Jamila Taylor: Federal Way City Council Pos. 5

‘Federal Way is a community that is … changing and there are folks who are like me who have needs for this community to be safe, affordable, and a great place for all folks to live.’

Jamila Taylor, who is vying for the Federal Way City Council Pos. 5 seat against incumbent Mark Koppang recently sat down with the Mirror to answer the following questions:

What motivates you to run for this position on the council?

“I’m motivated to run for this position because I am a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m an attorney, and I’m a community advocate with more than 20 years of leadership in the community and in the region.”

Taylor lives with her mother and her brother who both require additional assistance for chronic illnesses.

“Federal Way is a community that is evolving and changing and there are folks who are like me who have needs for this community to be safe, affordable, and a great place for all folks to live, work, play, and enjoy our amenities.”

What skills or experience would you bring to the council?

As an attorney, Taylor has had the opportunity to work with clients on all kinds of matters from family law needs to small business needs.

“I’ve also worked with community organizations to build programs and establish a footprint in communities and I have the skills to do the outreach to engage community members from all walks of life to help them participate in our process. The 20 years of experience I have is rooted in collaboration and engagement and helping voices be heard in places they might not think it’s important but it’s really vital for our community.”

Describe your top three objectives and how you plan to address those.

Inclusive and equitable economic development is at the top of Taylor’s objectives. When light rail comes to town, “what do we need to do to ensure that the businesses that have been at the heart of our community remain in our community?”

Ensuring public access to local safety net programs is also a priority. Many members of the community have to travel via public transportation to far away places to get access to their needs and this can be a barrier.

“If you’re on the bus two-three hours for one service, how is that making your quality of life healthy here if you’re constantly on the move to get your basic needs met?”

Finally, Taylor wants to focus on creating options and opportunities for young people ages 18-24 in Federal Way by investing in education programs.

What are your top concerns about public safety and what steps would you take to address these concerns?

Many of the local community members have a tense relationship with the police and law enforcement, Taylor said. She wants to build a bridge between community members so they can feel comfortable to report issues and to reduce opportunities for kids to be involved in negative things.

These programs also require accountability from the police force “to ensure they are treating our citizens with dignity and respect as they are executing their duties of their jobs.”

How should Federal Way improve economic development and attract businesses?

One of the most important assets of Federal Way is the community, and leadership should reflect this. Many commuters traveling to various locations for their work often forget how vital they are to Federal Way, Taylor said.

“There’s a lot of folks who are in a great position to want to work closer to home. It would be nice for me to go to work and be home by six to have dinner with the family, and there are a lot of folks who would love to move into this community if there are opportunities to do so.”

Is the city’s permitting process effective and, if not, what are your solutions to improve this process?

Like other cities, Federal Way’s permitting process is difficult to navigate and can be confusing or daunting if you don’t know where to begin.

By reaching out to business owners in Federal Way, the city can break down the processes for them and “take that feedback around the difficulties of accessing that information” to improve the process.

Do you support marijuana retailers opening in Federal Way? Why or why not?

“I do support cannabis retailers coming to Federal Way mostly because it helps our folks who have medical needs access locally … there’s also a fiscal impact; we could benefit from the revenue that’s generated from the activity that can include [funding for] prevention programs.”

It can be a day-long process for some to reach retailers outside city limits.

Homelessness has been an ongoing issue in Federal Way. What is your plan to address it?

“What we’ve seen with the homelessness challenge in the community is the criminalization of poverty. How can we address homelessness from a multifaceted way where we are meeting people where they are?”

Homelessness could occur to the “perfectly law-abiding folks who are unstably housed” or who those who are engaging in dangerous activities.

“We need to come together as a community with prevention and intervention programs, not just arresting our way out of the [problem], not just forcing people into rehabilitation programs that may or may not work for that particular circumstance, and look at the whole person.”

It takes public-private partnerships and ensuring all of our citizens are taken care of.

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