged behind King, Snohomish and Thurston Counties, despite being buoyed by the military at JBLM. Far too many of our neighbors have to commute north to get quality jobs. We need a renewed and refreshed focus on creating quality family wage jobs right here at home. This effort should incorporate the UWT’s new law and engineering programs, as well as strengthen the aerospace industry in Fredrickson and Thun Field. We need to expand our local Information Technology sector with a specific focus on cyber warfare. We can support expansion of our local health care systems, especially to meet the needs of our citizens in the eastern part of the county. Finally, with the Legislature’s funding of the completion of State Route 167 from the Port to Puyallup, our trade-related businesses can expand. In addition to leadership and coordination, Pierce County government can use a combination of tax incentives, sewer services, planning and expedited permitting to spur on local job growth.
JBLM Connection and Veteran Leaders - We are blessed to have JBLM as such a strong partner and economic driver in our region. Additionally, many veterans are leaving the service, with significant technical and leadership skills. Our county should take full advantage of this local talent and prioritize recruiting and hiring veterans into County service - as well as private sector jobs in region.
Fair Treatment for our Citizens - The County and the Pierce County legislative delegation need to work together to identify and change laws and rules that disadvantage our citizens and communities. Senator Mike Carrell passed the "Fair Share Act” ensuring Pierce County did not get a disproportionate share of convicts released from the Department of Corrections. Senators Steve O’Ban and Jeannie Darneille passed the “Fair Share Act II,” protecting our citizens similarly for releases from the Special Commitment Center. We need to continue to ensure our citizens are not put at a disadvantage by: the regulations from state or federal agencies; the services from the state (such as mental health programs); or the taxes we are paying. Right now, our students, schools and our citizens who support them pay higher taxes for our local school levies than in the Seattle School District and many districts in King County. Furthermore, many of our schools receive less in state funding. I will continue to fight on behalf of our communities, to make sure Pierce County and our citizens are treated fairly under State and federal law.