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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Thurston City Of Tumwater City Council, Position No. 5

The 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.
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    Michael Althauser (NP) Staff Attorney

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    Chelsea Rustad (NP) Application Quality Assurance (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife)

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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 (360) 701-0053
Email michael@michaelalthauser.com
Town where you live Tumwater
Three years ago, Tumwater voters passed a revenue measure to fund road maintenance, upgrades, and replacement. Today, Tumwater residents can see that progress is being made on those projects. Our city recently finished repaving Capitol Way between Trosper and Israel Road. We’ve added pedestrian safety improvements like a flashing crosswalk along Capitol as well. And we’ve shortened the backlog of smaller but equally important maintenance projects like filling potholes. In terms of big-picture projects, the old Olympia Brewery has great potential to transform the northern sector of our city into a true business district. We can see progress here with the new Craft District. As a councilmember, I will work to ensure that the promises we make regarding taxpayer revenue and kept and upheld. I will work to ensure that we prioritize pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented development. And I will be a voice to ensure we have adequate bike lanes and a complete trails system.
Homelessness is a regional issue in Thurston County and needs a regional approach. Tumwater has a lot of open space – several hundred acres – so the issue is not as visible as other communities like in downtown Olympia. From experiences in my professional work as a pro bono civil rights attorney, I’ve met individuals who sleep in Tumwater’s open space but commute downtown for access to services because Tumwater does not offer a wide array of supports. I’d like to work with other city leaders, including Olympia and Lacey, to create an inter-jurisdictional municipal committee on housing stability and homelessness. Currently the issue is addressed piecemeal by the different jurisdictions. We also need to take a look in our own backyard. Tumwater does not have a strategic outreach plan for how to work with our homeless residents nor do we know what types of services they need in order to access opportunity.
We have a duty to ensure that our senior neighbors enjoy a high quality of life during their golden years. In my professional life, I’ve worked on numerous issues pertaining to seniors at the state level, including access to guardianship and assisted decision-making services and access to hearing aids for low-income seniors. As a city, we need an intentional approach to address the needs of the coming age wave. That includes ensuring we maintain affordable housing for our aging community, as well as physical accessibility and walkability measures.
While much of immigration policy is federal in nature, there is still much that cities can do to ensure that all our neighbors are welcome. Tumwater has already passed a resolution stating that Tumwater is a safe city for all residents and I support that resolution. It’s worth exploring whether housing discrimination based on immigration exists in our city as well.
Growth is a pressing issue facing Tumwater. Over the next 20 years, Tumwater is projected to increase in population by 70 percent. If we don’t manage our growth, we’ll end up with sprawl over our open space. We need to encourage more dense development along our transit spine in the Brewery District and along Capitol Way. I would also like to see more mixed-use development to increase walkability for Tumwater residents.
These are all critical issues for the future of Tumwater. That said, I think growth is an issue that is most urgent at the moment. How we deal with growth will impact the look and feel of our city over the next generation. Growth also impacts the other above issues including housing accessibility, homelessness, environmental sustainability, and infrastructure.
Tumwater is fortunate to have a Mayor that is committed to making our city an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. Ultimately, I’m a team player. I plan to work with him the same way that I work with anyone else – by having open lines of communication and finding common ground based on our shared values. I’ve worked closely with the mayor during my time on the Tumwater Planning Commission and he has endorsed my campaign for city council. Our campaign has also been endorsed by 6 of the current 7 city council members. I look forward to working with the mayor and the council on moving Tumwater forward.
Phone (206) 406-5165
Email chelsea.g.rustad@gmail.com
YouTube Video https://youtu.be/vSA_IJUz13M?t=41m18s
Town where you live Tumwater, WA
Experience (300 characters max) I have 10 years of public service with the state of Washington across three different agencies, including a role as a web developer at DOR, a system support analyst/tester at AOC, and currently a QA tester with DFW. In 2016 I was elected as a delegate at the Democratic Caucus for Precinct 34.
I believe that the biggest long-term environmental issue we must confront right away is the need to shift away from dirty fossil fuels to clean, sustainable energy. A green economy will create local jobs as we build up our infrastructure, save money in the long run as we decrease our dependence upon fossil fuels, and protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. To this end, we should expand upon the incentives available for consumers, businesses, and state agencies investing in 100% electric vehicles, and alternative energy sources such as solar power. As a solar panel owner myself, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible potential of solar as a practical, free source of endless energy that easily covers all of my electrical consumption needs, and pays for itself with the DOR tax refund, PSE annual incentive checks, 30% tax credit, MACRS depreciation credit, and more. In order to fight climate change, we must visibly and rapidly transition to a green local economy.
I will propose that Tumwater City Works provide subsidized employment opportunities to any Tumwater resident in need of work, with priority given to the homeless. This way, we can guarantee that good jobs are available to those with the greatest need, and Tumwater City Works will be empowered to continue the work of enriching, beautifying, and protecting our communities.

