Pierce County – Monday marks the beginning of filing week, the weeklong deadline for those seeking to run for office this November. With its start comes the exciting news that Dr. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place) the Deputy Director of Pierce County Connections, the county department in charge of delivering support services for local families, seniors, veterans and adults and children with disabilities, will run for the State House against Republican Dick Muri.
“I am excited to be undertaking this challenge to get our state back on the right track,” said Leavitt. A mother to seven, with a daughter and son-in-law stationed in Germany, Leavitt has worked for Pierce College, Tacoma Community College, and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
“The partisanship and gridlock that we have seen at our state capital has shortchanged our kids and local families. I come from a background where we roll up our sleeves and find solutions, not excuses – and it is time for new leadership that can work with members of both political parties for the benefit of local families. In addition, as a member of a strong and diverse military family, I understand how important it is to come together for the benefit of our military families, and all our families.”
As deputy director of the Pierce County Connections agency, Leavitt oversees, with the director, over 190 employees and is responsible for administering the county’s delivery of a wide range of community based services that include support for veterans, early childhood learning programs, youth violence prevention, programming for children with developmental disabilities, job placement and training services for adults, affordable housing, and homelessness, in addition to many other important programs to help struggling families get back on their feet.
Prior to that Leavitt worked at Pierce College as the Director of Student Support Services, leading programs to help local students with access, college readiness, wrap around services, mentorship, and community engagement services. She also worked as an intern for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges where she led efforts working with the business faculty to ensure course curriculum was giving students the skills they need to succeed when they graduate.
“It is critical that we not only meet our K-12 school funding obligations, but that we find new ways to make our colleges and technical schools more accessible so we can train our next generation of workers for our great local businesses,” said Leavitt.
“It’s time to restore accountability to our taxpayers by closing outdated tax loopholes that give away hard earned tax dollars and create an unequal playing field. We also need to reject the false notions that we can’t afford to pay for mental health and veteran services or that common sense proposals like providing equal pay for women, strengthening support for foster care families, or addressing homelessness will hurt our economy.”
Leavitt has a long list of regional leadership and community involvement, which includes serving currently as the President University Place School District PTSA, a Trustee of the Accountable Community of Health, serving as former Chair of the Pierce County Ethics Commission, and past president of the Council of Unions and Student Programs. She is involved in the County’s LEAN Process Improvement efforts, the Community Health Partnership Council, has served on the Mel Korum YMCA Board of Directors, in addition to training for the Juvenile Truancy Court.
Leavitt earned her Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Community College Leadership Programs and has a Masters in Education from Western Washington University. She and her husband own an orthodontics practice in Lakewood and Yelm and are active in their local church and other community organizations.
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