Why are you running for office?
Federal Way is an incredibly diverse community and there are residents who are not represented in positions of leadership. I bring a unique mix of urban community connection and small business ownership to this race, and I think this voice is unrepresented on the council as it stands.
I am focused on homelessness and the root causes (chemical dependency and mental illness), youth safety and development and business growth.
One trend I’ve noticed with the current leadership is the stagnant decision-making process. I see topics take months and sometimes years to be addressed and I believe that we could set better timelines and get more done for our growing city.
I also think diverse backgrounds bring diverse decision-making processes, so my background would add another pathway to solutions.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing Federal Way and how will you address that issue as a council member?
I think that the biggest issue in Federal Way is homelessness but that is addressed in the next question.
Beyond that, I think that as our city grows in population and diversity, we need to do a better job with community engagement.
There are opportunities for people to do fun, family events that are widely marketed (i.e.,Touch-a-Truck, Flavor of Federal Way, and Red, White and Blues) and I love that we foster a family-friendly environment. We need to do better advertising for City Council and committee meetings as well as promoting organizations that the city partners with so that they can expand their business or membership.
I would advocate that a priority of the council should be a more developed IT Department with a focus on community engagement. This would include more social media engagement and more targeted messaging to families that includes civic participation opportunities.
In addition, we should have opportunities for childcare at our meetings so that growing families are not burdened with the cost and efforts of finding care. Supporting families will help engage these critical members of our communities that are feeling left out of our decision-making processes due to access.
What steps should the city take to address homelessness?
We need to focus on the root causes of homelessness to be able to make big differences here in Federal Way. I believe to start that process, there’s a need for a housing-first model. Studies show that success rates soar when people who are formerly un-housed are able to establish some stability in a home of some sort and are then are offered wraparound case management with mental health counseling, chemical dependency treatment and other services.
In addition to that I would like to see a child-care component for families trying to get on their feet as well as basic life-skill support such as interview skills, resume building, contracts with labor/trade unions, local business, available, etc.
I fully realize that not everyone will be on board with receiving help, but I hope that if we can show members of our community who are experiencing some of hardest things that life can throw at them that we want to help them step up in stepping over them, we could be a regional leader on this specific issue.
What would you do as a council member to help the city attract new businesses?
I think that the city needs to work with Sound Transit to solidify timelines and plans for ST3, continue to develop the downtown core and then sell the modern “rebirth” of Federal Way as a family oriented, transit friendly city to businesses.
We would have many young people who could access the college programs at The Hub (the new UW/Highline Partnership) who would also be available for an entry-level work force.
I also believe bringing the proposed trade school industry here to Federal Way would bring trade-related business such as manufacturing and supply companies if marketed properly.
Another opportunity we are missing is a true small-business incubation program. When small businesses get support and mentorship from their community and city leadership, they thrive and will stay local to those communities that helped them in their start-up process.
Bottom line is that we are positioned perfectly between Seattle and Tacoma. If we work towards improving our overall image to be a modern, family friendly city, with ample transportation options, we should be able to draw more businesses here. Anytime you can market the idea of living and working in the same area, you can draw both great families and thriving businesses.