Hope, dignity and purpose

This last Wednesday I delivered my annual State of County Address at the Steilacoom Town Hall.  I was honored to be joined by Nisqually Tribal Chairman Willie Frank III, Bobby Whitener from the Squaxin Tribe, Judges Tim Ashcraft and Kevin McCann, Auditor Linda Farmer, Council Chair Ryan Mello, Councilmembers Dave Morell, Jani Hitchen, Amy Cruver, and Paul Herrera.  Beyond our host, Steilacoom Mayor Dick Muri, we were also joined by Mayor Victoria Woodards of Tacoma and Mayor Kathy Hayden of Sumner.  But I especially appreciate those of you who took time during your lunch to hear more about what we are focused on this year.

During this speech, I spoke of the importance of hope, dignity, and purpose in the human experience. With all three, you are likely living a fulfilled life.  Without any one of the three, life is a shell of what it should be.  I hope each of you is hopeful, feels dignified, and finds purpose in your work for the people of Pierce County.

Sadly, that is not the case for everyone in our community.

I highlighted some of the many efforts our colleagues are taking to promote these three values in our community.

The Pierce County Business Accelerator helps new and budding small business owners of color, women, and veterans have hope to achieve their dreams (and their purpose) – while expanding economic opportunity in our County!

The proposed Pierce County Village, a community of micro homes planned for the Parkland/Spanaway area, will provide hope, dignity and purpose to 250 chronically homeless people who have been robbed of all three.

The Council has already set aside the funds for the Village and much planning has been completed.  I’m hopeful that on March 21 they will take two key votes so we can move forward.

Like you, I don’t want to see anyone go through another winter without a safe place to live.

In my remarks I mentioned that Malissa Adame of Human Services took me to see two “supported employment” sites with our partners, Trillium and Vadis.  They help businesses fill jobs where our residents with developmental disabilities can contribute so they, too, can experience the dignity and purpose that can come from work.  I shared how powerful it was to visit Emily in her worksite in Puyallup.

I also met Josh who works at an industrial bakery in Sumner.  He was very proud of his work and gave me a thorough tour of the entire cookie making process – from raw materials to shipping.

I learned a great deal on the tour, including how easy – and wrong – it is to focus on what someone can’t do.  But, thankfully, Malissa and our partners are skilled at seeing what people can do and how they can contribute.

I’m excited that Judy Archer and her Human Resources team are working to bring this program to Pierce County, so some of our residents with cognitive disabilities can help us serve our community!

For those of you who couldn’t watch the State of the County live, I invite you to watch a replay.

I heard that on Saturday the weather may crack 60 degrees – finally!  Enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading,