Office of Jani Hitchen, Pierce County Council, District 6 announcement.
It is truly hard to believe that 2022 is ending. I want to extend my thanks to many in the community that have been part of the work accomplished this year. The number of meetings attended, and emails sent pale in comparison to the face-to-face conversations with community members around town, at events or in between meetings. We have some incredibly passionate and creative community members in the 6th district that bring ideas to the table.
Here’s some highlights I want to share:
- Approved the county’s first round of expenditures from the behavioral health and therapeutic courts tax, distributing $20.2 million to organizations offering programs focused on substance abuse disorder and mental health treatments.
- As of this month, fireworks are limited to July 4 and Dec. 31 in unincorporated Pierce County, per Ordinance No. 2021-79. I’m hopeful this will help reduce the impact to our neighbors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pets, and farm animals. We were also able to clarify how fireworks would be dealt with in the times of immense fire danger.
- Consumer protections for animal sales Ordinance 2022-10 requires pet shops to only sell animals that come from humane breeders. This was something I started working on in 2021 and took many months and meetings. I’m pleased to see it enacted. It goes into effect January 1, 2023.
- Adopted the Pierce County Housing Action Strategy, R2022-162s, to address the homeless epidemic and lack of attainable housing.
- After hearing from many of you and witnessing the volume of roadside garbage, I helped establish the illegal dumping and littering reduction task force in R2022-160.
- Authorized Pierce County to finalize the One Washington settlement agreement in R2022-130 for communities, including those harmed by prescription opioids. This settlement is the first of several to come, and we know there is an incredible need. Chair Derek Young has been a champion for the county and state around the opioid crisis, and I will be taking up the mantle of this work, in partnership with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, the Opioid Task Force and all our cities and towns. Every part of our county is touched by this, and we finally will have dedicated funds to do some much-needed work.
- I have also had the amazing opportunity to take part in a variety of events locally. I held listening sessions (community conversations) around the Historic Parkland School and Lakewood Library; at the ferry terminal for Steilacoom and on Anderson Island residents; an on-line discussion for veterans and military families and an in-district meeting at Lakewood City Hall. I always love hearing from you!
- I also participated in the #WeekWithoutDriving campaign. I was challenged to do everything I normally do, all without driving myself in a car alone. It truly was eye-opening. You can read about my prep for this here. I was also part of a national panel to discuss the experience, with the organization called America Walks.
Other highlights include:
- Meeting with state leaders, staff, and the Governor to talk about the safety for community members that walk, roll or ride on State Route 7. I worked with my colleagues to move Pierce County toward Vision Zero.
- Being an active member of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force for the state of Washington. I have learned so much in the year that I have had the honor to be part of this group. We concluded this year’s work with a summit held here in Pierce County December 15th and 16th. It was the first time I had met many of my task-force members in person.
- Participating with National Association of Counties (NACo) with other electeds from across the country in the Human Services and Education Committee. This guides the work I do locally, when I can get ideas from other counties facing similar challenges There, we can talk through solutions together.
- Being in a parade on Anderson Island, watching a parade in Lakewood, attending the Apple Squeeze in Steilacoom, and the Tree Lighting and community clean-up in DuPont. I even got to join the 5th SFAB on JBLM to see a live simulation of an overseas operation.
There are many more events and activities put on by great organizations and it was a lot of fun to get out and about across the county.
I continue to learn new things, meet new people, and try to find ways to solve problems. My network continues to grow, and I really am enjoying the opportunities and challenges that come my way. As always, please contact my office through email or a phone call, follow me on social media (Twitter, Instagram & Facebook) and sign up for my newsletter.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday enjoying your traditions and a happy new year!