I will also propose that Tumwater shift to a progressive tax structure which will take advantage of the fact that Tumwater residents have the highest average income in all of Thurston County. By ensuring that the wealthiest residents are paying their fair share of taxes, funding for programs benefiting the homeless will be protected and expanded, and working class families will have a burden lifted. I will also work with local organizations and initiatives such as Just Housing and The Home Fund to bring long-term homelessness solutions to Tumwater and ensure services are evenly distributed throughout Thurston county.
I recognize the right of seniors to a dignified life, free from economic hardship, social isolation, and discrimination in employment and credit. Sufficient income, housing, health care, medication, and access to social services must be guaranteed to all elders. I oppose the privatization of the Social Security system and the use of Social Security trust funds for any other purpose, such as offsetting the federal deficit. I demand that the Social Security system remain entirely within the public sector, with funding derived from a steeply graduated income tax on all income, earned and unearned. I call for the inclusion of all state and local government workers within the Social Security System. I call for the right of retirement at age 55, and a minimum annual retirement income of $25,000, tax free, and protected from inflation by cost of living increases. The rights and needs of seniors in care facilities must be given careful consideration as well to ensure their safety.
I envision a world in which everyone will be able to freely move across borders, to visit and to live wherever they choose. I also recognize the central role global capitalism plays in forcing the immigration of people from the less developed to the more industrialized countries, often leading to further economic and social injustice. Therefore, I oppose the militarization of the Mexican border, and an increase in the service budget instead of the "military" budget of the INS. I defend the rights of all immigrants to education, health care, and full civil and legal rights, and call for an unconditional amnesty program for all undocumented people. I oppose the imposition of any fees on those receiving amnesty. I call for an end to the use of "secret evidence" in deportation hearings, a ban on all immigration detentions and military tribunals, and full due process for non-citizens in US territory. I call for full citizenship rights upon demonstrating residency for six months.
Sustainable energy: In conjunction with renewing the call for a PUD in Thurston county, we can save money on utilities for Tumwater residents as we further incentivize clean energy and educate the community about the benefits of solar and other renewable sources.

Police accountability: My long term goal will be replacing the police system entirely with community policing: a strategy for trusted, democratically chosen community leaders to proactively address the conditions which can give rise to crime.

$15 minimum wage: Seattle is proof of concept that Washingtonians are ready for a city-wide $15 wage, progressive taxation of the rich, and rent control to protect lower income city residents from increasingly unaffordable housing costs.

Women's health: I will propose that Tumwater make birth control pills and feminine hygiene products available to any city resident in need.

Worker's rights: Tumwater’s City Works should provide guaranteed subsidized public employment opportunities.
Brutality, lethal force, and targeted harassment of minorities and vulnerable groups (such as LGBT, the poor, the Black and brown community, and Muslims) by police is unacceptable to me. The recent death of a suicidal national guard reservist at the hands of Washington State Patrol in Lacey, as well as the killing of Charleena Lyles in Seattle when she had called police for help, heightens the urgency of stopping these needless deaths and reigning in out of control cops in our state. My short term goal for addressing this problem is to immediately establish an independent police oversight council composed of citizens, which would have final say in all hiring and firing decisions for our local PD, as well as replacing lethal weapons with non-lethal alternatives and mandatory de-escalation implementation. Tumwater must demonstrate leadership and send a strong message that LEO does not have carte blanche to target and murder marginalized citizens because they "feared for their life".
I have been working to build relationships with fellow candidates throughout Thurston County, and with the local city council members and political organizations so that I will be well equipped to hit the ground running and start doing the most good for the most people right away. It's important to have innovative ideas to tackle the problems facing residents of Tumwater, but it's just as important to ensure that those ideas can be realized by cementing a strong working relationship with the mayor as well. I will call upon the experts surrounding any given decision to shore up my policies, and will consider all perspectives pertaining to economics, infrastructure, long-term planning, political party input, labor unions, the street community, environmental considerations, and all other impacted areas when proposing ideas and working within the council to accommodate other opinions while maintaining the integrity of the platform and ideals that I am running on.

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