Pierce County Council District 2 – Sarah Rumbaugh

Municipal/Other Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Sarah Rumbaugh
  • Position Sought: Pierce County Council District 2 (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 27
  • Democrat: yes

Campaign Information

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 believe I am qualified for this position based on my involvement in the community serving on several non-profit boards. I believe strongly in public service and my experience working on many political campaigns over the past 15 years sets me up for understanding how to run a race, I understand how the support from my surrounding Democratic organizations and labor unions is important in helping a Democrat win a race in my district. My experience fundraising has set me up to understand how important it is to raise the funds necessary to get my name out to voters. I also understand the importance of doorbelling and meeting the voters at the door. I am strong speaker and someone who understands the citizens of my district and will represent them well.

I obtained a BA from Gonzaga University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. This education coupled with 10 years of experience as a city planner in Kent informs me as to the best methods to address growth, while balancing important environmental and quality of life concerns.

2. What prompted you to run for this office? What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?

I decided to run for this office because I thought that my values fit my district. I believe in serving families first, maintaining quality of life, enforcing the Growth Management Act and preserving agricultural lands. It is critically important to meaningfully address the homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Pierce County.

3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I have raised over $20,000, doorbelled over 500 doors, and I am reaching out for endorsements from labor, community leaders, and other elected officials. But more than anything, I am working hard to be me when I meet voters in my district and making sure that I listen and understand their concerns. I make notes and then get back to those that I meet at the door or other places in my district and throughout Pierce County. My team of volunteers grows by the day and my paid campaign staff is largely in place.

Part II – Local Issues

1. Would you support the establishment of a safe injection site in your district?


This is a challenging issue for our county, state, and country. I believe strongly that we need to provide people in crisis a place to be safe. By providing safe injection sites, those who have a special skillset can make sure that people who are addicted are given the correct dose of a drug, hopefully keeping them alive another day, and ensuring they are aware of an have access to quality addiction treatment resources. We should treat all of our citizens humanely and this is one way to do that. Addiction is a public health issue of huge proportion, and should be treated as such.

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?


Yes, I believe in a sanctuary policy that protects those in our community who are undocumented. We need to, again, treat people humanely, and I am strongly against the NW Detention Center, ICE, and anyone or any administration that is forcibly removing people from our community, or separating families. Holding people in prolonged detention without prompt judicial intervention is un-American. Immigration laws should facilitate lawful immigration processes, not weaponize them.

3. Do you support raising revenue at the city level to expand transit service?


I am running a county wide race, so this isn’t something I would have a direct say in as a County Council member. That said, I do have a couple observations.

We know that Pierce County will continue to see increased density. We also know that close to 50% of our residents leave Pierce County daily to go to work. It is important for us to continue to increase spending on transit because this is the only way we will continue to be competitive as we look to increase the number of employers in Pierce County. The Growth Management Act, if administered correctly, requires that we increase densities closer to cities so that we can keep our open spaces and agricultural lands. With that in mind, more population in cities makes it easier to provide necessary public transportation to move larger groups of people. We need alternative types of transit, such as light rail, in Pierce County, so we can move throughout our county but up and down I-5. Without a robust transit system, economic growth is stifled and people’s quality of life, is diminished.

4. Should transportation policy discourage the use of private automobiles and encourage the use of public-transit?


In order for public transit to work, there needs to be a reason people want to get out of their cars. What encourages someone to stop driving their car? That differs based on where you need to be and how that works in regards to your job and family. While I might support a policy to discourage the use of private automobiles, I remember being a new mom who drove to Kent every day for work, but I needed to get back before 6pm to pick up my daughter at daycare. Unfortunately, public transportation did not work for me. But, if I had daycare at work, I would definitely have been able to take public transportation. My point is, I am not sure that everyone is seen as equal when we talk about choices that deal with public-transit. This is a great question and I don’t have all of the answers on how we might discourage people. I like to think that we should incentivize people to change their choices in transportation by finding ways to make a job/life balance easier for them so they have other options to choose from the get around.

5. Do you support building a municipally owned and operated broadband system in your city or jurisdiction?


While I appreciate the idea of a free market, it seems that internet ends up being almost a monopoly based on the limited number of companies currently are offering services. I live in NE Tacoma and have two choices for internet providers (and only one for cable). If one of these providers disappears, I will have one choice, and I am worried we will continue to see the prices go up for services. Additionally, as prices go up I see this impacting those who can’t afford to purchase internet. I fully believe that this should be something that everyone is able to have and we should not be limited based on who decides to provide or not provide services. This is an equity issue for me and we should make sure everyone has this vital service at a reasonable cost.

6. Do you support requiring police officers in your jurisdiction to wear body cameras?


When officers have to wear body cameras, they act differently. I support our law enforcement, and the use of force is a concern when there has been a climate of discrimination and intimidation based on skin color. I don’t have great detail on our police force’s record of use of force, or the use of force policy. It might not matter that they wear body cameras, but behavior does change when a visual record is kept. It has been demonstrated that body cameras change how often force is used as the first choice for de-escalation. A visual record also provides officers protection in situations where there is use of force, and that use is questioned as excessive. While not a panacea by any means, body cameras do provide mutual benefit to police and those with whom they come in contact.

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?


