Public Health and Healthcare
Protecting the overall health of our population and a continuum of services for the individual is how we build a thriving community. As commissioner, I’ll see to it the Board of Health is focused on science, evidence, and research from those qualified to provide it. Extreme ideology will have no place. Additionally, I’ll work with those across the healthcare spectrum to bring back the specialists and facilities we desperately need in Yakima County.
I support the creation of the Yakima Regional Crime Intelligence Center. It is a spectacular opportunity for technology to meet the expertise needed to make our communities safer. The improved data this facility would provide will focus law enforcement resources on the most violent crimes. We can then begin to invest more meaningfully in crime and violence prevention and intervention, victim assistance, and transitioning prisoners back into society, which we know from data and research, is what produces much safer communities
Every corner of our region needs more and affordable housing options. Aside from rising costs, each community within the County also has unique circumstances requiring unique options. The Yakima Board of County Commissioners has many tools at its disposal, and as commissioner, I will use them to responsibly and safely remove the barriers that drive up costs, invest in infrastructure, and secure funding to assist each community in meeting their housing challenges.
Yakima County is poised to be a leader in renewable energy. We can make that happen in a way that respects our local habitats and creates high-paying jobs. For far too long, the average annual wage in our county has consistently ranked in the bottom five in the state and those living in poverty consistently ranks near the top. Both are enormous factors in our health outcomes, education attainment, and behavioral and mental health. We can ensure a thriving wage and support the infrastructure, education, and apprentice programs that accelerate new industry and entrepreneurship.
Ensuring our water is plentiful and clean is by far one of the most important responsibilities of the county commissioners. In addition to swiftly meeting the needs of water districts and hearing the concerns from community groups and individuals, the county must also be prepared to respond to and mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather. Yakima County is blessed with expertise in this area. These experts need to be at the table to help create policy solutions and long-term plans that ensure we continue to enjoy the bounty of our valley.
The County is working diligently to bring people out of homelessness but tackling the causes is the real fix. Homelessness is about so much more than only housing. It is a symptom of many different systems: prevention and intervention that address the lack of social support, family history, drug and alcohol abuse, transition from incarceration, mental health disorders, education, employment, and more. This is not up to one department; it will take a coalition from business, industry, and education from across the County. I’ve brought people together my whole life to tackle big and complex problems, and I’m committed to doing the same here.