Why are you running for office?
Five years ago, my daughter was hit by a car while walking home from school. The lady who hit her was addicted to opioids, and my daughter ended up with a severed spinal cord, paralyzing her from the waist down. When she was in rehab, she was told that she could still be independent, but in reality, she cannot go up 320th without facing homeless encampments, aggressive panhandlers and more. Our city deserves a leader who will advocate and stand for the community, build cooperative relationships and inspire meaningful community engagement for a safer Federal Way.
I am running for City Council (Position 7) because it’s time for leaders who will speak for our diverse and expanding community. My experience in executive management, technology, product management, collaborative problem solving, and community volunteering has prepared me for making decisions that reflect our entire community. I am not afraid to be blunt or ask tough questions because this is personal to me. I live by the values of empathy, collaboration, honesty and integrity. We face new issues and that’s why we need new voices and perspectives on the council. We cannot live in the past, we have to look towards the future.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing Federal Way and how will you address that issue as a council member?
As a city, I feel that our biggest issue currently is that our population growth has outpaced our infrastructure needs as it relates to roads, public safety, technology and human services resources. We need to refocus our spending, in order to allow us to have the proper resource levels for police, roads, licensing, public safety and more. We have chunks of Federal Way that are a great starting point in a long-term plan, but we need to tie it together for us to really develop a vibrant, safe and cohesive city.
We have ample retail space that can be used for grant-funded vocational programs to not only provide job training and opportunities for our teens but for anyone in the community. Vocational opportunities for electricians, pipe fitters, software engineers, graphic designers and more could easily revitalize buildings for new purposing and help with improving our technological footprint in the city for greater efficiency. We need to look at partnerships and innovative programs that can attack a number of inefficiencies and bring measurable results that clearly determine our level of success to the residents with full transparency.
What steps should the city take to address homelessness?
I believe as a city we have a number of different avenues available to us, but we need to be open to trying new ideas that have shown success elsewhere but deploying these in a rapid fashion. We need to be proactive versus being reactive. We need to make quick, informed decisions and be bold with our commitment to bringing change to those who will take that first, brave step towards asking for help.
We should evaluate and implement multi-phased action plans used in other cities that provide different services to different segments of the homeless population. Once in, the participants then get routed through a more tailored path of services and resources to establish stability. This allows a top-level solution to be modularized for different demographic segmentation. On the flip side, there is a percentage of the homeless population who do not want to take advantage of these resources and they need to be dealt with in a more forceful manner. Having more officers dedicated to homeless and street outreach would allow for better routing of women, children, families, and veterans to stable living situations. It would also deter chronic panhandlers as well.
What would you do as a council member to help the city attract new businesses?
When businesses look at opening a location, they generally do an evaluation of the data for the potential areas. The two most common search terms in Google for new families or new businesses are related to crime data and the quality of schools. To be a magnet for new business, we must prove our commitment to business success by improving public safety and our use of technology with permitting and licensing.
We must look at our technology and how we can utilize companies that provide cloud platform software solutions as a service to implement systems that can help speed up the review and issuing of permits, business licenses, zone variance requests, and code enforcement to improve citizen and business satisfaction.
In parallel, we need to work on having more officers added to our police department so we can expand outreach directly to the streets. This will allow police the ability to direct people to programs and resources available both in and out of the city while also enforcing accountability of our laws to those unwilling to utilize them. Increasing the levels of public safety resources will bring confidence to businesses that choose to open in Federal Way.