Town where you live
I have been a resident of Aberdeen for 10 years and have successfully helped start a business and run my own here in Aberdeen. I have been a volunteer with the 7th Street KIDS organization for 9 years and have volunteered with city cleanup projects, Comcast Cares Day events at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport and with the Aberdeen Beautification planting and clean up events. I volunteer with the youth programs of our church organization. I have also had work experience in the private sector that has given me training and experiences that will be an asset to the city. I am a wife and mother of six children and have a vested interest in the future of our community.
I envision a city where the streets are clean and inviting. Where individuals will come to visit and explore a variety of businesses throughout our city and our downtown core. I would like to see polices set and enforced that give our city a unified vision for the future and where people want to do business. I believe this can be accomplished in the near future with the creation of the Creative Arts District and other local business agencies. We want to be a business friendly community and need to make sure our polices are the same.
We need synergistic strategic planning and economic development within the city that will help us achieve this vision in the shortest amount of time possible. We need a city administrator if we do not have a full time Mayor to help guide these projects along. We need to work collaboratively as a council with our excellent city staff to achieve these goals, and communicate effectively so that this can be accomplished.
We have a great stewardship living along the river fronts and harbor. Our city staff are dedicated to maintaining those spaces. We also have wonderful community volunteers who work tirelessly to clean up our shorelines and waterways. We cannot ever loose focus of this valuable resource and we would be wise to develop our waterfront for more than just industrial use. The Highway 12 railway separation project will be vital in this endeavor as well.
We are currently mitigating some of the biggest issues regarding infrastructure. The largest of which being the flood mitigation project. This will benefit our residents and businesses and city greatly by reducing the insurance burden due to the risk we are currently at with no flood wall in place. Funding has already been secured for the project and it is under way. The highway bridges are also being replaced which will help secure safe passage in and around Aberdeen for years to come.
We must first look at our economy, in Aberdeen, on the grander scale. We need more living wage employment opportunities in Aberdeen specifically. An estimated 90% of retail space above ground level is available in Aberdeen for lease. We just need to do the work to recruit good fits (businesses) into our economy. We need affordable housing. We have large government agencies that have all the resources people need to get out of poverty, addiction and homelessness, IF they are willing to use them. In the interim, we need to set policies that will help all citizens of Aberdeen feel safe and have the opportunity to be successful and that will attract investment capital to our area to develop more apartment and affordable housing.
We should enforce existing state and federal law.
Townhall meetings and meet and greets are always a good informal way to communicate with the citizens. Monthly news letters on the city website would be a beneficial form of communication. Being available at city hall is an important step in helping the community feel we as their representatives are concerned about what they are concerned about. Courtesy and prompt communication are important skills of any civic leader.
Town where you live
As your city council representative, I will bring working experience, realistic expectations and a commitment to making Aberdeen a better place to live. Over the past 45 years I have worked and volunteered in the communities where I lived. I am employed as a full-time bookkeeper, continue to be involved in Habitat for Humanity of Grays Harbor and recently stepped up to work on the Aberdeen School Budget Advisory Committee. I have a secretarial degree, worked in banking and owned my own licensed day care. I know how to work hard, focus on goals, and plan for the future while dealing with day to day challenges.
I see the city of Aberdeen for what it can be. I would like to focus on the future of our city and work through the current housing and homeless challenges we currently face. We need to grow our business base, work to develop affordable housing opportunities and spur private investment in our community.
Adequate Resources to fund these projects is always a challenge. There is a lack of family wage jobs that deters growth in our community. People opposed to change in the community is another issue. We need to create a groundswell of support to make positive changes in our community.
We need to strive to find balance between protecting our environment for future generations and allowing for local business to sustain our community. The key is working together to find this balance.
Aberdeen currently faces many challenges including flood plain management, lack of affordable housing, traffic issues on the thoroughfare through town, train traffic, and lack of accessible broadband for all which impacts our ability to attract new business and families to our community. We need to continue to improve our area by meeting the needs of potential businesses, families and private investors.
We need to begin by bringing all the parties together: the City, the County, business owners, service providers, churches, community members, neighboring communities and start talking. Short term we need a safe place for people to sleep and meet their basic needs. Long term we need to encourage development of services in the area which allows for homeless to move forward with their lives. We need to improve low income housing opportunities. Habitat for Humanity believes in a ‘hand up – not a hand out’ and that is the perfect motto for dealing with our current homelessness situation in our community.
I am aware that undocumented immigrants live and work in our surrounding area. I know business is dependent on the labor force they provide. The communities and the County should work together to provide documentation that allows this work force to live and work in our community but be able to monitor / track their being here.
Communication is key in all aspects of our daily lives: family, work and community. All council meetings are open to the public. There is radio and newspaper coverage at the meetings. Staying connected is an important part of being involved in your community and not just when you are upset about something. It is nice to focus on positive changes as well. One idea I’ve seen work is a monthly email highlighting what’s happening or updating a Facebook page with current information.