Like every city, Richland has to do more with less each year. The most glaring infrastructure upgrade the city is currently investing in is a new city hall. With that move, and through the Swift Corridor project, the city is opening up new opportunities for downtown development. I’m excited to see Richland make a commitment to making downtown Richland a more desirable place to live and visit by making the city more walkable and fun for its residents.
I would like to see the Richland Housing Authority (RHA) be as aggressive as the Kennewick Housing Authority (KHA) in its attempts to combat homelessness. In recent years, the KHA has built several low income housing units to aid its homeless residents. Richland can’t ignore this problem, and needs to be proactive in building low income housing for its most poor residents to avoid the secondary effects of chronic homelessness other cities have faced.
In today's environment it's more important than ever to examine the budget for cost savings. With those savings in mind, like any good investment, at times it is necessary to use specific targeted funds to jumpstart economic development in areas that otherwise are struggling. I want to use the city’s existing economic development resources to revitalize our downtown, making the city more accessible and affordable for our senior citizens.
With respect to legal immigrants, Richland residents should welcome all the diversity our citizens offer. We can accomplish more together than we can apart.
With respect to illegal immigrants, I believe Richland law enforcement should work with the federal authorities in removing those who have committed serious crimes. Illegal immigrants who have committed felonies have no place in our community and we should support our federal partners in having them removed to their countries of origin.
The major issues facing the city are increased costs associated with labor, an aging population, and a downtown that is in need of revitalization.
In order to continue on Richland’s success, we must continue to aggressively invest in our city to open up new opportunities for the private sector to create job growth. The city currently has $1.5 million in a dedicated account in partnership with Benton County for economic development that grows roughly $600,000 per year until 2026. Those funds should be saved and used for a project like the public market proposal that was unfortunately shot down by the current council.
I believe communication and transparency are key to building trust in any relationship. I commit to working with the city manager on building a trusting relationship where we both feel we can have frank, honest, discussions on how to best use the city’s resources.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Public Outreach and Education Specialist for government agency - 16 years. WSU Cooperative Extension Water Quality Agent. Founding Board Tapteal Greenway, GoGreenTriCities. Volunteer for numerous non-profit activities focused on education and the arts.
The most difficult infrastructure issues facing Richland have to do with traffic and providing safe, non-motorized access throughout the community. The city, on paper, says it will focus on ‘complete streets’ and wants to promote walking and cycling, but in actual planning documents and targeted capital projects, accommodating cars still takes precedent. We must work more proactively to make sure bike and pedestrian movement is in place and encourage businesses to install bike racks. The city could help build shelters to make transit use more comfortable. Richland really must work with the large employers (Hanford contractors, PNNL) to get their staff out of single-occupancy vehicles, so that Richland taxpayers don't have to bear the burden of road maintenance for employees driving through on our arterial streets from the surrounding communities.
Richland doesn’t seem concern itself with homelessness. Sadly it appears that Richland thinks too highly of itself to address these sorts of social, or socioeconomic problems. We will likely see a rise in homelessness if our economy continues at its current rate because there is little affordable housing. We must work to increase infill and provide more housing options, then partner with social service agencies to help people transition. There may be develop a cooperative housing program that could create different housing options for single people, or families.
Our community has an influx of retirees because of the generally low cost of living. However medical costs are higher in our area, and I’m uncertain whether we have enough geriatric specialists to properly serve that growing population. The city might help the hospitals to recruit specialists. We have basic services for seniors such as a senior lunch program and activities through our community center.
I would like the City to facilitate neighborhood associations throughout Richland. The idea would be to strengthen the community and improve the quality of life for people of all ages. The associations could create a network of volunteers so seniors could stay in their homes longer, and get help with maintenance and yard work. In return, seniors, could share elder wisdom and fill surrogate ‘grandparent’ roles for families don't have grandparents nearby.
I would like to encourage developers to build multi-generational housing.
Our police force does not look at status when helping or otherwise dealing with the public. We are not a ‘sanctuary city’ but enforcement of immigration is not a priority and our officers understand that public safety is better served by focusing on serving and protecting all residents.
I think the City can make immigrants, regardless of legal status, feel more welcome by offering multi-cultural events, English language classes through our community school, and by partnering with the school district to offer classes to help parents better prepare their students for school success.
We have socioeconomic divisions that are a legacy of the WWII and Cold War, where housing assignments were by job or military rank. Recently there have been incidents of hate speech. And we have a business owner who believes her religion gives her the right to discriminate against gay people. A group of residents have been pushing an Inclusion Statement that sets a tone of acceptance and to-date the majority of our council feels it’s not needed. If we aren’t honest with ourselves in addressing these issues, we will not be what we say we are in the City’s vision statement! The city must also address climate change and the potential impact to our water supplies, unpredictable weather and electric supply. Commercial vacancies are a major concern within the urban core, the city has placed too much focus on sprawl and big box stores. Among older neighborhoods there are too many rentals and unsightly properties. There must be a way to keep private properties maintained.
I think getting the Inclusion Statement passed is something we need to do so that we don’t lose people who can contribute to a resilient community. We have many smart, talented LGBTQ residents. We have 500 foreign nationals working at the Pacific NW National Lab. Many of the doctors in our local hospital are not yet citizens. We should create an atmosphere that makes people want to stay and become leaders in their field, right here in Richland. We also need to work on breaking down the socioeconomic barriers. I believe the City could also deliver a statement that we do not condone discrimination and the actions of one small business owner do not reflect the values of our community as a whole.
Next most urgent is developing a climate resiliency plan. None of the other work will matter if we lose our water supply, or start having repeat damage from increased storms. This last summer saw two major rain events in less than two months that caused damage and disrupted the city.
We have a City Manager and from what I can see the management appears very top down. I worry that the people who manage the city’s day-to-day operations aren't given the respect they deserve. I’ve heard stories of inappropriate comments and bullying, and that it is a ‘toxic place to work’. I will first listen and gather information. I’d attend various commission meetings and introduce myself to staff and see how they feel about Richland. I also would push for elected and volunteer commission members to have the same training in sexual harassment prevention, and diversity and inclusion, that staff are required to have. Currently, they do not have to attend such classes. By listening and visiting with staff I would hope to have the opportunity to bring issues forward to the manager and dept. heads to improve the work environment. The council should not just listen and take direction from the citizens but from staff who have to deal with the issues, or be accountable to angry residents