Clarence Moriwaki – An In-Depth Community Conversation

Bainbridge Island City Council District 5 (Central Ward) candidate Clarence Moriwaki recently sat down to answer 12 issue-and-policy-based questions with Chamber President Stefan Goldby ahead of the 2021 General Election. Recorded via Zoom as an individual 1-on-1 session, this interview is part of a series talking in depth to all eight of the 2021 candidates for Bainbridge City Council.

Each candidate was allotted up to 45 minutes to answer a set of questions written in consultation with Chamber members with expert local knowledge of a specific topic. Each conversation features the same questions being asked of all candidates, and in the interest of fairness, none of the candidates were shown any of the questions ahead of the interview session.

We hope that this format provides a chance for Islanders to see each of the prospective councilmembers share their thoughts and potential solutions to some of the big challenges facing the Bainbridge community in full, without interruption or editing.

Each of the candidate’s unabridged responses are presented here as full transcriptions, and below as an unedited video clip, accompanied by timestamps for each individual question.

Learn more about Clarence Moriwaki:
In the Chamber’s initial email interview: https://bainbridgechamber.com/questions-for-the-candidates-central-south-wards/
At the official campaign website: https://www.clarenceforbainbridge.us/
At the official campaign facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClarenceForBainbridge

Read the full interview here, or if you prefer to watch, simply jump straight to the video interview


Stefan Goldby: So, let’s start detailing your previous community engagement. Which Island organizations have you previously worked for, with, or volunteered at?

Clarence Moriwaki: Well, with the city I’ve worked on a few of the official city-sanctioned units. I was on the Bainbridge Island Health Housing and Human Services Council which was a city-chartered council. I was on our board of directors to overlook, oversee as in the title health, housing, human services. We distributed the City’s funds for all of those different organizations.

I also served on the Bainbridge Island Salary Commission. These are both back in the early 2000s. And then the Bainbridge Island City Council created the Wyckoff Acquisition Task Force, which was the effort to get the Superfund site there acquired. And I was part of that core group. We later morphed into the Friends of Pritchard Park, for identity and for branding, but to also focus what our mission should be there – to create a park from this horrendous Superfund site. And I… those are the official city organizations that I’ve been involved with.

I’ve been involved with many other community organizations, both the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community when I first moved here in 1998-1999, and I’ve been president for the last, oh gosh, 10 years or so. And I was one of the founding members and first president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, which is now our only national historic site here in the entire Kitsap County area… I’m probably leaving out a few more…

The Marge Williams Center, I was on that board for a while, I was really the good guy cuz I could climb ladders, clean windows and paint the railings that no one else wanted to do, I think. I was their secretary; I’m told my notes were just almost verbatim notes – that came from my reporting background.

And then I left all those organizations when I became a special assistant to Jay Inslee, so I had to divorce that and focus mostly on that. So those are just a highlight of some of the community involvement I’ve been in.

And, thanks to the Chamber, you’ve recognized that service when in 2017, you shocked me and called me the Citizen of the Year. So that was a lovely honor. Riding in that Auburn replica speedster in the 2018 parade is still a surreal moment for me. So thank you for that honor, Chamber.

SG: As you’ve been now actively campaigning, talking to islanders for a while now, what are the top three concerns that you’re hearing from the community?

CM: I think the first one is just good governance. You know, people have, this isn’t the first time people have asked me to run for City Council. They’ve asked me many years ago, ten, fifteen years ago, and Stefan, I’d always say, “Wait, you want me to run for city council? I thought you liked me”.  And we’d all giggle.

But one of the things, one of the reasons why is it it is difficult work, is because you do have to deal with a lot of different agendas and personalities. But so much of it is, and I’ve heard from so many people, it’s a dysfunction. And they want just good government; they want it to be predictable. They want it to be responsible and transparent, don’t come out with an agenda, try to listen to all views. And that’s really what good governance is. And so that’s number one, I think that I see from the community, and what I’d like to bring to this position.

