Seattle Sports Commission Grant
Congratulations to the Seattle Sports Commission for receiving a $50,000 grant from King County for event bidding such as national, NCAA and Pac-12 championships. I enjoyed meeting Seattle Sports Commission President Beth Knox to discuss how the sports commission will utilize the grant to host these events and generate jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry in South King County.
With Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission President, at the King County Weyerhaeuser Aquatic Center in Federal Way
Partnering with the Auburn Food Bank to Fight Food Insecurity
Although the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have added to the challenges that the Auburn Food Bank is already facing, Executive Director Debbie Christian refuses to give up and carries on with courage and commitment to continue helping her neighbors.
King County has partnered with food banks across the region to fight food insecurity throughout the pandemic and I was pleased to present a $20,000 grant from King County to the Auburn Food Bank.
With Karen Thordarson-Hassen and Debbie Christian at the Auburn Food Bank, who is wearing a transparent face shield
Supporting Mental Health Programs at the Ukrainian Community Center of Washington
I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Ukraine Consul General Dmytro Kushneruk, Honorary Consul Valeriy Goloborodko, Bishop Viktor Prokhor and Ukrainian Community Center Deputy Director Iryna Pylypchuk to present a $20,000 grant from King County to assist with mental health programs and services provided at the Ukrainian Community Center of Washington. The unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic have overwhelmed many in our community and these programs and services are critical to those struggling during this difficult situation.
With Honorary Consul of Ukraine Valeriy Goloborodko, Bishop Viktor Prokhor, Ukrainian Community Center Deputy Director Iryna Pylypchuk, and Consul General of Ukraine Dmytro Kushneruk
Regional Economic Outlook Discussed at Virtual “Good Eggs”
On January 13th, I was joined by Chief Economist and Executive Director Stephen Lerch from the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council for a virtual Good Eggs meeting. We discussed how COVID-19 has impacted state revenue, our region’s continued recovery, and the economic outlook forecast for the years following this pandemic.
While we still have further to go, the news regarding vaccines gives us hope that we will recover faster and stronger than expected. You may watch the recorded version of the meeting on my Facebook page.
With South King County community leaders
Federal Way Community Center Childcare Program Grant
Congratulations to the Federal Way Community Center for receiving a $20,000 grant from King County to help support its childcare program. I recently met with Recreation Manager Cody Geddes to discuss the importance of this program, which provides a fun and safe environment for children to play while their parents work out at the center.
With Federal Way Community Center Recreation Manager Cody Geddes
Meeting with Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus in "New" Outdoor Office
With the King County Courthouse and Auburn City Hall restricted, it was great to get outside during a sun break and share ideas of county/city cooperation with Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus on the suspension bridge between Isaac Evans and Dykstra Parks.
With Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus
Federal Way Transit Projects Update
In January, I met with Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell to check on the future location of the Federal Way Link Light Rail and discuss the updated Federal Way Transit Center that will include not only the light rail station, but also additional bus facilities and more parking to be added via an extension to the existing garage.
At the Federal Way Transit Center, clearing work was completed last fall to prepare the site for construction activities in the coming months. As of this visit, over 170,000 labor hours have been expended on the Federal Way Link Extension project, which is approximately 820 jobs for members of our community. Additionally, Sound Transit launched its “Loyal to the Local” program in early February to provide opportunities to support Federal Way businesses directly impacted by the construction. For more information on the Federal Way Link Extension and to sign up for project updates, visit www.soundtransit.org/fwlink.
With Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell looking over the future site of the Federal Way Link Light Rail Station from the Federal Way Transit Center parking structure
New Vaccination Site Opens in Auburn
On February 1st, we opened the new mass vaccination site in Auburn. Congratulations to Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and King County Executive Dow Constantine for bringing together federal, state, and local governments to open this needed site at the General Services Administration Complex in Auburn. The decision to locate this site in Auburn is data driven. We are in Auburn because when it comes to COVID-19, South King County is the belly of the beast. If we want to conquer this virus we must start here. This site will help us reach the end zone in our fight to defeat this virus. You can view my remarks at this link.*As of March 29th, this location has moved to the Auburn Outlet Collection located at 1101 Outlet Collection Way, Auburn, WA 98001
With Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and King County Executive Dow Constantine at the opening of the General Services Administration Complex vaccination site in Auburn
Judge Moi Masaniai Appointed to King County District Court
I was proud to sponsor his nomination and enjoyed meeting with our newest King County District Court Judge, Federal Way resident Fa’amomoi Masaniai (Moi), at a local Panera Bread. Moi’s life story is one of determination, from walking onto the WSU football team to pursuing his legal education through the state’s Rule 6 program. I was equally happy that his proud father (Chief Pulesa Masaniai) was able to join us. Congratulations, Moi, on being the first Samoan Judge to serve on the bench of a court in Washington state!
Service Industry Gets Long Awaited Relief as We Return Safely to "In-Person" Dining
Over the last several months, I have visited many local South King County "takeout" restaurants and am now enjoying supporting "dine-in" restaurants because of the number of service jobs at stake. On February 9th, I met with longtime friend and Red Robin founder Gerry Kingen of Salty's about the hospitality industry in Seattle. Salty's has been a mainstay in the Redondo Beach area and I'm looking forward to visiting them again for dinner indoors--great servers, great food!
Eating lunch outside on the deck with Gerry Kingen
Virtual "Good Eggs" Community Forum with King County Executive Dow Constantine
On February 24th, South King County community leaders had the opportunity to hear from King County Executive Dow Constantine at a virtual Good Eggs meeting. Dow took questions on a number of issues, from COVID-19 vaccinations to homeless housing and the region’s evolving transit needs. The only way to solve local problems is by coming together. You can watch the recorded version of the meeting on my Facebook page.
With King County Executive Dow Constantine
With South King County community leaders
It’s That Time of Year!
Put the diet on hold and support a great cause. The Girl Scouts movement was started to prepare “girls to meet the world with courage, confidence, and character.” In 1917, cookies slipped into the formula. Buy the cookies, share the cookies!
King County Grant Aims to Help Students Succeed During Virtual Learning
Although business as usual includes masks and social distancing, we are still able to support our school districts. I met with Thomas Jefferson High School Principal Adrienne Chacon to discuss a $20,000 grant that I secured that helps the school be able to loan students virtual learning resources such as iPads, headphones, wi-fi extenders, blue light glasses, webcams and more.
With Thomas Jefferson High School Principal Adrienne Chacon
Funding Secured to Maintain and Improve Bingaman Pond Natural Area
On March 1st, I met with King County Director of Parks Warren Jimenez at Bingaman Pond Natural Area. As new houses and apartments are built in South King County, it is important for people of all ages to have a place of solace and relief. We discussed how the $50,000 I secured in King County funding will be used for maintenance and improvements.
King County Director of Parks Warren Jimenez and me at Bingaman Pond in South King County
PAEC Receives Funding for Operations and Cultural Program Expansion
The Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center (PAEC) has been a place to enjoy and learn about the arts. I recently met with the Chair of the PAEC Foundation, Mary Gates, and PAEC General Manager Brian Hoffman to discuss how $25,000 in King County funding will be used to maintain operations and expand cultural programs. As our region starts to reopen, I am looking forward to small and large shows in 2021 at the PAEC.
With Mary Gates and Brian Hoffman at PAEC in Federal Way
Spring Plan for Local Student Athletes
People may argue whether sports teaches or shows character, but I know that school sports and activities play an important role in developing our future leaders. What our student athletes gain from participating in these programs goes far beyond just wins and losses. Coach Joseph Townsend, who coaches the boy’s baseball and girl’s bowling teams at Thomas Jefferson High School, is someone who mentors and leads by example. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Coach Townsend to discuss the upcoming opportunities for our local student athletes to get back to competition.
