With the recent federal government shutdown and partisan gridlock taking priority over doing the people’s work, Snohomish County elected officials continue to work together on a productive and bipartisan basis. Some of the good work being achieved in Snohomish County Council through bipartisanship and quality governance deserves to be highlighted.
Unlike issues at the federal level, many of challenges council members face at county level do not hinge on partisan preferences. Regardless of political affiliation, quality roads, public safety and land use are important to our constituents. They are only a few of the many county government responsibilities that we work on every day in County Council.
Due to the nature of these local issues, council members make an effort to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done on residents’ behalf. Local government is closer to the people and, as a result, local officials have the ability to communicate their ideas and priorities more effectively without a partisan lens.
The way Council members have approached the county’s operating budget over the past two years is one example. Republicans and Democrats on the County Council and in the County Executive’s office have worked together to pass balanced budgets with no increase to the general property tax levy. At the same time, we have prioritized essential services such as public safety and implemented sustainable fiscal policies to prepare for the next economic downturn.
These budgets have been passed with support from both sides of the aisle, and the end result is more effective government doing the people’s work.
This willingness to work together also led to a bipartisan leadership team for 2019. I was elected vice-chair for the County Council at our first meeting this year and will serve with Councilman Terry Ryan, a Democrat, who was elected chair. For the first time in over a decade, the council’s leadership team represents councilmembers from both parties and shows a commitment to our shared goals of fiscal responsibility, ensuring public safety and providing quality service to our residents.
Many controversial issues have received bipartisan support at the local level, including the ban on heroin injection sites in Snohomish County. While other local governments have been bogged down by the politicization of this issue, Snohomish County took a bold and bipartisan step in banning these harmful facilities.
In Snohomish County government, we have built productive working relationships with each other and other elected officials, community leaders and our constituents. The result is us working as a united front to accomplish the important job that our constituents have entrusted to us.
Elected officials at the state and federal level could take a lesson from local and county governments and get to work on behalf of the people. My fellow council members and I are committed to continuing our bipartisan approach to governance on the Snohomish County Council.