Number two, affordable housing is huge, and protecting the environment. I think both of those are probably the top two kind of land use issues that people are talking about. And we’re experiencing a lot of growth and I believe we can accommodate growth, but still protect the quality of life that we have. There’s a lot of ways to do that. And development doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Development can actually improve the environment. I can give examples of that later if you wish.

And the third, I simply want to have a vision of this community. I’m in a third generation, a third phase of my life. I do have a Medicare card now. So they say, the third of your life. And so what I’m looking for is, I want to put everything through a prism of what the future of this island should be. What kind of things are we leaving for future generations? The environment, you know, I’m glad to have a Climate Action Plan. Maybe it’s past the tipping point, but doesn’t mean we can’t try. Put in the kind of community that is more diverse or socio-economically, which means we have a different demographic mix than we do now. And also, making sure that we as a community are welcoming to all people, all colors, all backgrounds, all races, LGBTQ community, that too adds to the richness of our community.

SG: The recent draft of the county-wide land use report has suggested that while our island’s growth is roughly on track to hit the projected 2036 levels, the growth itself has not been happening in line with our stated Comp Plan. Do you agree with that, and how do you think we can best balance the island’s residential, commercial and community needs with that preservation of our natural resources?

CM: Well, the projected growth I think you’re talking about maybe the state’s growth management plan and the Puget Sound Regional Council projections if…

SG: Kitsap County also just published a report on how each community is doing against their own growth targets and land use projections.

CM: Well, there’s a couple challenges on Bainbridge. One is that we really love our rural character. That’s one of the reasons why we all live here, we love it. But so that puts a lot of our land out of development reach because they are parks, they are bought by the Bainbridge Island Park Foundation, the Land Trust and all the rest, and they should be preserved.

So that increases the challenges of where are the buildable areas? And I think the comprehensive plan did a really wonderful job of identifying the urban cores and the designated community centers. Those are the places that targeted growth should happen.

I believed that because when I first moved here in 1998, I lived at the it was called Key Bainbridge, now condos I believe now, and it was the closest townhouse to the senior center, and is right next to the now beautiful aquatic center. And I’d walked to work, I’d go to Sound Transit, come back, and then it became a game to me, how long could I go without driving a car. And I went so long that one time I had to jump it because it had been sitting there for two months.

What that taught me was, look, two months of non-carbon load, I walked everywhere. I could have driven my car, but I chose not to because I just live in the urban core. I think that’s a smart design. I think that’s where we should target our focus on growth in our community, in urban cores and some of the designated urban centers and those designated centers.

Lynwood Center in particular looks really intriguing to me. And again, I’m not going to predetermine what may happen in the future, or what my decision might be. But I just doorbelled that area just recently, and there’s a lot of density around and there were empty fields. But the one thing that really intrigued me was you have the Treehouse Cafe, you have it on the other side of an empty field, you have Walt’s, then you have all the other units, you know, the Hammy’s Burgers and the rest. Seems to me that that’d be a perfect place for mixed use development, where you have all of the synergy, where you have all of this, things already happening there.

But that’s smart growth. That’s really planning ahead for the future. You’re creating business opportunities, you can have density there. So those are the kind of things I’d look at how do we maintain our current character, but still make, bring in the growth that we really want.

And affordable housing is key. I’ve read the housing, the Affordable Housing Task Force. That’s a remarkable document. Without going into specifics, I think that is a perfect framework of which the council should start deliberating on what the affordable housing needs and how we’re going to meet them.

SG: So let’s put the focus back into Winslow for a second. What do you think requires the most urgent update in the current Winslow master plan?

CM: Well, there’s a lot of things and again, before I go into that, Stefan, here’s one thing remember: we, the first thing I said was accountability and trust in our government. I’ve written and I’ve said in my candidate statements and others that I want to be someone who’s going to listen to all sides of an issue fairly equitably, and openly. And so, on certain issues like that, that may come to the Council, and should the voters choose to elect me, I will be on the next Council.

