- Candidate Name: Kate Baldwin
- Position Sought: Auburn City Council, Position 2 (Non-incumbent)
- Home Legislative District: 47th
- Democrat: Yes
- Manager or Point of Contact: Kate Baldwin
- Phone: +15172907377
- Address: PO Box 1326, Auburn, WA 98071
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Part I – Candidate Background
1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.
I am a college-educated, highly skilled tech consultant that migrated to the PNW along the 45th parallel following job opportunities. In my current position, I work with IT departments for private companies and public entities (Starbucks, City of Tacoma, REI, etc.) to roll out specialized software that manages and optimizes their IT and business processes. These projects are often large scale, complex, and high risk.
Prior to this profession, an early journalism career prevented my direct involvement in political parties as I had a need to maintain a presence of fairness and objectivity. So in lieu of Democrat-specific action, I focused on nonpartisan causes – food security, the arts, youth programs and civil liberties like freedom of the press and women’s reproductive rights. Eventually a career change into tech allowed me to re-engage with my Democratic Party and values.
Ultimately, I bring a Midwestern approach to the movement. The same way that I show up to help a friend move, I show up to volunteer, donate, and support organizations that help my neighbors and my community.
2. What prompted you to run for this office? What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?
I know I can make a difference in my community. I have a good mind, strong work ethic, and a balanced, sensible approach that I bring to the table. I have been active in community-service since middle school so this feels like the result of a natural, perhaps inevitable, progression. While I had planned to run later in life, it was through serving with the Executive Board of the 47th, that I learned of need for a council candidate. I talked to me my peers and with their encouragement I decided to take the leap.
My top priorities include: 1) leading a housing-first approach for homeless, 2) fostering a diverse and safe community – including safety from police violence, 3) supporting a sustainable growth plan (inclusive of transit) that accommodates the region’s forecasted hyper-growth, and 4) cultivating economic development to diversify the city’s economy.
3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?
I am working with 47th District contacts and existing council members to advise and direct me. The 47th recently organized a candidate resources page which has been key. I have identified a treasurer to support the financial management and PDC reporting requirements. I will be utilizing new media like Facebook, Instagram, and Zoom to reach online audiences and classic outreach methods like canvassing, signage and mailers. I will also be seeking the endorsement of key affiliates.
Part II – Local Issues
1. Would you support the establishment of a safe injection site in your district?
2. Would you support the administration and police force in your jurisdiction adopting a sanctuary policy, forbidding the sharing of local resources and labor with ICE?
3. Do you support raising revenue at the city level to expand transit service?
4. Should transportation policy discourage the use of private automobiles and encourage the use of public-transit?
We need to do better serving our neighborhoods before we consider making anything harder. Auburn is a city that is spread-out and requires many commuters to drive to the city center – both to receive services and to be able to incorporate public transit into their commutes. As of today, the city has limited capacity for parking at it’s transit sites, along with limited run times for the Sounder that can make public-transit incompatible for some households. Even with local bus routes, there are many neighborhoods that do not have easy bus service into the downtown transit core.
Current challenges aside, I do heavily and strongly support public transit and I would discourage private automobiles as part of overall strategic plan for the city’s development. However, being pragmatic, I would ensure adequate infrastructure is in place first to support our commuter workforce before making any ‘discouragement-type changes’ that could impede current commutes times. For many of our riders, just getting into the city is only step 1 of a multi-phase commute. For example, it would take 57 minutes to get to the Auburn Sounder Station from my home using transit, or 8 minutes by car. Add a second leg into Seattle, Bellevue or Tacoma, and we see that a strong hub and spoke design is critical to get folks started on the right foot.
As someone who has relied on transit, the best way to improve adoption is to make it faster, easier and cheaper than using cars.
5. Do you support building a municipally owned and operated broadband system in your city or jurisdiction?
6. Do you support requiring police officers in your jurisdiction to wear body cameras?
7. Do you support repealing Tim Eyman’s I-747, which artificially limits property tax increases to 1% per year, regardless of population growth, inflation, and need?
