Four more years

Running for elective office is never easy.  Running for elective office while in the throes of a once-in-a-century pandemic is something else altogether.

My hat is off to everyone who put themselves out there and campaigned for office.  Win or lose, the experience is amazing and humbling.  Election campaigns by their nature can also be divisive – the incumbent has to run on their record, and the challenger needs to make the case for change.  The voters need to know what the differences are between the two candidates are so they can ultimately make their choice.

Thanks to our residents – and I hope that includes some of you – I had the honor to be “re-hired” as County Executive.  Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on it, I want to share some reactions with you.

I’m grateful Larry Seaquist stepped up to challenge me. I’ve known Larry for many years.  We are both Navy veterans and represented Pierce County in the Legislature together.  I respect Larry and am appreciative for his service to our Country, County, and community. There’s nothing like having to defend your record to bring clarity and conviction as to why you feel you deserve another term.

While I’m definitely glad to have the campaign behind me, running for office did force me to reflect on our work of the last four years and make a decision to want to build on that work.  I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and I look forward to moving our initiatives forward in the years ahead.

On the campaign trail, I talked about many things, including our work on behavioral health, growing family wage jobs, increasing transparency and accountability, and putting Pierce County on a stronger financial footing.  Naturally, much of the discussions at forums and endorsement interviews centered on COVID, our CARES Act investments, criminal justice reform, and moving Pierce County forward past the pandemic.

Of course, much of my decision to run for re-election is related to you – the employees of Pierce County.  You are the ones who deliver on our initiatives and programs every day.  You are the first contact many of our residents have with the County and your ability to deliver amazing service – despite the challenges of the pandemic – make me proud and grateful.  Thank you!  I know that working together over the next four years will benefit our residents in many ways. And, I hope you are ready for another 200 blogs!

The voters also gave us four new members of the County Council.  I have previously worked with some of them and some are new to me.  Welcome to the County Council: Hans Zeiger, Amy Cruver, Ryan Mello and Jani Hitchen.  There will be a new Sheriff in town, too – congratulations to Ed Troyer.  And Mike Lonergan will continue to lead our Assessor-Treasurer’s team.

I also want to give a special shout out to our Auditor, Julie Anderson.  She and her team had a huge set of challenges to deal with this year and they did a great job!  They had a smart plan with many contingencies for running an election with historic turnout during a pandemic.  They were prepared and they delivered.

Sadly, I can’t close this week’s blog without expressing my deepest sympathy at the loss of Deputy Daryl Shuey last Tuesday.  Please continue to keep his family and our entire Pierce County Sheriff’s team in your thoughts and prayers.