I want them to trust that I will pledge up to that. And so if I make certain statements or certain prepositions on, this is what I think will happen, this is what should happen, it kind of sets the stage saying, Well, you’ve already made up your mind, haven’t you? So when they come to the Council, I want that to be true. I want to be able to that you trust that I’m going to listen to all sides, look at the facts here on the issues and come to the determination of what is best for the future of our city.

So having said that, I’ve kind of broadly said what I think Winslow should be. And again, it’s worked. I lived it. I’ve always lived in Winslow, except for a few years when I – there was a girlfriend. I lived, we lived in Seattle for a year – but here I always lived in the Winslow core. And one of the reasons I chose to do that was because I really loved the urban walkability. It has so many values for our community, good for health, good for walking around, it creates safety in your community when people are walking – crime doesn’t happen because crime happens in shadows, not where people are visible to be seen. So there’s a lot of reasons to why it’s good to have the density within where the services exist. And that also applies to neighborhood centers, too.

SG: COVID has has prompted an unprecedented shift in the operations not just of our businesses, but the nonprofits and even the city. What part of that pivot do you think it will turn out to be permanent changes, and how can the city best support them?

CM: Wow, man, that’s a that’s a tough one. One thing we’ve seen is that there was a huge economic impact. Businesses shut down. If it wasn’t for the CARES Act from the the government, it’s Coronavirus aid, really… I hate acronyms, by the way, but a million dollars came to the city, thanks to the federal government, thanks to the Biden administration.

Imagine the impact if we had to somehow find a million dollars in revenue from our businesses and from our citizens – coming on top of the already burdens that we had. So that was there. And the real estate taxes and funds from that were a surprise actually, but we can’t keep depending on that. So that’s going to be, I think, as budgetary concerns moving forward, something that the city council’s really got to think about. And the current budget expectation’s – with things going perfectly.

Somewhere out in the future, I think I saw it was eight to ten years out, the graph is going to shift where the revenues are going to go far lower than the current expenses. That’s not a good delta. So we’ve got two things to challenge – to make sure that we maintain all the services we have in the City and also be fiscally responsible, which cities have to be. You have to have a balanced budget, there is no deficit spending, we can’t do a debt limit, like what’s been considered in Congress. So that’s the primary concern for the City.

We’re doing it right now, what we’re doing right now is Zoom, there’s going to be a whole shift of how we have personal interaction with our citizens. The Zoom is okay, but it’s not the same as being in person. And that’s something that really frustrates me – nothing personal – I’d definitely love to be with you right now, but this is the way we have to do it. That’s another way of doing business.

And one of the things that is concerned about that is what about accessibility? What about those folks who don’t have adequate WiFi, or don’t have the means to have the two-way communication or to do a zoom out, we’ve already excluded people because of that lack of the technology available. So that’s a concern also doesn’t should be involved. And it should not be limited just because you can’t afford WiFi or you’re in an area that it doesn’t even exist. We all know the cell phone coverage on this island. So those are all things that we’re gonna have to really think about – how we’re going to do this adequately for future citizen involvement.

SG: One of the biggest current challenges for the business community has been finding new employees. And one of the biggest struggles those potential hires generally have pointed to is a lack of affordable workforce housing on Bainbridge. What practical steps are you prepared to take to address the island’s need for workforce and indeed all other kinds of affordable housing?

CM: First, I just want to just double down on what you just said. When I was on the Bainbridge Island Health, Housing, and Human Services council back in… 2001, I think it started –  we looked at the… needs assessment. And we were looking at all the things about needs for poverty and homelessness and affordable housing.

And I wrote columns for the Bainbridge Island Review on behalf of that. And one of the things I wrote back in 2001 was that people who work here can’t afford to live here. And the people who live here can’t afford to work here. And that was true 20 years ago, and it’s even more so now. What’s the base median of housing, three quarters of a million, something in that range. And so that does not create community. We’ve got to find ways to do that.