With baseball and bowling Coach Townsend at Thomas Jefferson High School
Future of Transit Virtual Town Hall
On March 29th, I had the opportunity to host a virtual town hall to not only talk about the future of transit, but most importantly, to provide an opportunity for South King County community leaders and residents to engage in a dialogue with our invited speakers, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff and King County Metro General Manager Terry White.
I firmly believe you can't understand a region without understanding its public transportation system. Aside from providing an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the transit system, Peter and Terry shared information on the evolving modes of transportation and addressed questions and concerns that were raised by the community. You can watch the recorded version of the forum on my Facebook page.
With Terry White and Peter Rogoff
With South King County community members
Harborview Medical Center Doctors and COVID-19
On April 1st, I met with Harborview Medical Center Interim CEO Sommer Kleweno-Walley to talk about the important role Harborview plays in our region as well as the upcoming capital improvements that were included in the November 2020 bond. Owned by King County and operated by University of Washington Medicine, Harborview is truly a one-of-a-kind trauma center.
With Harborview Interim CEO Sommer Kleweno-Walley
I also had the opportunity to meet with Medical Director Dr. J. Richard "Rick" Gross, Chief of Trauma Dr. Eileen Bulger and Chief of Surgery Dr. Ron Maier to talk about the important role Harborview has played as a partner in King County's ongoing response to COVID-19. From testing, treatments, vaccines and ongoing studies, Harborview and King County are committed to preventing the spread of the coronavirus and bringing an end to this pandemic.
With Dr. J. Richard Goss, Dr. Ron Maier, Interim CEO Sommer Kleweno-Walley, and Dr. Eileen Bulger
Valley Cities Van Donation
Due to COVID-19, opportunities to meet with the 2020 recipients of surplus King County vans have been limited, but I enjoyed my visit with Valley Cities Marketing and Volunteer Manager Sundeep Malhi. Since I sponsored the original legislation establishing this program in 1995, the King County Van Donation Program has done its best to provide mobility for those in our community who need it most.
With Valley Cities Marketing and Volunteer Manager Sundeep Malhi
Virtual “Good Eggs” Community Forum with John Stanton
On April 21st, Seattle Mariners Chairman and Managing Partner, John Stanton, joined us for April's virtual Good Eggs. John is committed to the Mariners' goal of unifying communities and enriching lives by sharing the love of baseball.
On any given day, it is encouraging to go into a coffee shop or a grocery store and see first-generation Americans from all parts of the world wearing Griffey Jr. jerseys. Sports bring people together; it gives us something to cheer about, and these days, we need more and more reasons to cheer. You can watch the recorded version of the forum on my Facebook page.
With Seattle Mariners Chairman and Managing Partner John Stanton
South King County community leaders at the April virtual "Good Eggs" meeting
FUSION Van Donation
I met with FUSION Executive Director Robin O'Grady to talk about the donated King County van they received. When I introduced the van donation program in 1995, my goal was to repurpose retired vans to provide support to local nonprofits and improve the quality of life for residents in our region. Fast forward to today, I am glad this program continues to benefit and support South King County community organizations like FUSION.
With FUSION Executive Director Robin O'Grady at the FUSION Décor Boutique in Federal Way
Asian American and Pacific Islander Proclamation
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. I met with Federal Way Mayor Emeritus Mike Park to present a proclamation of solidarity with our AAPI neighbors amid the rising hate crimes against their communities. This proclamation was introduced at a King County Council meeting in an effort to collectively condemn violence and harassment.
With Federal Way Mayor Emeritus Mike Park
Federal Way Farmers Market
I joined Farmers Market Founder Rose Ehl as a sponsor of this South King County legacy. Every Saturday through October 30th, please join your neighbors at the Federal Way Commons Mall to share in a conversation and support great local products.
With Rose Ehl at the Federal Way Farmers Market
Virtual “Good Eggs” Community Forum
Thanks to Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler for joining us for our virtual Good Eggs meeting. 2021 is Emerald Downs' 25th Anniversary, and they are looking forward to welcoming fans back to the racetrack for entertainment this spring and summer. Emerald Downs is an economic engine that generates thousands of direct and indirect jobs in South King County. You can watch the recorded version of the forum on my Facebook page.
With Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler
With South King County community leaders
Recognizing Estela Ortega
In May, the King County Council recognized leaders in our communities. For District 7, I was honored to recognize Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza. El Centro de la Raza opened up a new location in Federal Way last year to expand their services in South King County. Estela, thank you for your leadership and commitment to our community and your mission to serve all people.
Signature Pointe Levee Project
On May 20th, I met with Kent Mayor Dana Ralph to tour the Signature Pointe Levee Project site along the Green River. This levee currently protects thousands of homes and billions of dollars in infrastructure investments essential to our region's economy. In partnership with the King County Flood Control District, the city of Kent is working on increasing the level of flood protection for homes and establishments along this stretch of the river.
With Kent Mayor Dana Ralph
Soroptimist International of Federal Way
While we traditionally have honored the American Flag on the closest Saturday to June 14th at the Aquatic Center, this year a few of us came together at the Federal Way Farmers Market with the Soroptimists.
With Sen. Claire Wilson, Federal Way Council President Susan Honda, members of the Soroptimist International of Federal Way, and community members
Auburn Farmers Market: Bill Peloza Bench
On June 6th, the Auburn Farmers Market officially opened and Mayor Nancy Backus surprised Joyce Peloza with a public bench named in honor of her husband Bill Peloza. Bill Peloza passed away on April 29th, 2020, but his legacy as Auburn Deputy Mayor lives on in the Farmers Market, Veteran programs, Sons of Italy, Rotary, Auburn Golf Course, etc. His legacy of service to others continues!
With Auburn Mayor Emeritus Pete Lewis, Councilmember Bob Baggett, Mayor Nancy Backus, Deputy Mayor Claude DaCorsi and Joyce Peloza at the opening of Auburn Farmers Market at Les Gove Park
Virtual Good Eggs Forum with Secretary of State Kim Wyman
On June 16th, I hosted Secretary of State Kim Wyman at our virtual Good Eggs meeting. Kim provided an overview of her efforts to ensure both election security and voter access, as well as her priorities as Secretary of State. I am glad Kim was able to join us before departing for Camp Pendleton, California where her daughter is a member of the United States Marines. You can watch the recorded version of the forum on my Facebook page.
With Secretary of State Kim Wyman
With South King County community leaders
Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell
In 2015, a change agent came to the Federal Way School District from Lake Providence, Louisiana, and 23,000 "scholars" were the beneficiaries of then new Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell. As Dr. Campbell transitions into an advisory role in July for the incoming Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, I want to thank her for her service and the over half a billion dollars' worth of new school buildings and curriculum that will address the needs of the next generation.
With outgoing Federal Way School District Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell
Poverty Bay Café Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
On June 19th, Poverty Bay Cafe celebrated its grand opening under FUSION's new ownership. Since 1993, FUSION had provided transitional housing for families in need in South King County, and with this donation, Federal Way's "living room" is once again open for business and will serve as a job skills training location for people experiencing homelessness.
Congratulations to FUSION Executive Director Robin O’Grady and Founder Peggy LaPorte for the successful ribbon cutting
Emerald Downs celebrates 25th Anniversary
On June 20th, thousands of horse fans spent Father’s Day at Emerald Downs celebrating its 25th anniversary and Ron Crockett’s dream. Millions of tax dollars and thousands of jobs continue as his legacy.
With Auburn Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel and Ron Crockett at the Emerald Downs
Federal Way High School Eagles defeat Kentwood
While thousands watched the Mariners on June 22nd, a dozen or so of us watched the Federal Way High School Eagles go from 23 - 22 at halftime to 61 - 52 over Kentwood. Great teamwork all around, and a lot of skilled returning players on both sides. Support High School Sports!
Click here for the game highlights courtesy of The News Tribune.