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King County City of Renton Council Position No. 3

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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  • James Alberson
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Valerie O'Halloran
    (NP)

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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Mailing Address PO Box 2236
Renton, WA 98056
Phone (425)495-5795
Email valerieforteamrenton@hotmail.com
Town where you live Renton
Experience (300 characters max) I have 30 years’ professional experience in Accounting, Financial Analysis, Systems and Process Improvement. When I retired five years ago, I was a Senior Finance Systems Analyst for a major medical device manufacturer in the region.
I have served the community for 20 years in a variety of volunteer roles, largely around philanthropy and service organizations, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Renton Regional Community Foundation for nine years and currently as a member of the Executive Committee. I am running for City Council because I want to spend my time and talent doing something that has the potential to make a positive influence on people’s lives. Renton has the chance to meaningfully address our challenges and take advantage of the best of our opportunities, but we need experienced leadership with an understanding of our local communities and values. I feel compelled to serve, bringing my unique combination of financial expertise and proven commitment to better our city. By collaborating, implementing innovative solutions, and staying ahead of the curve, we can ensure Renton remains a great place to live, work, play, and learn.
I see Renton becoming even more of a Center for Opportunity in the Region over the next decade and beyond—so long as we plan for growth and don’t just let growth happen to us. We need to be deliberate and collaborative in terms of housing, jobs, transportation and our environment, so that all members of the community benefit from the opportunities and no one is disproportionately adversely affected by change. We are an inclusive community and we should rightly be proud of the fact that people of all walks of life want to call Renton home.
The Puget Sound Region is expected to grow by 1.8M people by 2050. Renton is poised to take its share of this growth. When we talk about growth, we tend to silo the topics of jobs, housing and transportation. I don’t think we can do that anymore. I believe we need to look at these issues comprehensively. People need to get from home to work in a way that makes sense for them, their families and the city. We need economic growth within the City with a variety of housing options so that people don’t have to sit in traffic for an hour to get where they are going. We also need better transit opportunities so folks can leave the car at home. Wouldn’t it be great to work in the city you live in and be able to commute by bus, bike or by walking?
Statistics tell us that cities are responsible for 70% of all CO2 and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Statistics also tell us that communities that are more diversified and less affluent suffer from environmental health related illnesses at a far greater rate than less diversified, affluent communities. I believe we need to assess and track the city’s CO2 and GHG emissions in order to measure progress. I will also engage the communities most impacted by climate change and ensure their voice is at the table as we explore policy solutions.

In 2014 Renton and 12 other cities entered into the King County Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C). This document represented a commitment from the signers to begin to take climate action at the municipal level. Although no specific action items were identified, still there are things that cities can do to begin to move the needle on this topic. To-date, little has been done in Renton.
Moody’s Global recently awarded Renton a AAA Municipal Bond Rating. This means that we can borrow at the lowest possible interest rates to take advantage of opportunities or respond to emergencies. We also have fully funded each reserve category to the level of best practices for cities. We have the ability to meet our obligations of planning, developing and maintaining quality services, infrastructure and quality of life amenities.
I believe homelessness is a regional issue that must be addressed using regional resources. City boundaries are meaningless when people are looking for shelter or services. The issues around homelessness are as varied and complex as the people who are experiencing it. We can’t treat this as a single umbrella topic when the reality is far more complex. We need humane yet enforceable laws to get people into shelters or rehab, or jail when criminal activity is involved. But we cannot do this alone. King County and the region must develop cohesive, collaborative actions to address the various needs. No one method will work for every individual situation or city. Let’s look at our rent regulations, build more affordable housing, and improve the accessibility of our human services like addiction and mental health treatment. We can’t solve homelessness overnight, but we must to do more on this critical issue to help those in need and protect public safety
Renton is the eighth most diversified city in the country. We are officially a minority-majority city. We welcome, include and empower people from all walks of life.
Renton will continue to promote safety, health and security through effective communication with, and service delivery to, residents and business owners. I am known as a collaborative problem-solver who seeks out input from all stakeholders. I gather as much information as possible from everyone impacted and make data-driven decisions based on that feedback. As a Councilmember, I will conduct myself as a servant leader and will listen carefully to the people of Renton.