But there’s also other reasons; we talk about climate change. We have a climate change action plan. I read somewhere that of all the traffic that goes on 305 – it’s not the ferry – 70% of it are people coming onto the island to work and are leaving the island to go home. That’s adding to congestion. It also adds to their incredible stress of having to drive off – I’ve been stuck in that – sometimes I can’t imagine being a worker here going through that every day with that backlog to the casino, that’s stress, that’s time.

And it’s also terrible in terms of commerce on our community. Anybody in the Chamber, I think you know that economists say you can judge your economy by how often a $1 bill is touched. You know, how often does that money circulate in the community? Well, all of those workers who can’t afford to live here, we pay their salaries, and they’re gone. That investment and that person’s salary is not being spent in our community, it’s in Poulsbo, or as far away as Port Orchard and those rents in those houses.

So it’s not a good economic model for our community – if we’re going to have economic vibrancy on our island, that has to be solved. And again, I mentioned the Affordable Housing Task Force’s report. It’s got fantastic recommendations, it’s well thought out, citizens put a lot of effort into that. That’ll really be a cornerstone of where we really started discussion how we can solve that problem.

SG: How best can equity and diversity be increased on Bainbridge?

CM: Well, that has to be done holistically. The City, I applaud the City for having the Race Equity Task Force. That’s a good start. My mentor, Dr. Frank Kitamoto, was the president of the Japanese American community. And he started the Multicultural Advisory Committee for the school district way back when, because he saw that need.

And we are not a great diverse community, at 95% white, our average age is about 10 to 15 years over the average of other places in the community or the state. So you don’t have the vibrancy of young families. And of course, race.

You know, I’m a person of color. And for the last 20 years, I’ve been promoting the Japanese American community and its story, and how fear is something that causes a lot of that hatred and causes a lot of prejudice, and why we should avoid that.

So having leadership from the City saying this is something we’ve taken – I would say that the school district and their race equity policy is extraordinary. I mean, it’s something that I would look at, maybe even cut and paste and steal, because it’s a well-done document of the future of what they want – their employees, their teachers and staff, but also the whole school district and how they appeal to their students and parents that they serve. And so if you set policies like that, you’re setting an indication of: These are the values we want in our community.

And that can also be done with the equity of businesses, maybe putting out placards that it’s a safe place for the LGBT community. Those kind of things are sending a signal that these are the values we love on our island and I love all those signs that are out there right now that say, you know, this is an island that supports all of these things. So we have the right base, basic framework, it’s up to us to implement it and those people who are in those communities now feel protected, welcomed, and they can become part of it.

SG: What kinds of infrastructure improvement do you think are most needed on the island?

CM: Well for one, and this is just my feeling, but I’m a bicyclist. I’ve done several Seattle-to-Portlands, Chilly Hillys. Bicycle lanes, bicycle separation – that’s really important – does a lot of things.

One is non-motorized transportation so of course you’re reducing the carbon and the rest. Two, it’s healthy – that’s good. But three, it shows that you can have this circulation. I think the City is working on one right now to improve the the Madison Avenue sidewalk all the way up and… bike lanes up to where the library is – that’s a great idea.

And, they’re kind of sub-standard sidewalks. People forget how awful the sidewalks were in downtown Winslow. God, in front of Isla Bonita you could trip on those. And it was only like three-feet-wide sidewalks. It was horrible. So that didn’t – that was a good improvement.

Winslow Way is a wonderful example of one of the things you can do. It also has great environmental benefits as well. So bicycling is one big infrastructure.

Two, the sewer needs to be upgraded. It’s had issues especially during heavy storms where the sewage actually goes out into Puget Sound. So that’s a future issue.

