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Pierce County PENINSULA METROPOLITAN PARK DISTRICT Commissioner Pos. 4

4-year term; No salary. A Parks & Recreation District is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the public parks and recreation facilities within their jurisdiction, as well as the acquisition of other parks space as funds provide and is appropriate. The commission sets the general policies and workplan of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional parks and recreation staff. One of commission's main duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any parks levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget, whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for district employees.

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  • Candidate picture

    Laurel Kingsbury
    (NP)

  • William C. (Bill) Sehmel
    (NP)

Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

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

What are three major issues facing your park and district?

How do you want to address these issues?

What part should your district play in your area’s environmental health?

What type of facilities do your county parks need at this time?

Phone (253) 973-1344
Email kingsbury253@gmail.com
Town where you live Gig Harbor
Experience (300 characters max) Eight years of teaching; Government Relations Coordinator with the U.S. Olympic Committee; Staffer with U.S. Congressman; Treasurer and Board Member Gig Harbor Cooperative Preschool; CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster kids); Soccer Coach
We are a rapidly growing community, which is understandable when you take note of where we live. (I always tell my students “We live in the best corner of the world, go out and see for yourself!”). This growth is exciting, however, in order to preserve the beautiful and enticing aspects of our community, which has either drawn newcomers or kept long-termers, we need to ensure that we stay healthy, vibrant and unique. A robust parks department is vital to this. The health and longevity of a community, socially, physically and fiscally is directly tied to its park & rec department. I appreciate our current board as they have shown to ask deep questions and make intelligent decisions during the many board meetings I have attended. The person filling this role must be able to think critically, be reflective, ask meaningful questions, make well thought out decisions, work well with others and most of all hold a passion and conviction to serve our community. I can and will do so.
First and foremost, I am a community member invested and rooted here in the Greater Gig Harbor area. Over the past several years I have attended PenMet Park board meetings as an interested and concerned citizen, cultivating an inquisitive mind and discerning ear in regards to the development and maintenance of all things regarding PenMet Parks. As a teacher, a tutor, and previously as a staffer with the US Congress, as Government Coordinator for the US Olympic Committee , as a soccer coach, and also as the Treasurer for a 501(C)(3) I hold a wide variety of experiences and tools necessary to ensure the job well done.
I think the first major issue facing PenMet Parks is the rapid growth and development of our beloved area. Carving out more, and preserving current, natural spaces to track with our rapid growth is a number one priority.

Second, a healthy parks department caters to all ages and various groups. Ensuring that our Seniors to our early learners to adults with special needs to all levels of youth sports to our dog families are all able to access appropriate programs, activities, trails and natural spaces in a financially and physically feasible manner is crucial.

And third, the thoughtful and intelligent establishment and managing of the indoor recreation center which is currently in the works is an immediate and pressing issue that must be executed with skillful oversight and a careful vision.
As with any and all issues, the most important thing is to first and foremost educate oneself as thoroughly as possible about the topic at hand. I do this by gathering information through various media forms and methods (interviews, in-person conversations, academic and op-ed articles, researching opposing and contradicting views, etc…). Then with input from the public, the stake-holders, staff, experienced board members and personal research I would begin to formulate a fair and honest opinion and move forward with conviction.

And with each issue at hand, I believe that communication with full transparency is essential. I plan to stay connected to the public through social media platforms, personal conversations, working closely with our director and staff, and being flexible and available.
Park departments are crucial stake-holders in environmental health, and I believe it is vital that we take our role as stewards of our natural spaces, resources and habitat seriously with purposeful and mindful long-term planning and conscientious development. It is also vital that while doing so we keep the fiduciary responsibility of managing and spending tax dollars, a crucial component of this position, at the forefront of any and all decision making processes.
Besides the indoor rec center, which is underway and soon to be developed, I think that we could use some more play structures or play grounds for families with younger kids (including those that are “kids at heart"). Also, I would like to look at the development of trails and a more accessible access to beaches, picnic areas and woodlands. I also would like to explore the possibilities of community partnerships with the thought of establishing or supporting nature centers, that might include bird watching, beach exploring, or maybe even something with an entomology focus! All ideas worth at least some consideration!
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