As the legislative branch of county government, the Council sets policies, enacts laws, and adopts budgets that guide an array of services for this region, including: the criminal justice system and jails, prosecutors and public defenders, District and Superior Courts; the King County Sheriff's Office, which directly serves the residents of unincorporated areas and contracts with many cities to provide police protection; election administration, public health and human services; Metro Transit bus service and county roads; wastewater treatment and solid waste management; regional parks, open space and trails; and records and licensing. Council members also sit on one of several of regional committees planning and providing multiple county regional services.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
* State Representative 2001-2012 (Chair, House Environment Committee)
* King County Councilmember 2013-present (Chair, Budget & Fiscal Management Committee)
To be a strong advocate for South King County-- a diverse community which is forward-thinking but squeezed economically. I’ve seen a broken political system first hand, and refuse to bow to the political establishment, big donors, or party elites—but instead try to fearlessly question assumptions and be a voice for real people in a part of the county often left behind.
With the mess at the federal level, the best thing I can do is simply do my job: balance the county budget, respond to community needs, treat people with respect, demonstrate common sense, honor our civic institutions like a free press and independent courts, and strive to be authentic and responsive to the people I represent.
Housing affordability is the most urgent challenge in King County-- particularly as it relates to income inequality and the struggle to ensure economic opportunity for all. The gap between wages/salaries and the cost of housing manifests itself in the growing number of homeless- particularly homeless kids-- in South King County, and also makes it difficult for people to find quality affordable rental housing, let alone try to buy a home.
Our top infrastructure priority in South King County is to ensure the flood levies in the Green River system are in safe repair and accredited in a timely manner. Otherwise, the industrial valley through Kent, Renton, Tukwila and Auburn could soon be at risk of costly flood insurance and development regulations that would be an economic wet blanket on jobs and the economy in South King County. The King County Flood Control District is the lead agency in this work.
Transportation infrastructure in critical not only for our quality of life (less sitting in traffic), but also for our local economy and job creation. Specifically, we need to work with the State of Washington to complete the SR 509 extension to reduce congestion and improve freight mobility necessary for our region to compete as a hub for international trade. We also need better bus service in South King County to connect with our regional transit system and to connect people with employers and jobs.
H. Humphrey famously said "the moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." Funding for senior programs has been cut by the United Way, the state and feds. The county must step up to enhance senior programs and services- including housing. We just expanded our Vets & Human Services Levy to include seniors, and my commitment is firm.
I am disgusted by the rhetoric of (and the policies being pursued by) President Trump. We can set a better example in King County by serving and welcoming everyone who lives in King County. Local government is not responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws, and we should not (and do not) inquire as to the legal status of people who interact with the county, except to the extent required by law. Our county policies and programs must reflect our growing immigrant and refugee population.
It is immoral in our wealthy community to have so many people living in the street. In the Highline School District alone, we have 1500+ homeless students including 104 kindergarten students. Solutions begin with effective prevention programs, increasing shelter capacity and transitional housing, increasing supply of subsidized and market rate housing, and investing in mental health and substance abuse treatment.