And in our electrical infrastructure, of course, that’s outside of our purview since it’s Puget Sound Energy, but we do have ways of permitting and design, and encouraging where their products should go.

One of my goals and one of my dreams – someone said, what do you envision in the future? And I said that Puget Sound Energy finally gets rid of its fossil fuel base under the coal plants and becomes truly green.

Because most people don’t know -I have an electric car and I plug it in. But I’m actually contributing a carbon load because Puget Sound Energy is a number one single contributor to our carbon load just because of those those plants. So some of that’s out of our control, but hopefully we can encourage that. So those are some of the ones right off the top of my head that I think the City should look for in its future infrastructure.

SG: What do you think the falling enrollment in Bainbridge’s highly rated and well funded public school district is most indicative of?

CM: Well -I have a couple thoughts on that. Schools are the vibrancy of your community because it shows where your future is going – it has young families and they’re going to stay in this community.

The school just has gone through remarkable demographic challenges. They’ve lost about 600 students in the last 10 years. How many hundreds of families is that that have left our island? And it’s our largest employer, a little over 500 employees, I believe. And just – the graduating class is 300 students, the incoming kindergarten class is about 200.

Now you folks who do business, you can tell me that is the wrong delta. If you assume that all those 200 kindergarteners without new influx, because this seems to indicate that we’re losing students, but let’s assume we can hold on to those 200. That’s already a 30% loss. That means that we lose state funding for our teachers, because our enrollment is down, it means that they fire some staff, that means fewer employees on this island, the school district’s going to have to juggle how they take care of these infrastructure needs.

This is not great. This is something where the City can be useful if we do create those affordable housing units – bring in those young families and hopefully keep some of those teachers on the island where they can live and be part of this community.

So there are strategies you can do as a city, but the school district is a great district, it rates highest all the time. I’ve often seen it as a battle between us and Mercer Island on who’s the best school district and who sends the most kids to colleges. But that’s a good competition to have, because it shows the quality of education we have available on our community. That’s I think why a lot of people are drawn to our community.

SG: Should Bainbridge take a leadership position in reducing waste, educating consumers and promoting reusable items in our communities everyday life? And if so what would be your key initiatives in that area?

CM: Well, one, yeah, absolutely. I think so. And I think the city, I think our community’s already made a pretty good, I would say, community stand on how we value that. Those trash compactors that were put in Winslow years ago, I believe those were donated or bought, I don’t think those were City facilities, just solar compactors.

What a message that was sending, right? It was green, it’s getting rid of this waste, we have an incredible recycling program. Man, you know, I go to the, I can recycle here at Winslow green, but sometimes I have to take other items to the recycling center? Well, we drink a lot of wine here, because I see a lot of wine bottles in the recycling, that’s a good thing, because we have a lot of great wineries of which to enjoy.

But we should do more, the city should encourage more. And we can do that by making sure that these policies are in place. Oh, and also lets us reuse-recycle-reuse materials. Make sure that the materials we use have a high recycling content, or have a low carbon load. Those are things you can do right up front with the products to use. So you’re contributing to reducing that cycle of waste. I think those are just a couple of thoughts.

SG: You’re only going to have limited time and resources to tackle all these challenges of Bainbridge life, so could you name 1 to 3 specific actions, you would like to take that to define the legacy of this potential term of office? 

CM: Well, one off the top. Tim Self has this podcast called the BIStander, B.I. Stander, and he asked me this question too. And I hope it doesn’t sound trivial, but it’s gonna mean a lot. I’ve done this at the state with the governor’s office, with Sound Transit, with the Kitsap County Commissioners office, even in the White House. And that’s getting rid of acronyms – that’s getting rid of jargon.

It sounds like it’s not a big deal. But here’s why: I want to increase citizen involvement, I want to increase people coming to the city and also being aware of what the city does. But many times when people work up the courage to come to City Hall, and it even though you’re just a small city community, it’s a lot of courage to do that.

