The next generation

This week I delivered my annual State of the County (SOTC) Address, both to people attending in person and virtually online, for the 7th and final time.

I always enjoy talking about the work we do to serve our residents, but this one hit a little differently.  I focused on what we’re doing through the lens of our children and grandchildren – ensuring they have the best possible start to their lives AND the best possible future. 

So much of our work deals with today, this week, this month or even this year. But, as I explained during my remarks, since I became a grandfather while in office as the Executive, my perspective changed. The here and now are very important, of course, but taking the long view so that our young people and the generation after that have affordable homes, physical and mental wellbeing and a beautiful environment means you consider policies in a new light.

It meant a great deal to me to have my family, including two of my three granddaughters (the two-year-old was not quite up to it!), in attendance when I delivered this year’s State of the County.

The event began on a somber and respectful note as we showed a video we produced that talked about the life and legacy of Kevan Carter, Jr. We were honored that his parents, Kevan Sr. and Bedez Carter, joined us at the lunchroom at Keithley Middle School, the site of the SOTC. They lost their son to suicide and channeled their grief into an amazing way to support students who are having mental health challenges – the Hip Hop Therapy program at the Keithley Wellness Hub.  It offers hope to some young people and this video will tell you more about it:

If you’d like a way to support the great work of the Hip Hop Therapy program, Hope Sparks is holding its first Hip Hop Run Walk on May 18.  You can register to run or walk here.

Throughout my remarks, I talked about how the decisions and actions we take today are affecting the generations to come, whether it’s how we manage future growth, ensure family wage career opportunities, or the steps we are taking to restore and protect salmon habitats.

Given our focus on youth, it seemed fitting that our guests ate kid-inspired snacks while sitting at not very comfortable lunchroom tables! Clearly, those tables were designed for shorter and smaller people!

If you didn’t have the chance to watch the Address live online, here’s where you can catch the replay

My thanks to those on my Executive Team and with the Communications Department for managing the many details of the event!

A follow up note to the SOTC, one of our efforts to broaden economic opportunity for small businesses and budding entrepreneurs – the Pierce County Business Accelerator (PCBA – see last week’s blog featuring Brenda Miller) got a tremendous boost yesterday. The Washington State Fair joined as a key partner and is featuring some PCBA graduates and their products in their Showplex. The 160,000 people who visit the Spring Fair will have the chance to see the new “showcase with a purpose.”  And the Fall Fair will feature two million potential shoppers!

We cut the ribbon on this new endeavor yesterday. 

My deepest thanks to Renee McClain, the Fair’s CEO, and her team and Betty Capestany and our own Pierce County Economic Development team for making this happen!

Switching gears before I close, I want to give you a chance to name our new litter vacuum truck!
We welcomed our first litter vacuum truck earlier this year. The truck will help Planning and Public Works tackle roadside litter and leaves. 

(Teaser – Keep an eye out for our next episode of Inside Pierce which just might feature the Vacuum Truck!)

In the meantime, people who live in unincorporated Pierce County are invited to help us name the truck! We’re accepting name ideas through May 3 at Then, head back to the website May 10-20 to see the finalists and vote for your favorite. The name will be announced May 24 during National Public Works Week. 

Thanks for reading,