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What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?
First and foremost, I’ve been successful in the role as councilwoman for the last 13 months.I’m an experienced Project Manager with a background in commercial construction, which has proven to be a valuable asset during this time of growth. I’m also an active participant in several groups throughout the community which helps me better represent a broad spectrum of constituents. Furthermore, during my 12 years in Ellensburg, I’ve been a student and professor at Central Washington University. I’ve both rented and owned homes as well as managed properties as a landlord. I’ve owned my own business in Ellensburg and worked in this community as an employee.
How would you describe your vision for your city?
I’m passionate about making Ellensburg a great place to live. I will work to maintain Ellensburg’ small-town charm while ensuring that families have affordable and attainable homes. Due to rising property values, it is imperative that we support job creation to enable people to earn wages that allow them to invest in themselves, their family, and this community.I will work to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurs and job growth and capitalize on one of Ellensburg’s unique advantages; the energy and intellectual capital present at CWU. I will work to leverage our location in the state to harvest wealth from tourism to allow further development of Ellensburg without increasing local taxes.I will work to expand activities and facilities as the community grows. I’ve heard from citizens young and old about a lack of winter activities and opportunities for teens. I will work with the community to develop a vision as well as funding for a Community & Recreation Center
What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?
Everything comes down to money. As a city, we need to be fiscally responsible for the revenue streams we currently have. We need to expand our tourism industry to bring outside wealth into the City. Look at what other communities are doing that works (and doesn’t work) and start getting creative.
What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?
I feel strongly that we need to protect our environment. But environmental sustainability is nothing without social and economic sustainability. City Council has a large role in setting the 20-year vision of this community. In doing that, I will work to implement policies that make sense in the long run. Look at factors like life-cycle cost and set policy that promotes environmental stewardship without creating financial and social burdens.
What are the issues surrounding your city/town’s infrastructure?
I think in general, Ellensburg has done a great job creating infrastructure. The biggest issue I see now is the lack of amenities for a growing community. This is why I am advocating for a Community & Recreation Center. We are currently maintaining an adult activity center, a youth center, a city pool, a racquetball center, Hal Holmes, and other buildings that could all be brought under one roof at a Community & Recreation Center. In addition to providing more amenities and activities, this would simplify staffing and maintenance which would offer substantial cost savings.
How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?
We have a relatively small population of homeless within our community. Our community has worked together to address the needs of those who are homeless. Non-profits, the faith-based community, and individual citizens have stepped up to demonstrate the caring heart in our community to assist those in need. Those efforts continue.We do have a housing affordability crisis. City Council can work with non-profit and for-profit housing developers to leverage the City’s Affordable Housing Fund for short- and long-term investments in housing. These efforts must work in tandem with economic growth for the development of living wage jobs.
How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?
Unfortunately, City Council doesn’t play a part in creating immigration policy. It is an important state and federal issue that impacts our local community and needs to be urgently addressed at the state and national level.
How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?
This is something that I have personally seen evolve during my 13 months on City Council. Ellensburg needs to be progressive in the way it communicates with its citizens. In the most basic sense, City Council is the voice of the people. If you aren’t able to effectively connect with people then you can’t effectively advocate for them. For these reasons, I have been a strong supporter of reform on Ellensburg City Council to meet constituents where they’re at versus expecting them to come to us. With this in mind, the City of Ellensburg has improved their social media presence, implemented ordinances that allow people to telecommute to meetings, opened an “Ask the Mayor” booth at the farmers market, created “Neighborhood Cafes” where Council members meet with small groups to hear what neighbors feel is working and not working, and more, all with the intent to increase the connectedness between the policymakers and the citizens.