They’re going to be on videos, I’ve heard that speaking publicly is a greater fear than death for a lot of people. So to do that, and when you come into City Hall and they’re throwing all these acronyms, you’ve already lost, and you feel like you’re intimidated, because you don’t know the rules of the game. You don’t understand the jargon, so therefore, you feel that I can’t contribute, because I’m not smart enough.

Well, at Sound Transit. I’ll just give you an example of why this is important. We had smart engineers going out to the community and they said this,“We’re going to assess a lot. We’re going to discuss alignments, and our choices are ‘at grade’, ‘cut and cover’, or ‘aerial’”. That’s what they said.

And for people who aren’t in transit… What did you just say? And for the time you’re thinking about what were those words that they said, you’ve lost them. They’re not listening to your following words, because they’re trying to figure out what you said. Let me put that in plain English for you. “We’re going to talk about some routes. They can either be tunneled, at street level, or elevated.” How hard was that? How hard was that to communicate?

And when you throw out an acronym, when you use the words, especially discussion about floor area ratio, which is a very difficult topic, I’m still trying to get my handle on how that works. But when you talk in a city counts when you’re saying FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR, the person comes in the middle of conversation – What is this? What is the code here?

So at Kitsap County as a policy, we fined both the commissioners and any city staff who comes in public and speaks – you use the jargon term, you get fined the dollar. And pretty soon they got stuff. Now I was scared, I’m going, “God, oh, is this going to be a fundraising effort?”, you know, but it was only about 70 bucks.

After a while, it became normal. And what happened was what I expected would happen, where people really got involved in the community discussion, because you’re saying the acronyms out loud, when you’re saying floor area ratio? Well, I get it, I’m following along conversation.

So if that’s my one legacy, if I can stop jargon, and that helps me and can include and encourage citizen involvement, I’ll be very, very happy that I was my legacy.

Another thing would be affordable housing, I’ve put that as one of my top priorities because I’ve studied it. As I mentioned, I’ve been talking about this for 20 years as something that our community really needs to address. So that would be a big one for a lot of reasons.

And the third, I think, is to have good governance. I want to bring the trust back to our city, I want people to believe that their government is working openly, transparently, is predictable, is not chaotic, not have previous agendas. But I think the only agenda should be is how we make this a better city for all of us. So that would be my third focus.

SG: You just pretty much preempted the final question – well done, which was  – What kind of working atmosphere will you strive to create if elected to city council? Maybe you could talk a little bit more about the different kinds of bodies you have served on and how they work together – maybe your experience with working atmospheres and what you think you can bring to the Bainbridge City Council in that respect.

CM: Yeah, thanks. Stefan.

One, I have a long history in government. For the last 30 years I’ve worked for the Clinton administration, I was their spokesperson for the Northwest forest plan that was to protect irreplaceable old growth habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl. Not an issue that anybody cared about.

Was also in Governor Michael Lowry’s office as the deputy communications director, Jay Inslee when he was a Congressman, I was his Kitsap County office. I worked at Sound Transit. As I mentioned, I worked for 32 different state senators.

I’m bringing up all these government experiences, because one, one thing about government and all those levels is that whoever I was with – whether it was President Clinton, Governor Lowry, Congressman Inslee, all those state senators – they were upheld to, we’re just here, it’s a temp job. Voters give us this job for whatever term – 2 to four years. So remember they’re your bosses, this is who we serve.

Secondly, you have to serve in the highest integrity, and that all those all those levels of government, we had very strict level of code of conduct, rules of engagement, public disclosure, ethics, they held it. And they held the same standards to us as employees.

For example, in Congressman Inslee’s office, there was a gift limit – I believe it was $25. And so I had a friend of mine who was a local lobbyist, had nothing to do with Congress. But since he was a registered lobbyist, when he wanted to take me to the Mariners game and it was a $30 ticket, I had to turn him down. I couldn’t accept it.

