King County Council incumbent Jeanne Kohl-Welles is facing a young challenger in Abigail Doerr. They discuss their positions and why you should vote for them.
I am running for King County Council because we need smart policy and bold leadership to make real progress on the issues that matter in King County: bold policy approaches to addressing housing and homelessness because our neighbors cannot wait, transit and transportation solutions to keep our region moving, and leading on climate justice and environmental protection.
Real Solutions to Address Housing & Homelessness:
The three largest household costs facing families and workers are housing, transportation, and child care. My vision for King County is centered on affordability. By building walkable affordable housing around transit hubs, we can better connect communities to economic opportunity, great schools, and high quality and affordable child care.
The County has an obligation to do more to get our unsheltered neighbors the care and housing they need. It’s apparent the County needs more units of affordable housing, and I’ll work with the County Council and the City of Seattle to make smart and necessary investments to deliver the affordable housing we desperately need.
Lack of affordability is only one factor in the homelessness crisis facing our region, but mental health, addiction, and a myriad of other challenges play a role too. We need to evaluate how our investments in human services are paying off. By better coordinating and resourcing with cities and nonprofit service providers, we can do more to ensure we’re supporting those experiencing homelessness and have a meaningful plan to get them off the street.
We need investments in child care facilities at all of our major transit hubs. King County should prioritize land use requirements with cities to ensure space for child care facilities are accessible and directly invest in that infrastructure.
King County has rapidly grown over the last decade, but that doesn’t mean we can sit idly by while longstanding communities are disrupted and neighbors are forced into homelessness. I’ll make affordability—in transit, in housing, and in childcare to start—a top priority at the county level.
Transit & Transportation:
Ridership on King County Metro is growing faster than any transit system in the country because we have invested in growing transit options, yet there is still much demand for more frequent and affordable transit. The King County Council has an enormous role in improving the cost and availability of transit. Access to reliable transportation is a major barrier preventing people from escaping poverty.
I have a lot of ideas for how the County can continue to improve our transit system. Let’s start with region-wide funding for Metro, creating a stable source of funding for transit, better connecting our communities, and ensuring people across King County have access to reliable and affordable transit.
Transit is a powerful tool for building equity—but we need to maximize its potential. I’ll push Metro and Sound Transit and to continue to reform fare enforcement and end misguided policies that disproportionately harm people of color and people who can’t afford fares. I’ll fight to put affordable transit passes in the hands of every person in the county, serving the dual purpose of better connecting neighbors across our region and providing additional funding for expanded services.
I am proud to have led the Sound Transit 3 ballot initiative which secured the funding for 7 new stations in our district. We have waited long enough for mass transit – light rail must open on time and sooner: I have a deep experience working with Sound Transit and will fight for all options that can ensure we are speeding up the delivery of much needed light rail service.
Our region is one of the most innovative in the world and has the fastest growing transit ridership in the country. I will push the County Council to make reforms and prioritize progressive metrics that meet our demands locally, rather than adopt race to the bottom approaches from transit systems outside the Puget Sound.
Leading on Climate Justice & Environmental Protections:
King County has always been a leader on environmental protection and climate action. And with the federal government gutting environmental protections and actively denying climate change, King County must lead the nation on reducing pollution in our air and water.
Our county should be a leader in reducing the use of fossil fuels through transit. That means speeding up the transition to electrify our Metro buses while also making transit service more reliable and accessible to all communities. Carbon pollution—the main driver of climate change—has marred our air quality and caused countless adverse health effects. By investing in transit, we can improve our public health and our planet’s health.
King County is made up of more than 2300 square miles of an incredible natural environment—including mountains, forests, lakes, and streams—interspersed with urban, suburban, and rural communities. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be a leader in conservation efforts, protecting our air, water, land, and natural resources. We need to maintain strong support for parks, make investments in drainage and wastewater projects, and implement thoughtful land use policies.
The environment is one of our region’s greatest assets—but it won’t stay that way if we don’t step up to fight climate change, clean pollution, and preserve this amazing place we call home. On the County Council, I promise to be a loud and clear voice, and a proactive and effective advocate for our environment—because when it comes to our planet, we can’t afford to wait.