Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Banking – Bookkeeping – Teller – Computer Support, Commercial fishing, Fisheries Observer, Water and Wastewater treatment
As a fourth generation Burlington family, I care deeply for our community. I knew I must run for mayor when Mayor Sexton decided to pursue an additional career, making Burlington a second priority and leaving city hall with a lack of elected leadership. When he placed on the table his perceived mayoral duties to be negotiated and accomplished by staff and council I knew the citizens of Burlington deserved better.
I will make valuable contributions by opening all lines of communication throughout the city, accomplishing our community’s goals and ideas while promoting vigilant stewardship over public funds.
It would be my honor to lead Burlington as Mayor.
Departmental over spending and/or spending without authorization of tax payer dollars. Asking for permission after the money has been spent.
The establishment and maintenance of an adversarial relationship between Mayor and Council.
No to low effective Mayoral supervision of the city finance department. Allowing for the city’s finance department and city records to fall into crisis.
The most urgent being the situation going on in the finance department. Since the beginning of the year when city council began learning of the extent of what was going on, the situation has only continued to grow and worsen. Direct costs to date exceed 140,000 dollars, spent trying to make things right. It is being communicated to me that there is much more to be done and it will likely take more than a year to get things straightened out fully. The Mayor is currently proposing to council that we make millions of dollars in budget adjustments to get us through the remainder of the year. I believe this situation in our city finance department is adversely affecting operations in city departments that rely on sound, accurate, and timely information. As well as affecting the decisions of City Council, our city partners, and the public. Right now the only absolute about what is going on is that it is costing the tax payers big time!
I will provide accurate and timely information with open, honest, and informative communication. I will seek out conversations, encourage participation and collaboration, offer respect, and build trusting relationships.
I believe in environmental stewardship. Understanding and adhering to the laws protecting our environment will benefit our community, our waterways, and our future. We must also provide sound policies and procedures to ensure adherence to these laws and make sure that they are easily available.
I support many of the investments we have made, and will likely continue to make, into the Burlington Blvd. retail corridor. However, I will continue to advocate for a shifting of some resources to our residential neighborhoods where there are unpaved streets, gravel shoulders, and no sidewalks. All Burlington citizens should have safe walkways!
Additionally, constant and continuous updating and maintenance of our streets and sewer infrastructure must be a high priority. The failure of these systems is not only inconvenient but can be a health hazard and extremely costly.
Furthermore, I will advocate for an expansion of our parks facilities. More bathrooms at Skagit River Park. It’s no secret how popular our parks are, we must support and maintain them.
Adhere to applicable Federal and State laws.
Homelessness is a complex issue. It is an issue that Burlington cannot solve on our own. We must continue to be a part of discussions with the County, our city partners, and the public. These discussions offer local collaborative input and help to guide the use of finite resources. I will continue to support efforts that help people out of homelessness and offer pathways to a more stable living situation. I will also seek to enforce our nuisance and vagrancy laws. I don’t think its ok for someone to litter, defecate or urinate in public, or openly use drugs in public places. Enforcing our laws can be done concurrently, while working compassionately toward solutions.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Insurance Agent: 2017-2018
Mortgage Banker/Owner: 1997-2017
Real Estate Broker/Manager: 1993-1997
General Manager Mitzels American Kitchen: 1990-1993
Over the past 8 years, we have made tremendous strides in the City of Burlington by establishing a Leadership team made up of high performing professionals to head up our city departments. We have just gotten started on the good things we can get done in our city, and I am the leader to take us to doing great things for our citizens.
The city of Burlington is really an approximately $40 Million per year non-profit organization, employing on average 180 people and providing a variety of services to our citizens, businesses, and visitors. Most of my professional career I have spent managing businesses of my own, or for others. I have managed hundreds of employees over the years, and have built up teams that saw increases in productivity and effectiveness.
I do not want to see us take steps back in the progression we are experiencing. My staff and I are committed to bringing a higher level of services to the citizens of Burlington and the local government they deserve and are proud of.
