Sharry Edwards: Federal Way City Council Position 3

Q&A with council candidate.

Sharry Edwards

Sharry Edwards

Why are you running for office?

I am running for City Council to address the critical issues impacting the future of Federal Way including crime, the opioid crisis, homelessness, public safety, family wage jobs, affordable housing, and look forward to promoting tough regulations on illegal drugs in addition to promoting youth programs.

I have raised my family in Federal Way, worked as a nurse for over 25 years and am deeply involved in the Federal Way community serving on boards, service clubs and as chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness in addition to being a Sandy Hook Promise and SEIU1199 leader.

I spend my spare time volunteering and advocating for our youth as well as our homeless neighbors. The commitment you have seen from me in the community is what you can expect from me on the council. I am listening, involved and promise you that I will continue to advocate and be a voice for you.

What is the biggest challenge currently facing Federal Way and how will you address that issue as a council member?

I believe the biggest challenge currently facing Federal Way, and the future of our city is the opioid/heroin crisis. Although not unique to Federal Way, this drug crisis is being considered the “Worst drug crisis in American History” leading to deaths across our nation higher than car crashes and gun violence.

When looking at the Pacific Northwest, and specifically the problems in Seattle, I feel that our elected officials are not doing enough. I am running for office because as an elected leader, I believe I will have more influence in solving this issue that effects not only the individuals pulled into addiction, but also for our businesses, our residents, and our overall safety. As a nurse, mother of three, and an educator, I am ready to stand up and fight to protect our city by fighting against any message that says, “Drug use is OK,” because it’s not. We need our elected officials to stand up for us.

What steps should the city take to address homelessness?

As the chair of the Mayor’s Homeless Task Force, I would urge anyone asking this question to read our report. Our Task Force delved deeply into the root causes, and we came up with great recommendations after looking at the “big picture” and what has and has not worked in other communities. I believe we need to continue to connect people experiencing homelessness and panhandlers to resource groups, services and skills training.

While serving on the Task Force, I visited our local businesses to find out how they are being affected and gathered a lot of valuable feedback with solution ideas regarding panhandling. I would like to work on the council to address these, and other issues we discovered such as what do we do when individuals refuse overnight shelter, and refuse treatment options? We have had three meetings with the faith-based community and non-profit partners (led by Mayor Ferrell) to address emergency and non-emergency shelter options and I look forward to continuing these conversations. This type of collaboration is important to continue as we work to address the homeless crisis.

What would you do as a council member to help the city attract new businesses?

As a City Council person, I plan to work with the Community Development Department and property investors to find out what the delays with the permitting process are and have been in the past. We have an outdated system. Other cities are computerized while we are still on paper. I would work with the Chamber of Commerce, and chamber members and gather input. After meeting with investors, I found out that our city is in great need of this type of leadership because the zoning language needs updating, and the department needs support. In the event of budget issues, I would personally work with our state representatives to make Legislative asks for money to help where needed to attract new businesses.

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