Right now the water all of us rely on to drink, irrigate crops, bathe our children, or simply survive is not being protected to the degree it needs to be by our current county government. For starters, when new developments are built, farms that have existed in the area for decades are suddenly without the access to water they need, and are stuck paying thousands of dollars to expand their access. Additionally, our water is being poisoned by the toxic waste that is allowed to be dumped over our aquifer drainage areas, and near our streams and rivers. As a member of your government, I will ensure our ecosystem, and our access to water is being protected in smart and sustainable ways.
As a small business owner, Vice Chair of the Small Business Caucus, and a micro-farmer, I understand the issues facing small businesses and employers in Pierce County. The taxes our small businesses pay, specifically the B&O tax is too high to allow our locals to truly thrive in the shadow of massive out of district businesses. They should not be made to carry a significantly higher portion of the tax burden than big companies or large corporations. As your council woman I would work hard to see to it that our local employers, small business owners, and farmers have the protection they need to survive and thrive in our county.
Time and again, while I’m out at community meetings, or talking to our firefighters, I hear that our first responders are not being given a voice when development is planned, nor the support and equipment they need to protect our communities. The County Council needs to work with our legislators to realign the taxbase so we can lessen the pressure our firefights have of always having to campaign for obtaining levies and bonds to get their necessary safety improvements, structural improvement, or equipment. We owe it to our first responders to honor their commitment to our safety by making sure they are equipped and prepared to tackle the challenges at hand. When I am on the Council, I will ensure that as our population and communities grow, so does the resources allocated to the needs of our infrastructure and our first responders.
In Pierce County we have a problem accessing our public officials, and making our voices heard. Since 1981 the County Council has met in downtown Tacoma at 3 PM Tuesday. This obviously makes the average worker unable to attend the meetings, share their concerns, and have their voices heard. Additionally, of the more than fifty meetings that happen in a year, only one is being held in each District. As a Council member it will be a priority that the weekly meetings are scheduled in the evening when working families can attend. Additionally, I will do whatever is necessary to increase our District 3 meetings to at least once a quarter. It is so important that our citizens know that our local government is there to serve and provide for them! Eight years of local government complacency is at an end. I will be consistently reaching out, listening and acting on your concerns. Put a Cook on the Council and Change the Recipe!
For years there has been a property gold rush in rural Pierce County. As our population grows, so does development, but our infrastructure has not kept pace to meet our new demands. Developers have all manner of waivers that allow them to build a large number of condos, apartments, and single family homes without true concurrency, acceptable environmental impact reports, traffic impact studies, adequate parking, or building new sidewalks for the new residents to use. Meanwhile, citizens are waiting many months for approval from the county to build small projects, such as gates and mother-in-law units. When I am elected to the County Council I will work hard to get standards in place that will encourage truly responsible development of our communities, while preserving its beauty and the economic benefits that come with it. Rural Pierce County is a place where people love the natural beauty, forested lands, and country way of life. This is the place where they have built lives, families, and caring communities. Our citizen’s needs must be respected and considered as our population and development continues to increase