Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Pierce CITY OF TACOMA Council at Large Pos. 6

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $46,014The 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
  • Candidate picture

    Lillian Hunter (NP) Director of Alternative Learning - Washington State

  • Candidate picture

    Meredith Neal (NP) Project Manager

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

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

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

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

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

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

Phone (253) 219-5419
Party Preference Democrat
Town where you live Tacoma
Experience (300 characters max) Director of Alternative Learning - OSPI; Trustee and former Chair Bates Technical College; Trustee and former Chair Tacoma Public Library; Teacher @ Lincoln High School; Assistant Principal @ Lincoln and Wilson High School; Principal at Oakland High School.
We need to invest in our strengths, like the Port of Tacoma and the waterfront, without compromising our commitment to natural resources and safety. We need infrastructure improvements from sewer and wastewater capacity to waterline upgrades. All neighborhoods in Tacoma should get an equitable share of infrastructure improvements. Homeowners, especially seniors, need financial assistance in paying for expensive side sewer repairs. We also need a regional transportation plan that is affordable, accessible to all, and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

I support more resources for mental health and combating alcohol and opioid addiction which often contribute to chronic homelessness. As a teacher, principal and college trustee, I know that education and quality job training are crucial for a strong workforce and especially key for those at risk of homelessness. Early intervention to prevent homelessness starts in our public schools. I will continue to support dropout prevention and increased graduation rates in our local schools. I will work to establish smart partnerships between the City, school district, Bates Technical College, TCC, UPS, and UW-Tacoma and the Workforce Investment Board.
Senior citizens have earned the right to decent housing and to feel safe in their homes. It is not OK for them to be burglarized and told nothing can be done. Support for our most critical services is imperative for all seniors like EMS, fire and police. I will protect funding and work to improve response times. Our City has more to do when it comes to helping many of our seniors who are veterans. The "revolving door" approach to mental health and homelessness disproportionately impacts veterans. The city must collaborate with our county partners, service providers and faith-based communities to address these issues and honor the contributions of our senior citizens to our community.

I am a naturalized citizen who came to this country from Denmark with my parents. After living through the German occupation of their country during WWII, my parents came here, with their daughters, seeking a better life. My bricklayer father taught me the art of perseverance and a strong work ethic, and insisted that giving back to our community was one of our greatest responsibilities as citizens. I’ve held on to those values, and believe others should have the opportunity to pursue freedom and prosperity as well.
We need good jobs, safe neighborhoods and clean air/clean water. It starts with reaching out to businesses and finding out what we can do to increase their ability to hire, cut red tape, and assist in strategic development. Public safety has an impact on all of us and safe neighborhoods start with restoring the deep cuts that were made during the recession. Lastly, I support common sense infrastructure improvements like sewer and wastewater upgrades that are vital to our clean air and clean water.
Keeping Tacoma safe is the most critical role for local government. I support community policing and other neighborhood-centered efforts to address crime, including burglary, car theft and other property crimes. We also need targeted infrastructure improvements especially near our schools. Tacoma’s kids should not be forced to walk to school in the morning on unlit streets. The city must continue to focus on improving our streets and walkways.
The Tacoma City Council needs to be more disciplined in decision making, communication plan and outreach to constituents. They need a principal who knows how to build consensus and get things done. I’ve been a high school principal, a teacher and college trustee. I have experience which qualifies me for this position. My strategy will be to work with the Mayor, the Council, and the City Manager to make our neighborhoods safer and better places to live and work. The City Council should not be a stepping stone to higher office. I’m running because I've lived in each of the five council districts and I understand the strengths and priorities of each of Tacoma neighborhoods. I'm optimistic about Tacoma, but we need change. We can do better by our citizens and I want to be part of that effort. Elected officials must understand that our role is to serve the citizens. I will champion this perspective as your City Council member.
Phone (253) 480-5221
Party Preference Democrat
Town where you live Tacoma
Experience (300 characters max) Education: M.A. Organizational Leadership, Antioch University. B.A. Urban Planning, The Evergreen State College, Tacoma. Community Service: City of Tacoma Planning Commissioner, YWCA Board, Washington-Hoyt Elementary PTA, Forterra Regional Leadership Council, Arcadia Montessori Auction Co-Chair
In Tacoma we have aging infrastructure that hasn’t been maintained properly. We have streets that are literally turning back to gravel with potholes that make it treacherous to navigate many streets. We have incomplete sidewalk networks that mean every 8 days a child walking or biking is hit by car, with a disproportionate number being in the Hilltop, Eastside and Southend neighborhoods. We have an undersized stormwater system that floods Puget Sound with contaminants during heavy rainstorms.

