I come from a third-generation working-class family. My dad was a miner and a truck driver, my mother a social worker – they both taught me early on the importance of hard work and giving back to your community.
I watched my father’s health deteriorate from his work in the mines – just like it had for his father. Seeing the unequal health impacts facing working people and people of color has fueled my fight for a healthier environment. I believe everyone – regardless of how much money you make or where you work – has a basic right to clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.
In 1999, I won my first campaign for the Seattle City Council on a platform of supporting working class jobs, public safety, environmental sustainability, transit and more affordable housing in areas able to absorb growth.
While on the council, I chaired the Energy and Environmental Policy Committee overseeing Seattle City Light during a turbulent time of severe drought conditions coupled with Enron gaming energy markets. To protect low-income residents and seniors from rate increases, I led the expansion of the city’s energy assistance program, changing the qualification from 125% of the federal quality level to 200% to help an additional 50,000 people. I think it is our responsibility to help our most vulnerable residents, and it is our duty to ensure that seniors be able to afford to live in the city that they helped build.
I also led the city’s commitment to meeting all of Seattle City Light’s electric power needs with no net emission of greenhouse pollution, which included divesting from the Centralia Coal Plant, investing for the first time in wind power, and aggressive investment in conservation programs. I led the effort to be the first large electric utility in the country to commit to being climate neutral. I also led the effort to update the city’s commercial energy code to be among the most energy-efficient in the country and created the Green Power Program where residents could voluntarily fund green power investments through optional contributions on their City Light bills including partnering with Seattle Public Schools on solar panel installations.
While we accomplished a lot during my tenure, many of the issues that prompted me to run 20 years ago are still pressing today: we are in dire need of more affordable housing, better mobility and more transportation choices, and a focus on basic services like infrastructure improvements, public safety, and keeping our parks clean because this is the role of local government. The difference is that there are 100,000 more people in Seattle now than there were 20 years ago, and the challenge of housing and homelessness has become even more severe.
After my term on the city council, I served as the Executive Director for The First Tee of Greater Seattle for 13 years. Golf is a unique platform to teach youth core values, including courtesy, respect, perseverance, and sportsmanship. During my leadership, The First Tee received many awards including Seattle Business Magazine’s “Community Impact Award” as one of Washington’s “Top 3 Youth Development Charities.”
Working collaboratively with an outstanding staff and board, we grew the program from annually serving a couple of hundred children on Beacon Hill to serving over 1,700 young people county-wide with after-school programming. We partnered with schools throughout King County to reach an additional 100,000 students.
In addition to my work at The First Tee, my husband and I own a small business which we have grown to employ over 60 people. Small businesses are an important part of the fabric of our city. I understand the unique challenges facing small business owners and entrepreneurs and will bring that much needed perspective to the council.
I have lived in Seattle for over 32 years and my husband and I have lived in District 6 for over 15 years – together we’re raising our wonderful children here. As a mom and someone who has worked with young people from diverse backgrounds, I am committed to building a bright future for all children in Seattle. From tackling affordability, to growing our economy and protecting our environment – I feel an immense responsibility to ensure future generations can live and thrive in our city.