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VOTE411 Voter Guide

City of Kent Council Position No. 4

Term: 4 yearsThe City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Toni Troutner (NP) Market Research Analyst

  • Candidate picture

    Tye Whitfield (NP) Self Employed

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

Phone (253) 951-7765
Email electtoni@gmail.com
Town where you live Kent
Experience (300 characters max) I have an extensive background of community service and advocacy. I have served as PTA President, Commissioner on the Civil Service Commission for the Kent Fire Fighters, Drug Free Coalition member, Board Member of the Kent Downtown Partnership and co-chair at the Severe Weather Shelter.
In order to attract new businesses and residents to the City of Kent, we need to have a strong infrastructure. The city is currently underfunded to support the maintenance of our current infrastructure. The city lost 12 million dollars in 2008 when the streamline sales tax went away. The city implemented the B and O to help replace some of the money lost. It costs roughly 12 million dollars to maintain all of the roads and sidewalks in the city, and the current budget is around 8 million. The city of Kent will also be facing additional budget issues when we lose the annexation money from acquiring Panther Lake, and money from the state to offset the loss of the streamline sales tax. The council will have to prioritize the needs of each department, including Public Works. While maintaining the infrastructure is a priority, as a councilmember, I will work with my colleagues to make sure adequate funding is available for the most important projects.
The city of Kent offers many services for the homeless. As a co-chair of the Severe Weather Shelter for the city of Kent, I have seen firsthand the needs of the homeless in our community. It is also important that our residents and business owners also feel safe in our downtown area. The city needs to balance that need for safety and security of our residents and business owners, while addressing the needs of our homeless and making sure they have access to the much-needed services that the city of Kent provides.
I am committed to making sure our senior citizens know what benefits are available to them. Many seniors are not aware of the tax exemptions they may qualify for. Our seniors also want to feel safe, and public safety important to all the residents in Kent. I support our police department and making sure we continue to provide funding for additional officers.
The city of Kent issued a proclamation in February stating Kent is a welcoming city. Kent has no policies limiting their cooperation with federal agencies. No discrimination will be acceptable, and residents are encouraged to call the police when needed. The police will not ask for immigration status. The city of Kent has a Cultural Communities Board. It consists of 16 individuals from with different backgrounds and cultures. Residents are encourage get to know their neighbors.
The most important issues to me in the city of Kent and also effecting the wellbeing of our residents is the need to develop a plan to improve and maintain the financial stability of our parks department, ensuring public safety and continuing to support our police department so the residents of Kent are safe, and improving and maintaining the infrastructure of our city (including roads and sidewalks) so we can attract new residents and businesses to Kent.
After attending a recent council workshop, it is evident that our parks department is in need of a plan to put them on the path to financial stability. In the current state, there is not adequate funding to improve and maintain what we currently have. It is the responsibility of the city and the council to make sure these resources and services are available to all the residents’ of Kent and invest in our parks programs so they can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.
I will work with fellow council members and the mayor to protect the best interests of our residents. I will serve as a member on several of the council committees, to engage and work with my colleagues on challenges of the respective departments. I will use that knowledge in working with council members and the mayor to agree on a fair operating budget.
Phone (253) 561-5205
Email tye@tyewhitfield.com
Town where you live Kent
Experience (300 characters max) Small Business Owner, Non Profit Director, Community Organizer Past Community Boards member of: Puget Sound Service District, Chairperson, Washington State Association, Community Representative. White Center Early Learning Initiative, Board Member, Present: Parks and Recreation Commission
As our City is rapidly growing our transportation system must meet the demands of our City. Below are some concerns that have been assessed by our residents: More local transportation services expanding to residential areas; lack of connection from industrial areas and transit center; new midday and peak hours on commuter rails. Streets and roads are another vital issues we need to replace, upgrade and maintain our aging roadways that are not funded.
My experience as a community organizer includes working with faith-based and non-profit organizations to secure Safe Spot parking lots and emergency shelters for our homeless citizens. An efficient approach to respond to homelessness includes partnership: The City of Kent must partner with local organizations that are actively working on the grassroots level to decrease homelessness. City and Agency collaborations will produce streamlined resources, coordinated services, and sustainable solutions which include outreach and emergency assistance, income opportunity and services, and low cost and affordable housing.
Just recently, after becoming aware of safety concerns within the senior community, I initiated and partnered with our Kent Police Department and SHAG (Senior Housing Association Group) to host a safety forum. Whether it is in terms of safety issues, health care accesses and concerns, transportation or resources, my commitment is to continue to meet and engage with, listen to and work on behalf of our seniors making sure they feel a part of the expansion of our city.
I am proud to say that the City of Kent openly fosters a proclamation, policies, and programs of inclusion and diversity. With over 125,000 residents and 138 different spoken languages, Kent has been branded as “Bringing the World Home” and proclaimed a “Welcoming City” by Mayor Cook and City Council President Bill Boyce. All residents, irrespective of their immigration status, are welcomed to reside in Kent. All Kent residents, irrespective of their immigration status, deserve and are entitled to, using the words of our Mayor, a “safe environment, free from hate, discrimination, and harassment.” The City of Kent is a growing example of how a city should approach legal and illegal immigration - by placing humanity, dignity, and safety above prejudice, bias and empty slogans, however, we must consistently have educational resources and policies in place to secure our cities brand a "Welcoming City, Bringing the World Home".
The most pressing issues facing the City of Kent are Safety Concerns, Budget and Resource Deficiency, Homelessness and Affordable Housing, Underfunded Parks and Recreation, and Infrastructure.
One could argue that Budget and Resource Cuts are the most urgent issues. However, it is important to recognize that the issues facing the City of Kent are not isolated, but rather interrelated and mutually influential. Budget and Resource cuts affect affordable housing programs. A lack of affordable housing and programs to aid with shelter effects homelessness rates. Residential stability, employment opportunities, services and resources for youth are all characteristics associated with lower crime rates. Higher crime rates and concerns about personal safety occur when we cut social and human services.
In addition to being a community organizer, I sit as a commissioner on Kent’s Parks and Recreation Board. In both capacities, I have had the pleasure of working with Mayor Cooke as well as Kent’s City Council. I don’t think there are specific methods to working with this or any Mayor or City Council. I think, like with any other working relationship, successful engagement comes by way of effective and skillful communication, respect, understanding, accountability and follow through. It's going to take unification with basic comradery for us to unite as a city to fix problems and bring Kent into fruition as we live up to our brand a "Place Where we Call Home"!

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