September is National Recovery Month. My passion and commitment is to bring resources and solutions to our community to support those who struggle with mental illness and addiction. The theme this year "invest in health, home, purpose and community" summarizes my approach to whole person, integrated care.
1. We as a community commit to compassion, understanding and common-sense solutions. Outreach, education and prevention are core to my solutions, knowing that research will show us that we can make a difference. Support to families of those who struggle is also a critical part of the community services we should offer.
2. As we move from outreach to treatment, engage those who struggle in workforce programs, supportive employment or peer volunteer programs. Give people a purpose and a path.
3. Island County is finalizing our housing element plan. I will work to assure strategic and focused conversations that address the housing needs of everyone in our community. Island County is not a housing provider but a powerful convener to support housing solutions. This is both prevention and intervention for those in recovery.
4. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Whole person, integrated healthcare is significantly more effective in improving outcomes and reducing healthcare costs to individuals and communities. I have worked on integrated care throughout my career. i will facilitate public/private partnerships to strengthen and bring those programs to all of Island County. We can do better.
Evidence-based solutions for recovery have a return on investment of $7 saved to every $1 spent. That is math that just makes sense. Caring for others in our community -bringing compassion and solutions - that is just the right thing to do.
Recently I was doorbelling in Oak Harbor. I met a couple who shared with me their concerns about their aging mother. They brought her to Whidbey Island this year from the Midwest. She needed their support. The concerns they shared centered on finding an appropriate Medicare supplemental plan and getting her connected to care and social support. I listened and directed them to Island Senior Resources locally and suggested SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor) through the State. I strongly believe that we are responsible as a community and as public servants to care for our seniors and help them get the care they need to thrive.
My opponent recently stated in a forum that seniors “should plan ahead if they choose to live here. This is a rural community and people should know that and plan for it.” Well, I guess I agree and I disagree. I certainly don’t see myself brushing off this issue as a failure of personal responsibility. Many of us do plan ahead. Many who live here counted on their retirement pensions and their social security as they looked to the future. But life happens when we are making plans.
I met Sam sitting on his front porch on Camano Island. Sam has lived on Camano since childhood. He lives in a modest home on the west side. He had just received his property tax bill. He and his wife had both worked their entire lives and now were facing losing their home of 45 years because of rising property taxes. I wish both parties in Olympia had worked harder to find a better solution to fully funding education than just property taxes. I gave Sam information on how to find out if he qualifies for senior exemptions but he told me their income pushes them just over that threshold of support by $100 month. I will advocate with legislators in Olympia to address the impact of this property tax on our seniors and low-income homeowners. I hope to see modified legislation that offers a more careful approach. I met many other seniors on my walks to become your next commissioner. Many shared their stories and their concerns.
My feet are tired, my spirits are up and my heart is full. I want to take a moment, to thank my team, my husband/campaign manager and to thank you, the community. I have been encouraged, supported, advised and nurtured by all. My campaign team has been amazing-organizing house parties, parades, outreach, canvassing, letters and building the buzz that created momentum that will carry us to victory in November. The community-they have listened, they have talked, they have given and they have spoken. My husband, well just know that he has poured his heart and soul into supporting all these efforts and in supporting me.
For me, this decision and the work over the last several months was never about winning or losing. Don’t get me wrong-I am focused on the win and every step, every new friend and every intention is to make sure we are successful in November. My decision to step up and run is about reclaiming a narrative about our common values and our ability to work together for common sense solutions. This is about rebuilding and strengthening our communities.Read more