1) Opioid addiction crisis. In Skagit County nearly 950,000 needles were exchanged through the countywide needle exchange program in 2017. That is a staggering amount for a county of 127,000 people. We see the impacts of this on our streets, parks, library, and businesses every day.
2) Shortages in police department staffing
3) Salary increases outpacing growth in city revenues.
The opioid addiction crisis is the issue of greatest importance and is growing. It is estimated that there were nearly 1,600 opioid users who inject drugs in Skagit County in 2017. The costs are enormous in terms of lives lost to overdose, loss of production, cost to local governments in providing first responders and emergency services, and losses to our businesses and residences from theft to support this addiction.
The answer to this issue involves more than just a city making changes...the changes to be system wide. Police can arrest people all day long, but if the jail will not take them and judges will not hand out consequential punishments, the system breaks down and fails us all. The entire system need to be built up to put consequences for these illegal behaviors in place, while providing programs to assist people in breaking these destructive habits. We need more support for medically assisted treatments as a longer term answer. More funding for long term rehab facilities.
I served on the City Council for two years prior to being elected Mayor in 2011. I remember how frustrating it was when items were brought before the council with little warning or preparation. Since I began my first term as Mayor, we have had a policy that council agenda items be discussed in a Council Committee first, so we can get feedback from the 3 council members that sit on those committees. The City Council has 2 roles in local government...to pass our budget every year and to formulate policy. Operations within the city as well as employee management are left entirely to the Mayor. When those roles are respected and supported, things go very well in our city. My staff tries to do everything we can to inform council in regard to their roles, helping them to make informed decisions.
The City of Burlington operates under an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) which regulates our storm water quality that is discharged into Gages Slough and the Skagit River. In addition, our Wastewater Treatment Plant has received and excellence award from the Washington State Department of Ecology for operating with no discharges into the Skagit River. On of the projects I am very excited about is replacement of our street lighting with LED lighting from PSE. We are on the list to get this completed this year. The energy savings will be huge, not only for our environment, but also will result in a reduction in our billing to PSE. Looking forward, we will be analyzing the use of solar panels on our city buildings to not only help our environment, but save our citizens money.
Currently we have $10 Million in projects slated for funding over the next 5 years. These are all important projects. However, the one project we are still looking for funding for is to construct an overpass over the north/south railroad tracks running through Burlington. Not only is this a project that would ease traffic, but more importantly would solve a life/safety issue, as our police and fire departments are on one side of the tracks, and most of our residential development is on the other. Absent the ability to complete this project in the next few years, we should begin planning for a substation for fire/police on the other side of the tracks.
Another project we have been focusing on for the last 4 years is expansion of our municipal fiber network to connect over 30 businesses to high speed broadband internet service. We also created a free wi-fi zone at Skagit River Park, and the next phase is to create a free wi-fi zone for the entire city to provide internet access or all.
Immigration, be it legal or illegal is not a city issue, but rather a federal issue. As Mayor, I have taken an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States...it is not up to cities to pick and choose or to determine on their own what is constitutional and what is not, and which laws will be followed and which will not. When state or local agencies interpret what they feel is Constitutional or not, in regard to immigration for example, in my opinion they are not living up to their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution as it does not give them that power instead they are subverting the Constitution.
I think we first need to define "homelessness". We have "homeless" among us. Folks that cannot afford current housing prices, experiencing job loss, and do not have a place of their own to live. Then we also have "street people". These are the people often times dealing with drug addiction and/or mental health issues. These are the people we see on our streets, our parks, and they use scarce resources from our Police and Fire mainly. I have put forth and will continue to push for the idea of using our former county jail (after a light remodel) as a shelter. People could get a bed, a shower, their clothes washed, a meal, and most importantly health care providers could be there to meet them where they are, to assist them in whatever road to recovery they may need. It is a facility that has a 30 year history of housing people, and could be an asset in our effort to help these people turn their lives around. We do not need to find a place for a shelter, but better use current assets.