See https://www.facebook.com/JimMerritt4Mayor/ for videos as the campaign progresses.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Business owner, architect, planner, and facilitator for over 30 years. Expertise in collaborating with citizens, nonprofits, schools, city, county, and port authorities to find solutions to challenges in Tacoma. Examples are the 509 Cable stay bridge, Tacoma Union Station, the Foss Waterway & more!
I'm running for Mayor to change the culture of our local government. Tacoma should work with its citizens, not against them. As an architect, urban planner, and facilitator, it has been my area of expertise bring governments and citizens together to find common ground solutions. I want to bring this to the city council, so that local government asks the public first. A vote for me isn’t a vote for an agenda- it's a vote for a seat at the table.
Jobs: Businesses with good family-wage jobs are leaving Tacoma, and new businesses are hesitant to locate here due to an unresponsive city council and permitting difficulties.
Vision for Tacoma: Tacomans do not all agree on what we want to be as a city leading to constant fighting about development, the port and more.
Public safety: Citizens are concerned for their neighborhoods. We need to restore funding to police and fire as soon as possible to ensure our residents and workers are safe.
If we do not get good jobs to Tacoma now, we will be begin to undo the progress we have made in making Tacoma an exceptional place to live, work, and raise our families.. With rising rents, the demand for more family-wage jobs is crystal clear. Bringing jobs to Tacoma will greatly reduce traffic, increase our tax base, and allow families in Tacoma to thrive and provide for themselves. A Mayor, with my background and connections in the private sector, I will ensure jobs are the priority.
Senior citizens are impacted by so many of the decisions made by the city council but can find themselves left out of the discussion or seen as an afterthought. With many senior citizens on fixed incomes, they are often hit the hardest by cuts to services or rising costs. Ensuring access to affordable housing, easing health care costs where applicable, and always being attentive and responsive to their issues are just some of the commitments I make to senior citizens as Mayor of Tacoma.
Tacoma must do right for our people. The raiding of churches, schools, hospitals, courthouses, and other sensitive locations by ICE is not acceptable. Keeping people for years on end in detention centers without due process is not acceptable. Respect, dignity, and humanity for all of Tacoma’s residents- including our immigrant communities- is good for business, good for families, and good for Tacoma.
Traffic on I-5 is disrupting the daily lives of residents all over the city. This has spilled over onto the 509, and emergency vehicles are not able to make it to the port if there is an emergency. Ruston Way will soon be unable to accommodate the traffic from the waterfront to Point Ruston. Roads are not adequate and many parts of the city feel especially neglected and ignored. As taxes increase, many citizens are concerned that they are not seeing a return on their investment in the city.
Those who are formerly homeless, have recovered from addiction, received mental health treatment and so on hold valuable firsthand insight into the homelessness issue. I do not believe in spending millions of dollars to simply warehouse people in tents. I believe in truly investing in our community to provide people experiencing homelessness with dignity, education, and opportunity to get back on their feet.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Former Deputy Mayor & Tacoma City Councilmember; Chair, Community Vitality and Public Safety Committee; Chair, Tacoma/Pierce County Board of Health; Chair, Tacoma Gang Reduction Project; Past President, Metro Parks Board
Tacoma is growing. Important decisions lie ahead, and we need leaders in office who will keep the “Tacoma of tomorrow” affordable for everyone. I’m running for Mayor to create a climate of opportunity Tacoma’s families and businesses can thrive in. I’m a graduate of Tacoma Public Schools and have over 30 years of proven service as a US Army Veteran, non-profit leader, and
public servant. My collaborative leadership and positive vision for our city will help Tacoma move forward together.
As I’ve been listening to voters at their doors, the three issues I hear about the most are: retaining and attracting businesses to Tacoma that will create more family-wage jobs, reinvesting in public safety to speed up response times, and protecting our safety net with a focus on solutions for homelessness, mental health, and affordable housing. Tacoma has boundless potential ahead of us, and we need to create opportunities for everyone in our city to fulfill their destiny.
Attracting and retaining businesses that create family wage jobs is most critical. We must work to create a climate that propels small and local business to grow and thrive. If we grow our economy we will have funding to reinvest in public safety and address our safety net issues. We need better access to better paying, jobs with benefits for our residents.
Senior citizens in our community deserve to live in city where they are valued and cared for. How we treat our elders is an indication of how well a society functions. Senior citizens and other vulnerable adult care needs are extensive and require a holistic viewpoint - especially when you consider the importance of, whenever possible, allowing elderly populations to stay in their home. That's why affordability is an issue we must address. I’ve experienced this issue first hand, recently my mom, a senior citizen in our community, was displaced from a house she rented for over 24 years. It was difficult to find an affordable new home for my mother. I am deeply committed to looking at new partnerships and programs to fill these needs of senior citizens in our community.
Advocating for national immigration reform is critical. Tacoma does not have policies or laws that negatively impact immigrants, and I will continue to support this strategy. It is important that our immigrant communities feel safe working in Tacoma, receiving social services, dealing with law enforcement and sending their children to school. We will not allow the trump administration to bully the City of Tacoma or our immigrant community.
Our streets are in need of repair. As a city councilmember I worked to pass Fix Tacoma Streets, an investment in our local infrastructure, and I would strongly support similar investments. These investments are vital to maintaining and building Tacoma’s local economy. From investing in our streets to local projects that increase job growth, I will continue to invest in community projects to increase the diversity of job opportunities that provide living wage jobs.
As a city councilmember I advocated for more investment to address homelessness issues and worked to build a stronger system for combating homelessness. We increased funding to focus on a continuum of services that ensures all needs are being addressed including housing, mental health, and employment. As Mayor I will continue to find permanent solutions to break the cycle of homelessness in our city.