Representing the people of the 3rd Council District of Pierce County continues to be an honorable privilege. As always, I have been working hard to represent your interests and address your concerns.
In the past, my goals were working to create discounts for our veterans and seniors in our Pierce County Parks system, as well as maintaining a balanced budget, securing funding for major projects in the district, and continuing to crack down on drug and property crimes, all without raising taxes. I worked the best I could with others to get things done and was able to accomplish something in each area, while refusing to compromise on our core principles.
My constitutional duty as your representative is clearly defined in the Washington State Constitution, Article 1, Section 1 Political Power. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.
Recently, I watched a federal senate hearing, investigating the harmful effects of government overregulation on underprivileged communities, a concept I understand all too well. As one of the few elected officials in the state, who has been self-employed for over 40 years, I know and understand the burdens that regulations put on the economy, the consumer and our current and future entrepreneurs.
It is estimated that overregulation cost us nearly $2 trillion. That’s real money that could be spent creating jobs, not growing bureaucracy. How can we expect to live within our means when government grows beyond our means?
My responsibility as your public servant could be described best as “one who works to guard your property and prioritize spending, according to good governing principles”. Efficient and effective governmental services should have a strong presence of law enforcement, a network of parks and trails, safe roads, and all provided according to our ability to pay, while staying on budget (to name a few). My colleagues and I have been able to put forth balanced budgets that live within our means, as well as keeping a 15% reserve on hand for emergencies.
When the Executive’s office presented a plan to build a new General Services Building downtown, I voted “no” to authorizing $1 million for a feasibility study. The argument for the need of a new building was weak. As the plans and financing came together, it became clearer that the plans were flawed. On final passage of the ordinance to authorize the building, I voted “no” again, but the ordinance passed 4 – 3. I give thanks to a concerned citizen for stepping up and running a successful referendum, giving the voters the right to vote on that money pit. Thank you, Mr. Gibbs and company, for making that possible for Pierce County citizens. Job well done!
My other focus has been to fight the blight in the county. Too many vacant houses are attracting law breakers, who then enter and strip its contents. Too many houses are used for drug transactions, devaluing the neighborhood and terrorizing neighbors. Too many vacant properties are homes to squatters, whose trash is hazardous and expensive to remove. Business owners shared their stories of how these transients harass their customers and steal their merchandise. It was for these reasons we adopted the property maintenance code in 2013, a program designed to address derelict properties.
Last year, I began the conversation to create and fund a special task force to fight property crimes. Knocking on doors and visiting local businesses opened my eyes to the need for more protection so citizens can feel safe where they live. I am pleased to report that we were able to put funding in the budget for 5 additional deputies for that purpose. We are hopeful that the message will be for lawbreakers to mend their ways, move somewhere else, or take up residence in Tacoma’s hotel on 7th and Nollmeyer.
Partisan politics aside, as your representative on the Pierce County Council, you can count on me to stick to common-sense, constituent-driven policies that maintain the value of our quality of life in Pierce County.
If you believe government should be dedicated to the interests and concerns of its people as allowed for by our laws, I would be honored to have your support as I seek re-election for a final term on the Pierce County Council.
Pierce County Councilman
3rd Council district
P.S. I will always fight to preserve your rights and liberties, even if I’m the lone “no” vote!