We need to find other ways to control property tax increases by finding other ways to pay for services. I have heard from several citizens at the door about the increase in our property taxes this last time. This is an issue that the legislature needs to look at because the taxes are tied to funding schools. We cannot expect that all taxing and revenue raising for schools take place through property taxes. We also know that our population will be growing which will cause property values to increase and therefore, property taxes to increase. We need to find ways to support the most vulnerable who are impacted by the rise in property taxes such as the elderly, those on fixed budgets, the poor, etc. Funding programs that provide affordable housing will help with the increase in property taxes in the next 20 to 30 years. Broadening the funding stream for schools beyond property tax needs to occur.

8. Should government assist individuals, and families who are without sufficient food, shelter, or basic necessities through no fault of their own?


My mother worked for the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Before she had this job, my single mom raised me and my brother after my dad left. We lived in public housing and received welfare. One year a group brought us Thanksgiving dinner. I had no idea we were so poor. It opened my eyes to how much help we needed and how much help others needed. I believe strongly we should help all people as these are basic needs everyone deserves. I am Jewish and helping others is a mitzvah, a good deed, and you should help them at a level consistent with their needs. I serve on the Associated Ministries Board of Trustees, and we are the coordinated entry point for homelessness. While some might see to blame those down on their luck, AM sees these people as worthy of help and does everything they can to help find housing for each person who reaches out to them. Their staff understands how these people feel and provides them empathy but also ideas on how to solve their problems. I have learned that it is only by owning some of their situation are they able to help them move forward into housing and employment. I am so proud of my service on this board and the good work we do.

9. Should the wages paid to workers in Washington State be raised incrementally towards the goal of living wages?


We should make sure that everyone one who lives in Washington State earns a livable wage. My opponent is supporting legislation to limit wages by 30% for people under 25 and those who have not worked for 5 years. This is discriminatory and outrageous, as it would impact a woman returning to the workforce after raising children, and a college student entering the workforce with large student debt. These two groups are in most need of a living wage because of their situations. Working moms are oftentimes having to pay for childcare and lower wages would impact their ability to pay all of their bills. College students are paying for tuition and all of their living expenses. Legislation supporting a livable wage in Washington State would allow all citizens to afford the rising cost of housing in our state, the number one reason that forces people out of their current housing.

10. Will you seek opportunities to mitigate the human activities that are contributing to disastrous climate change?


Yes. Reducing chronic hydrocarbon emissions by providing better mass transit will help. Providing economic incentives to move people away from petroleum-based energy generation and to clean energy sources is a critical policy we owe to our children and our planet. Clean energy development and energy usage reduction through technological advance creates new, well-paying jobs and reduces climate damaging pollutants.

Part III – Free Response

1. Why are you requesting Democratic endorsement? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I have always believed in the core democratic values of a woman’s choice, a free market, a meaningful and secure safety net, and social justice generally. Most of all, I believe that we should help others and that your economic status does not equate to your value as a person. All people deserve to be treated the same no matter color of skin, sexual orientation, or economic circumstances.

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?

There is never enough focus on homelessness, affordable housing and transitional housing. This needs to be our number one issue because housing is not a privilege, it is a right.

3. Please list up to three specific, concrete actions you would support to ease the homelessness crisis.

More affordable housing of all types. This might involve really looking at changing how we see our single family zoned areas. Small houses for transitional housing.
Co-housing where people have shared living areas and private areas. This is very affordable but involves changes in our planning community.

4. What are the barriers to economic prosperity faced by residents in your jurisdiction, and how do you plan to address them?

I believe the number one issue in my district is family wage paying jobs. There just are not enough employers providing this type of work. Consequently, people are stuck being underemployed or having to travel out of Pierce County to go to work every day. I would look to incentivize many of the industries that are located outside Pierce County to open local offices that employ 15% of their work force so that people do not need to leave our jurisdiction to go to work.

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?

My neighborhood has only a bus in the morning and one in the evening. It seems to me, there is not a plan to provide transit to all part of my jurisdiction. While I am aware that parts of my district have transit, it is only a small portion that actually is able to take the train. We will need to have a better system of bus and rail to actually make changing habits a viable choice.

6. What are your jurisdiction’s environmental issues, which ones are urgent and what will you do to address them?

My jurisdiction includes the Port of Tacoma, which will involve many different types of environmental issues, from air and water pollution, to the impacts of heavy metals and fossil fuels. We need to look to change our uses in our Port so that they reflect our values as a community when comes to keeping our families safe from environmental hazards. We have to balance with this what types of jobs will be located in the Port of Tacoma and tideflats in the next 20 years. This a crisis of magnitude as we see the Earth’s temperature rising and we need to protect it for our children today and in the future. There is a balance that involves economic needs and the environment. But we can’t afford the cost of repairing the devastation of environmental disasters that loom around the corner. I would support a strong stance on finding jobs that are not fossil fuel related but rather are directed to clean and renewable energy industries.

7. Does your district have a taxing authority or propose levies and what changes, if any, would you seek?

Mental Health and social services need to be supported and encouraged by the legislature for urban counties, which every other urban county in the state has implemented. I also believe we should work to pass a Pierce County Housing Trust Fund.

By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Printed Name: Sarah Rumbaugh

Date: 02/29/2020

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