8. Should government assist individuals, and families who are without sufficient food, shelter, or basic necessities through no fault of their own?
9. Should the wages paid to workers in Washington State be raised incrementally towards the goal of living wages?
10. Will you seek opportunities to mitigate the human activities that are contributing to disastrous climate change?
Part III – Free Response
1. Why are you requesting Democratic endorsement? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?
As a Democrat, I seek my party’s endorsement to serve as their sanctioned representative. Endorsement will help me reach out to members of our base and serve as an introduction to members of the community I have yet to meet.
Within the Platform, I am invigorated by the renewed efforts to protect voting rights, the belief in science and facts, the move to act now on climate change, the support for universal healthcare, and measures to address criminal justice reform.
2. What important local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?
As Boeing reduces it’s Washington footprint to move to non-unionized states, I would be concerned with impacts to the regional workforce. I would like to see a taskforce to explore what types of industries we could bring in to reinvigorate the manufacturing and take advantage of the highly skilled workers in those fields. Determine if we could retool to become producers of solar panels, electric vehicles, wind turbines, or even pre-fabbed quonset hut-style homes to solve our own housing crisis.
3. Please list up to three specific, concrete actions you would support to ease the homelessness crisis.
First, I would complete an assessment of our homeless community to qualify the specific areas of need and profiles for our homeless population. Second, I would identify city properties that could be developed into deliberate, supported interim housing and move forward with any necessary zoning/planning changes to accommodate the development. Third, I would incorporate on site services for residents for counseling, basic healthcare services, and referrals into work training, education or other programs.
4. What are the barriers to economic prosperity faced by residents in your jurisdiction, and how do you plan to address them?
Minimum wage is not keeping up with the cost of living, especially as the cost of housing and healthcare increase. While Washington state and Auburn are higher than the federal minimum wage, the popular $15/hr target is already outdated. Had minimum wage kept pace with inflation, workers would be receiving $24/hr. In my role, I would refresh and incorporate aggressive new targets for city minimum wage exploring options for different schedules based on business size. I would also encourage Auburn’s Council to collaborate with other councils to provide a unified, regional approach.
5. What are the transportation/transit challenges which face this jurisdiction and how would you address them? What role does rail play in your proposed solutions?
As mentioned previously, neighborhoods are underserved with limited local transit options. In part, likely due to the fact Auburn doesn’t administer its own transit program, but works with services received by bring in the jurisdictions of King County Metro, Sound Transit and Pierce Transit etc. I would explore areas where service routes could be developed and work with the existing partnerships on options to add those services, potentially through chargeback or other programs. Rail in Auburn is limited by being a shared line with privately owned BSNF and managed business and the lack of frequent, consistent all day service prohibits the Sounder from being utilized at the same capacity as the Link. In my position, I would also lobby for an extension of the Link into Auburn and into our neighboring Kent community as well.
6. What are your jurisdiction’s environmental issues, which ones are urgent and what will you do to address them?
Auburn has known areas of contaminated water and soil as a result of industrial operations. The WA Dept. of Ecology has been actively monitoring these sites and has developed a plan for Boeing with regard to clean-up. In my role, I would ensure the City of Auburn stays informed of clean-up progress that will be overseen by the DoE. I would also encourage ongoing monitoring of these areas to ensure those that were initially identified as low-risk, do not increase over time.
7. Does your district have a taxing authority or propose levies and what changes, if any, would you seek?
Yes, the council is a taxing authority. The city of Auburn just passed a B&O tax bringing it in link with more than 200 other WA state cities that currently leverage varying B&O taxes. In light of that recent passing, I would need to spend more time with the city’s budget and planning division to determine whether additional levies or increases will be needed to close the current budget gap.
By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.
Printed Name: Kate Baldwin