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King City of Kent Council Position No. 7

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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  • Awale A. Farah

  • Candidate picture

    Zandria Michaud

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

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

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

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

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

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Phone (360) 292-0470
Town where you live Kent
I am a longtime Kent resident, community volunteer, Army veteran, mother, and police officer’s spouse, I have a broad view of Kent’s issues and an understanding of how city government works. For the past 5 years as a member of Kent’s Parks and Recreation Commission, I have been advocating for the residents of Kent regarding parks, open space, and recreation topics. As a member of this commission, I have successfully advocated for more funding for Kent’s parks system. From my time as a Green Kent Steward, youth basketball coach, and former Kent School District employee, I have met and worked with a diverse range of people from Kent and understand their unique challenges.
I believe that Kent can be a great place to live, play, and work and I want all Kent residents to have the best quality of life possible. The people of Kent deserve clean, beautiful parks and a safe and vibrant community. Crime prevention means not only investing in our police but also in our youth and creating a clear homelessness strategy. I want Kent's officers visible and present in public spaces and engaged with our community. I also want to protect and invest in our parks, open spaces, and environment, and encourage businesses to occupy existing, empty storefronts in the downtown core and other shopping areas. We must also focus on those with the most needs in our community. We need to ensure there are adequate social, health, and housing resources for seniors, veterans, and homeless communities. I will work toward all of these goals while also achieving financial stability for the city.

There is no doubt a huge financial challenge in Kent. The city lost a huge revenue source when the State Legislature changed the local retail sales tax to destination-based. We must continue lobbying for state streamlined sales tax mitigation funds while we continue to find other solutions. The city must become creative in finding things to cut from the budget. Homelessness and affordable housing are other challenges that Kent and the greater region are facing. There needs to be a significant societal shift to address these two issues successfully.
We, as a society, can no longer ignore climate change. Citizens and governments at all levels must do their part. The city council can pass ordinances for individuals and businesses mandating or prohibiting certain activities, but the larger issues like habitat restoration and cleanups will require a larger funding commitment. This means advocating and getting support from organizations and county, state, and federal funds for environmental projects. I have consistently and will continue to fight to save open spaces and parks from development. We must preserve open spaces for future generations and rehabilitate our waterways for salmon habitat. These things require a commitment from our legislators.
As Kent’s population continues to grow, so does the traffic on our roads. This traffic creates more wear on our roads. In order to alleviate some of this, we need to not only fix our roads but also make Kent more pedestrian, public transportation, and bike friendly. High-density housing should be built near high-capacity public transit stations. There are a lack of sidewalks and bike lanes and lack of reliable public transportation on the East Hill. The council needs to continue to work with King County Metro to get more bus routes there and they also need to invest in building more sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.
Homelessness is a complicated issue which American cities have not yet figured out. As a society, we must address the root causes of homelessness, some of which include a lack of resources for addicts and people with mental health issues, and a lack of affordable housing. I believe in a multi-prong approach for Kent. This involves having a 3-department team go out into homeless encampments. The team consists of a police officer to keep everyone safe and explain any law violations; the second person is a social worker who can provide social and mental and physical health resources, and connect individuals to organizations to help with job and housing placement; the third person should be from the public works department to make a note of the location of the encampment, document what needs to be cleaned up and hauled away, and assess the area for prevention measures. Finally, there needs to be follow-up with the individual and location.
America is made up of immigrants and Kent is lucky to have such a diverse community of refugees and immigrants from all over the world. They make Kent a more culturally rich place to live. Immigrants deserve to be treated as individuals not otherized and stereotyped as a group. Furthermore, we should not be separating children from their parents. Having worked in the nurse’s office at a Kent elementary school, I learned a lot about the challenges of refugees and immigrant communities. The families I met believed in the American Dream and were trying to get out of horrible conditions in their home countries. America is built on these ideas. People deserve a chance at a better life. Having lived outside the U.S. myself, I know how difficult it is to try to learn a foreign language and culture not to mention navigate a complicated health system. We must work to guide individuals to become self-sufficient.
Communication needs to move beyond providing information at public meetings and on social media and a nonusable website. Meaningful communication is two-sided and should provide some benefit to both parties. The city can and should do much more to ensure better engagement. I strongly believe in meaningful political engagement with citizens and I extensively researched this very topic in my recent Honors thesis and cited various examples of engagement which increase democracy in city-level government.

There is a difference between simply providing and collecting information and allowing citizens to make real changes in their communities. People might be more interested in attending meetings if they actually had the chance to deliberate and work with the council on issues. Additionally, providing information on a difficult-to-use website does not count as good government transparency. So, the solution is to get more people involved in the decision-making processes early on.