Incumbent Pete von Reichbauer has been a member of the King County Council since 1993, and he is running for re-election against Dominique Torgerson for District 7.
District 7 stretches from Federal Way and Auburn to the unincorporated area just west of Enumclaw and Black Diamond.
Reichbauer said people should re-elect him because of his track record as an advocate for the community.
“I think that I have a history of community engagement and success with community advocacy that I think deserves re-election,” Reichbauer said. “I’ve been involved with charities and non-profits across the region. I think that my history of wide ranging community involvement is a reflection of who I am and why I’m seeking re-election.”
People don’t want a one-issue candidate, and as a councilmember, von Reichbauer will be an advocate for everyone in the seventh district, he said.
His primary areas of focus if re-elected will be transportation and job production, von Reichbauer said.
“I want to make sure we work as a group, bringing together local cities and the private sector to create more job producing businesses here,” von Reichbauer said.
One of the ways von Reichbauer plans to create more jobs is through apprenticeship programs for different levels of education, he said.
“I think there are opportunities to create new jobs in our region and my goal, going into the new term, is to create more apprentice programs in the Federal Way and Auburn school districts to give young people a pathway to jobs,” von Reichbauer said.
Another goal of von Reichbauer’s is to work with the mayors of the seventh district to create new modes of transportation. As more people work from home, the transportation needs of people in King County have changed, he said. The county needs to work to adapt its transportation modes to fit the needs of people in today’s environment, he said.
“We need to recognize how our transportation modes fit not the last decade, but the next decade,” von Reichbauer said. “I’ll be working as a strong member of the transportation committee of the county council to make sure our transportation modes fit the next decade.”
Climate change is here and something we have to deal with, as it has been accelerated by the great damage we have done in the last decade, von Reichbauer said. The county needs to work collaboratively with other governments to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change, he said.
To help people recover from the economic recession brought on by the pandemic, von Reichbauer plans to continue working with the county to make contracts with small businesses in the region.
“We can change the regulations of King County so we can help more small businesses,” von Reichbauer said. “The success of jobs is not going to be in the hands of Boeing. 70% of new jobs are produced by small businesses, not large corporations.”
The King County region will succeed if small businesses can succeed, he said. As a councilmember, his job is to figure out how to help small businesses get through impacts of the pandemic. He will do this by directing money the county has toward small businesses through contracts, von Reichbauer said
To address homelessness in District 7, von Reichbauer said the council needs to take a regional approach.
“We are not an island. What happens in Bellevue affects what happens in Federal Way, which affects Seattle, which affects Auburn,” he said. “The way to address it is a regional approach. We can’t do it alone. We have to work together.”
Mental illness is a big factor in addressing the homelessness issue and the county needs to work with state legislators to re-evaluate and rewrite the policies that relate to mental illness, von Reichbauer said.
“We’ve got to create an environment where they can be treated, and treated humanely in a manner that reflects our society’s values,” von Reichbauer said.
We can’t go back to institutionalizing people like we did in Western State Hospital, he said. There needs to be a 2021 solution to the issue where individuals have due process and are treated humanely, he said.
There’s nothing humane about letting people sleep on park benches or under overpasses, von Reichbauer said. Some people think it’s best to let people sleep outside, but von Reichbauer disagrees because they’re not making healthy choices for themselves or for society.
Ballots for the general election should be mailed to registered voters three weeks before Election Day, Nov. 3, according to the King County elections website. For more information about the candidates and measures on the ballot, visit King County’s website.