We need to double down on infrastructure spending and address these problem heads on. The streets initiative is a good first step, but we need to keep that momentum going to fix roads, complete sidewalks, add bike lanes, and have a more robust stormwater management plan for off-site management. I will advocate for policies that improve our infrastructure citywide and ensure that improvements are equitable across all neighborhoods.
I support implementing a housing first strategy to provide permanent housing for our homeless population. This past January I volunteered for the point-in-time homeless count, and it was an eye-opening experience, particularly in talking to those who were categorized as chronically homeless. Many of them self identify as having a mental health issue and subsequent substance abuse issues as they attempt to self medicate. We need to give them more support and dignity through robust community partnerships.

The pop-up encampments that the city is building are a good first step to address basic human and provide an access point for supportive services. But the real work is the next step to get people into housing, preferably permanent supportive housing. To do this, we will need to address root causes of homelessness and addiction, address mental health treatment options, and focus on supportive services.
I want Tacoma to be a good place to retire in, which means ensuring that we can provide our seniors with housing and access to the best medical care. Currently there is a shortage of senior housing units for fixed income seniors in the city and as part of my plan to increase affordable housing I want to ensure that a percentage of units are reserved for seniors.

I will advocate for policies that support and promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access and improved quality for our most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and elderly adults. I will also advocate for community based supports such as senior centers and senior programs to provide classes, and programming that reflect every language, culture, nationality, and identity, and provide connections to improve mental and physical health.
I believe that it is important the city approach the issue of immigration humanely and with compassion. I do not support the current administration immigration policy and I have great concerns about private detention centers. I support the steps our city has taken to be a welcoming city, and would support Tacoma becoming a sanctuary city.

I am proud of our school district and places of worship for stating that they are safe zones and making sure that immigrant populations know that they and their children are safe, welcomed and respected. Immigrants should be able to send their kids to school, attend their place of worship and seek medical care without fear.
The two largest issues facing the whole of the City of Tacoma, are access to safe affordable housing and living wage jobs. Tacoma has historically been fairly affordable and had many good living wage jobs, and both of those are in danger.

For housing, I believe that we need to add more housing inventory at all levels, and we need to review building incentives to more strongly encourage affordable units in new projects. For jobs, we need to strengthen city support of new and growing businesses, attract good employers with living wage jobs, and encourage more workforce development and skilled trades apprenticeships.
Ensuring that Tacoma can offer affordable housing to its residents is the issue of greatest concern to me. Tacoma has had rent and real estate price spikes which have topped national charts for 2017. Tacoma has historically been affordable and its important to me that we support all of our residents, old and new, and don’t displace current residents. If elected I want to determine what affordable housing for Tacoma residents means, and take concrete steps towards increasing the number of available units. As part of this, I would like to see more permanent supportive housing options for our homeless population, focusing first on chronically homeless, who often are disabled or have mental health issues. I will also advocate for homeless family housing - as a mom of two young children, it breaks my heart that we have 1,300 homeless children in our public schools.
I am a pragmatic leader who believes that to be an effective member of the City Council one must possess the ability to build consensus, and the willingness to listen and consider all parties. In both my day job and my work on non-profit boards, I use communication skills and leadership methods I learned while studying for my Masters degree in Organizational Leadership, and have honed over the last 15 years. I believe in deeply listening, transparency, a collaborative approach and making sure that a diversity of opinions are represented in any decision making process. logo


All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.