Messages matter.  And, the message we were sending last Tuesday during a press conference was that we want more family-wage jobs for our residents and good businesses are an important part of a vibrant Pierce County!

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with nine mayors from some of our largest cities in the county — as well as representatives from labor and business — we declared we want Pierce County to be a place where people can work near where they live.  We want them to have the option to be home in time to coach Little League, attend a school recital, plant a garden, or ride the expanded Foothills Trail.

Every day, tens of thousands of our neighbors commute out of the county for their work, spending countless hours on congested roads. What if 10,000 of them lived AND worked locally – commuting five minutes to work or maybe even riding a bike?  Wouldn’t it be better for everyone?  What if 20,000?

We have a talented workforce already living in our communities and one of my top priorities is providing an environment where businesses see advantages to a South Sound address and family-wage jobs are plentiful.

To help move that work forward, my colleagues and I announced our intention to offer a $275 credit for each family-wage job (at least $65,000/year – the current median household income for Pierce County) created in 2019. To qualify for the credit, employers must add at least five new jobs.  They can be added by our existing businesses or by entrepreneurs who bring new companies to our region.

Each jurisdiction will determine exactly how to provide the credit and will take the proposals to their respective councils for consideration and vote.  I was grateful that our Council Chair, Doug Richardson, joined us at the podium and I look forward to formally submitting our proposal to a supportive Council in the next few days.

Given the recent $275 “head tax” debate in Seattle, you can imagine that media were intrigued by the dollar amount of our incentive. A couple of highlights are linked below.

Read the Tacoma News Tribune story here.

We have work to do to spread the word that the South Sound is a great place to locate and expand a business. It’s important that the choices made by our neighbors to the north are not perceived as speaking for all of Western Washington and discourage economic development for our communities.

I’m grateful to the mayors of Tacoma, DuPont, Steilacoom, Lakewood, Puyallup, Fife, Bonney Lake, University Place and Sumner for their collaboration and cooperation. I hope our unprecedented partnership proves to be a model for how we solve important regional challenges going forward.

One challenge we have been focused on is dealing with nuisance properties. They are complex issues and can take time to resolve. You can imagine how pleased I was to receive the note below from one of our business owners:

Our business requested help with a caravan of abandoned vehicles and drug activity. I contacted PC Code Enforcement for help. I also saw the PC Sheriff’s department here. Within an hour they had removed the vehicles, dealt with the persons associated and improved our neighborhood. Sigh of relief from our community. THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME!!

Thanks, indeed, to our Code Enforcement team and our partners in the Sheriff’s department for their speedy work.  Thanks, also, to the Council for their strong partnership in making the resolution of these types of code violations a priority!

Lastly, we talk a lot about being ready to help our neighbors in an emergency.  Well, when a visitor had a cardiac event in the County-City Building lobby this week, our employees took action!  Deputy Dennis Robinson asked for medical aid, RC Baggett (Maintenance) started CPR, Sandra Heideman (Sheriff’s Office Assistant)  grabbed our AED, and others helped out.  Soon, Tacoma Fire arrived, and I am very thankful to report that the visitor is now recovering in a local hospital.

I am proud that we have people who are prepared and ready to step up to face a crisis!  Special thanks to RC, Sandra, Ginnava Hooft (District Court LPA 3), Antonio Graham (Corrections Deputy), Stacy Belmudes (Corrections Deputy)  as well as Deputy Robinson, for their life-saving work!

I hope you enjoy a great long weekend and that you take a moment to reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Thanks for reading,