By Dana Ralph/for the Kent Reporter
Being mayor is a multi-faceted job with many layers and complexities. It requires someone with experience, education, dedication and passion to serve our city and its residents. The job also requires leadership skills, local and regional relationships, the ability to listen, and to make hard decisions for the good of all. I have all those abilities and more, and I want to be your mayor.
My family has been in Kent for four generations. I grew up here, and my husband Shawn and I have raised our two sons, Kyle and Derek, here.
Kent is not just where I live and work, Kent is my home. I am proud to have served on the Kent City Council for six years, including two years as council president.
I am well versed in local issues, large and small. Here are a few key issues I will address as your mayor:
Fiscal cliff: The city is facing an additional annual budget shortfall of $10 million due to changes in the streamlined sales tax that now redistributes local retail sales tax to the buyer’s destination instead of the seller’s location, and from the 2020 expiration of the annexation sales tax credit from the Panther Lake annexation. How to make up that shortfall is not a decision the mayor or council should make on their own. I will do community outreach to find out from residents what the city’s priorities should be and to figure out how to pay for those priorities.
Public safety: Our residents and businesses must feel safe. Working closely with the Kent Police Department, I will focus on resolving the staffing crisis to get additional police officers in Kent, and implement body cameras for patrol officers for transparency and officer safety.
Parks: Our parks are a valuable community resource, and they need sustainable funding for maintenance, repairs and long-term planning. Draining our reserves and capital resources is not a realistic solution. Our B&O program is receiving double the anticipated revenue to the city. One potential solution is to take $2 million a year of those funds to put toward our parks.
Homelessness: Homelessness is an issue across the country. In Kent, we offer evening feeding programs and social services, but that isn’t enough. We need real solutions and to consider successful programs in other cities like the Navigation Center, a transitional housing program in San Francisco, or the tiny house project in Auburn.
I have a strong vision for Kent that will help us realize our city’s full potential. Through strategic leadership, strong partnerships and data driven decision making, we can find long-term solutions that work and move Kent into the future.
As a community, we can help our homeless, fund our parks, bring new business to Kent, repair our infrastructure, and improve public safety.
Vote for me and help me strengthen our city, so all our residents and businesses can thrive.