Rod's work on the King County Council is an extension of his lifelong service to our community. His life and work has been centered in King County. Rod knows King County, its people, and the issues facing this region. Rod will use his knowledge and experience gained from years of leadership to address the most pressing issues we face:
Economy: As we come out of the pandemic, it's essential that we lift up those most harmed by the severe disruption to our economy. King County can and should play a leading role in promoting and facilitating a strong and growing regional economy that puts those left behind and left out, first and foremost in our policies and programs. We should support traditional industries that provide the backbone of our economic success (e.g. aerospace, hospitality and tourism, and international trade), as well as new economy technology, bio-technology, life science and clean-technology industries. In District 1, Shoreline Community College, University of Washington - Bothell, and Bastyr University are important partners that we must support as we grow the regional economy.
As our workforce expands, it's important that workers and their families have access to housing they can afford that is thoughtfully located so as to minimize long commutes, congestion and pollution. With good planning and strategic investments in infrastructure, King County can play a leading role in both economic recovery and enhancing quality of life.
Transit & Mobility: Our Transportation and Transit systems must provide leading, world-class service, reduce environmental impact, and permit the efficient movement of goods and people throughout the region. Transit is a powerful equity-building tool, and we must ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, or their economic status, can access our transit system, and get where they need to go. King County is advancing a new equity-driven service model, and Rod is actively working with our regional partners to refresh our service guidelines and continue to grow our system to serve residents county-wide. We must also continue to seek, and secure the capital and operating funds we need to deliver the service envisioned in the Metro Connects long range transit plan. Rod favors returning to a local funding model that is regional in nature and working with transit advocates to bring forward a proposal.
Environment: Rod will continue to lead on efforts to protect our environment as we grow, through thoughtful, forward-looking Comprehensive Plan policies that encourage and direct growth and services to support that growth in our urban centers, while protecting our streams, rivers, lakes, Puget Sound and the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. We must accelerate the work laid out in the King County Strategic Climate Action Plan. Rod has proposed a Climate Bond, to make major investments in zero-emission transit service, our Land Conservation Initiative, and to decarbonize our built environment.
Affordable Housing & Bringing our Homeless Neighbors Inside.: Rod helped establish the new Regional Homelessness Authority, working to ensure that elected leaders from around the region worked with those with lived experience, to reform a system that isn't getting the job done. Rod will work to support the successful transition of service contracts to the new authority and work to bring our region's leaders and governments together, to add housing and enhance support services. Rod believes we must "quadruple down" on King County's Health Through Housing Initiative, which is rapidly acquiring rooms to bring housing online, now. That program will bring 1,600 people inside, about a quarter of identified need. Its early success shows that the necessary added capacity is within reach, and Rod will work to finish the job.
Human Services: As an attorney who has been recognized for his pro bono work for victims of domestic violence and immigration work, Rod understands and will fight for sustainable human service programming in the County to serve those most in need. He has supported significant expansion of the County's Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy, and has been honored by the Center for Human Services for his work in this space.
Criminal Justice. The County's criminal and civil legal systems account for the vast majority of the county's current expense fund budget. Rod's twelve years of experience with our courts, including advising them on funding issues, brings unique insight to these issues. Rod has led on major reforms to our public defense, civilian oversight and sheriff's office. Rod secured the funding to expand the successful RADAR/Navigator program regionally. The program pairs social workers and behavioral health experts with police officers, to get individuals experiencing crisis, the help they need. Going forward, Rod will continue work to bring reforms and strong, independent civilian oversight to the Sheriff's Department, and confirm a new Sheriff, focused on community.
All of this work must be done in cooperation and consultation with District 1's suburban cities as well as the City of Seattle. Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Kirkland and Seattle are essential partners in working together to address our community's challenges.