The city of Issaquah faces multiple challenges. Some – global pandemic, reduced financial resources, and uncertainty about our country’s future – cropped up during 2020. Others built slowly, becoming more urgent with each passing year: a lack of affordable housing, congested streets, rising inequality and climate degradation.
In November 2019, I was honored to be elected to the Issaquah City Council, filling out an unexpired two-year term. Little did I or anyone know the momentous changes that 2020 would bring. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Issaquah City Council made progress, quickly pivoting to virtual public meetings, decisively slowing the COVID19-related financial freefall, approving unprecedented levels of food and housing supports for suddenly unemployed residents as well as more than $1 million in support to impacted local businesses, and confronting the twin challenges of racial inequities and policing reform. On a personal level, I was honored to be named Elected Official of the Year by the Alliance of Eastside Agencies, representing Eastside social services and non-profit agencies, and to be selected for the Connect2 Community Advisory Group by the Healthier Here Governing Board, the umbrella organization overseeing Medicaid Transformation in the Puget Sound region.
One clear lesson of the past year is the strength and resiliency of the Issaquah community. Time and again, we learned of neighbors helping neighbors, and of people working together on truly innovative projects, like the Streatery. The vast majority of our residents honored science and safety by wearing masks, observing social distancing, cancelling major community events, and just staying home. We joined in a peaceful march for Black Lives Matters, and listened to each other respectfully as stories and ideas were shared. It wasn’t always easy, but Issaquah residents provided daily demonstrations of our common values.
While I am proud of these achievements, there is still much work to be done. Our community desperately needs affordable housing and alternative housing solutions. As a result of the pandemic, homelessness is increasing dramatically and we must find humane strategies to help people re-locate or remain in their homes. Transportation models have been roiled by the “new normal” of telecommuting and loss of funding. And, while I am extremely proud of the city’s larger human services footprint, we need to ensure that our funding is spent strategically, actually improving the lives of Issaquah residents.
I am ready and eager to continue working with you to resolve our challenges. I am therefore running in 2021 for re-election to the Issaquah City Council. I hope you’ll trust me once again to represent your needs and concerns with the city of Issaquah. I look forward to working with you, keeping alive the old Issaquah motto: “A special place where people care.”