As your city council member, I have prioritized fixes to our city’s infrastructure – and I will continue to champion new solutions and investments in the future.
Lacey’s roads are consistently ranked among the best in the State. But that does not mean city leaders can sit back and rely on past success. Road maintenance is a continual investment, and city leaders have an obligation – for public safety and business development – to ensure we continue to invest in the upkeep of our roads. At the same time, considering our city’s growth, we must invest more to ensure our roads can withstand future growth.
Access to water is a matter of life and death. Over the last several years, I have fought for and backed additional water rights for our city. These new water rights have allowed for lifting the moratorium on building in North East Lacey, allowing for the continued growth of our community, resulting in more tax revenue without increasing taxes.
I am also proud of the work we have accomplished to ensure Lacey has the best park system in the South Sound and is a destination for people across the region. I support continuing this great legacy by expanding the options and drawing in more people from outside Lacey. The 500+ acre Greg Cuoio Park in North East Lacey provides endless opportunities for new experiences and attractions. Excellent parks help make our city more attractive to new residents and businesses.
While our city is growing in population, we’re also growing in land mass. We continue to maintain the largest urban growth area of any city in Thurston County. However, our city has made a few annexations in the last several years. Over time, these areas will have to be fully annexed. I believe in a careful and thoughtful approach to ensure each annexation is done at a time when it will benefit the current and future residents without causing an undue infrastructure burden.
Local government is responsible for prioritizing infrastructure for safety, sustainability given population growth, and consistent maintenance. With these goals in mind, I believe in prioritizing infrastructure to ensure our city’s continued health and growth.
As your city councilmember, I pushed for creating Mobile Outreach and Rapid Response Teams. These teams comprise dedicated professionals – including health care and social services professionals –on the front lines of the homelessness crisis. Mobile Outreach and Rapid Response Teams ensure that people experiencing homelessness receive the help they need, including treatment for conditions often accompanying those experiencing homelessness, like mental health and substance abuse struggles. The teams also help ensure that people experiencing homelessness transition from unsanitary and dangerous camping sites to permanent supportive housing.
The results are positive. More people experiencing homelessness have received help and entered supportive housing. And former encampments have been cleaned up and are not being reoccupied.
But the crisis is not over. We have more work to do.
We must expand our efforts to get people the help they need while holding them accountable for their actions. Building on my work on the city council, I’ll continue pushing for solutions that address the root causes of homelessness. While not always the case, mental health, and substance abuse often accompany homelessness.
Addressing homelessness effectively requires preventative measures. We must better address the mental health crisis by increasing the accessibility of treatment services in our community. We must also address the drug epidemic impacting our community at astonishing rates. That means training for law enforcement and emergency response teams. And it also means awareness campaigns highlighting the devastating effects of deadly drugs like fentanyl.
By collaborating with non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, and local businesses, we will use an evidence-based, community-centered approach to address homelessness compassionately.
Let me be clear: it is not compassionate to allow people experiencing homelessness to continue living in unsanitary conditions and suffer from mental health, or substance abuse struggles without treatment.
Working together, we must comprehensively help those experiencing homelessness, move them into supportive housing, and make their lives – and our city – a better place for everyone to live.
Although Lacey is now the most populous city in Thurston County, it has far less tax revenue than our closest neighbor. This means we have limited resources to solve some of the problems that come with growth, like the homelessness crisis and increasing crime rates.
However, the answer is NOT increasing taxes—it’s growing our business tax base.
I aim to build a business-friendly environment to attract and encourage businesses to move here and thrive.
While on the city council and with the business community’s involvement, I championed rewriting our city’s sign ordinance, which was behind the times. Our city now allows businesses to use various signage to inform potential customers of their products, services, and location. This small but necessary change has allowed more flexibility for businesses while maintaining Lacey’s character. It also resulted in more fairness between government entities and businesses.
We were able to add 1,000 more family-wage jobs in Lacey through zoning reform. We did this by implementing industrial zone changes that first increased the limit to building size from 200k sq ft to 500k sq ft, then – eventually – removed the limit altogether. Since then, we’ve seen very positive results with more family-wage jobs and additional business tax revenue.
We built a state-of-the-art “maker space.” This space has proved to be an excellent resource for community members, businesses, and students. It has launched several new products and businesses and produced protective equipment for our medical professionals during the height of the pandemic. It was made possible through partnerships with organizations like Saint Martin’s University, the Lacey Chamber, EDC, and SPSCC.
As a member of the Finance & Economic Development Committee and the General Government & Public Safety Committee, I ensure our city has the tax revenue to maintain responsible growth and keep our communities safe. Having the resources to solve pressing challenges associated with homelessness and public safety requires encouraging businesses to move into our city, create jobs, and – ultimately – bring revenue into our city. It is not about burdening working families and businesses with new taxes; it is about creating new revenue streams for our city and living within our means.
I’m proud of my work so far – and I am dedicated to continuing my work for another term on the city council.
Lacey is a fast-growing city. We are now the most populated city in Thurston County – which has presented severe challenges to public safety. When the Lacey Police Station was built, our city had a population of 15,000 and a police force of 15. We now have over 60,000 residents and 60 officers.
To accommodate our growth, I championed plans for a brand-new police station that will meet our city’s needs for the next 40 years. That means adding more officers and support staff to serve our community better and increasing services to improve rapid response rates. I’m proud that our city is building the $50M project without raising taxes – a rare achievement for a jurisdiction anywhere in the country.
I am proud of our progress in improving public safety, but I am aware of the work we must still accomplish. Lacey has the only state-accredited police department in Thurston County. The public can rest assured that our police force is equipped with the training to serve every community member – and that will remain a top priority. The great men and women who serve our community every day deserve the support of government leaders – at all levels. During my next term, I will work with the State Legislature to pass badly needed changes to give our police the ability to enforce our laws.
For far too long, we have seen crime rates surge because of flawed measures passed by the State Legislature. Meant to address the policing concerns, these measures, while well-intentioned, have effectively handcuffed police officers. As a result, the most vulnerable members of our community – including those whom these flawed measures were passed to help – have suffered the most. The men and women who bravely serve and protect our community simply can longer do their jobs effectively.
I want to see our community continue to grow and thrive. I will keep our community safe by supporting funding law enforcement and ensuring they have the tools they need. And I want everyone to feel secure knowing that our police officers are adequately equipped with the technology and training to serve to the best of their ability.
My support for law enforcement earned the endorsement of the Lacey Police Officers’ Guild and law enforcement leaders like Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders, former Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpont, and former County Sheriff John Snaza. I’m proud to have the support of dedicated law enforcement professionals who trust me to support their work in ensuring public safety.