The standards are tough, the standards are that tough, and the reason why you have to have that is that public officials are held to a much higher standard than the regular public.

You know, you can have your life, but when you choose to be elected, and people elect you, this is part of our representative form of government. And people trust you, people are saying, “we got to go on with our lives, we want you to go and represent our interests, you could do the hard work and study all this stuff about land use, and zoning, and the rest. We just want to go on with our lives.”

So they’re entrusting us to do that. And they got to know that we’re doing it with the highest levels of integrity, and trust, and ethics.

And I was asked one one time in a meeting from a young child, maybe fifth/sixth grader, “What are ethics?” You know, if it’s not written down in the law, if there’s not really the rule that was written, did you really violate it? Well, first of all, I explained, there’s the letter of the law and spirit of law. So while a rule may not be perfectly written, there’s a spirit of it. But I said, it’s really simply this, my mother said this, and I’m sure a lot of other mothers or people have repeated it: Ethics are really just conscience. It’s doing the right thing when no one’s looking. Just doing the right thing when no one’s looking. And if you do that, and you know it’s the right thing, then you’re clear. Don’t worry about it.

And so that’s the kind of thing I think we need – and I brought that from my government experience. That’s probably the one greatest value that I have – because public service is so vital and it’s why I’ve chosen a lot of my career to be in public service was because of those standards. And it comes from my DNA.

I was the first 12-year-old Eagle Scout in Washington State. The only one actually, and those early days of what Boy Scouting is and I know people mock it – Clarence, you’re such a Boy Scout. Okay, guilty as charged, man.

But there’s a Scout law and I hope maybe some of your viewers are scouts – you probably know these 12 points. Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. I got those when I was 11 years old, you know, and you read them. Those aren’t bad values to still aspire to. And they’re really core. They’re really core to who my DNA is. And I’d like to believe I’ve proved that. I’ve served this community for 20 years on all these different groups and associations that I’ve mentioned. And I think I’ve earned that reputation of being the Boy Scout, but being someone who’s collaborative, who hears all points of view, I know a thing about that. So that’s part of that.

The government service also, I also know how intergovernmental relations work. And my role here in Kitsap County for Jay Inslee, for example, I was his Kitsap County office, and I knew every single elected official in this county, I mean, in the legislative and congressional district. That was my job. You know, city council members, park commissioners, fire district commissioners, people who are sewer commissioners – there are sewer commissioners, we even have sewer commissioners on this island.

My job was intergovernmental relations, and that’s going to be more important than ever, when we face the challenges of the 21st century. Bainbridge certainly can’t do it all. I just mentioned the CARES Act and the millions of dollars that the federal government gave us. Imagine if we had to find a million dollars somehow. So it’s all intergovernment – we can’t, we can’t do it alone.

And so those relationships – and I know how they work, I’ve been there – are going to be even more key or how our community is going to succeed in the future. Because there’s other resources, let’s not reinvent the wheel. The federal government, the Kitsap County Health District is an incredible resource.

And our healthcare – we lost Swedish. We have challenges on our island, providing health care for our own citizens. So all those intergovernmental relations are going to be more important than ever for services like that. So that’s where my governmental background, I think, is really important, given me the values and the vision of doing the right thing, but also how government works, and our government, as well as how every individual government does function.

NOTE:  Transcript has been edited only to reduce vocal repetition and improve clarity.
The uncut video is also included here, with all questions and answers (and any glitches or technical errors) intact.


Watch The Video:

Question-By-Question Chapter Markers

00:59 Community Engagement

03:20 3 Community Concerns

05:25 Land Usage

08:33 Winslow Master Plan

10:09 COVID Pivot

12:45 Affordable Housing

15:13 Equity & Diversity

17:08 Infrastructure

19:13 School Enrollment

21:07 Environmental Leadership

22:32 3 Specific Actions

26:14 Working Atmosphere


To see all eight of the 2021 City Council Candidate Interviews, head back to the Chamber News homepage…