As your City Councilmember, I want you to know that you can always reach me with your priorities.  My campaign email is info@votethoms.org.  I also reply to my City email and love addressing constituent issues.  Below are a few of the issues that I hear about most, and what I’ve done about them so far.

It is a privilege, an honor, and a lot of fun to work for you, and for our Tacoma community!

Public Safety

I believe public safety is the greatest duty of local government.  I secured funding for the first increase in staffing for Tacoma Police and Fire in over a decade.  I am proud to we will be hiring 19 new officers in the City of Tacoma. We must lower crime, and I am willing to do what it takes. I am also working to tackle the interconnected issues of mental health, drug abuse, homelessness and property crime.  To do so, I worked to create Tacoma’s first Property Crime Task Force.  I also recently passed two ordinances to help our Police deal with the nuisances associated with camping on public property and public health concerns by banning sleeping in cars over 72 hours, and camping and loitering on public property.  Ultimately, I believe a combination of enforcement and increased service availability is key to a humane, effective solution for this crisis.  I will continue to lead toward making Tacoma a better place to live, work and raise a family.  I appreciate your feedback on these issues and encourage you to email me with any local concerns.

See news coverage of these new tools and investments I have led.

KUOW- NPR discussion with Bill Radke
http://kuow.org/post/why-tacoma-banned-tent-camping-all-public-land

Tacoma Weekly

http://www.tacomaweekly.com/news/article/kindness-of-others-touches-victim-of-theft/

Feed Tacoma – City councilman fights to improve property crime investigations

http://www.feedtacoma.com/entry.php?id=48699

KING TV
http://www.king5.com/news/local/tacoma/tacoma-approves-public-camping-ordinance/455969395

KOMO TV
http://komonews.com/news/local/tacoma-adopts-more-rules-limiting-homeless-camping

Q13 Fox TV
http://q13fox.com/2017/07/12/tacoma-passes-new-laws-targeting-homeless-in-cars-tents/

The News Tribune
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article160921704.html

 

Transportation

All of Tacoma, especially Downtown, benefit from having an effective multimodal transportation system.  It’s key to our future economic competitiveness and quality of life.  I have worked on the Transit-Oriented Development in the Dome District, including the new Amtrak and Sound Transit facilities.  I also successfully worked to ensure Tacoma’s Link Light rail extension will be protected during the legislative process.

Pedestrian access is another important part of a vital Tacoma.  I helped secure $5 million in funding for crosswalks and spearheaded Tacoma’s “Talk the Walk” program, and am a strong voice for long-overdue safety improvements at the rail crossings in Old Town.  All our residents, especially seniors and those struggling with handicaps, deserve to be able to get around.

I also was instrumental in ensuring the City put more General Fund money toward roads in our budgets.  When I joined the Council was spending less than $5M of our general budget directly for roads.  I passed an amendment to the budget to move all Gross Earning Taxes to roads, instantly doubling the roads budget.  I also joined Tacoma voters in adding over $300M to fund road construction and upkeep.  We must do more, and I will continue to seek ways to add additional revenue toward infrastructure so Tacoma can grow.  I will ensure we have safe roads that we can be proud of.  We must never again allow our City’s streets to return to the state of disrepair from recent years.

Tacoma Weekly – Tacoma City Councilman proposes changes in School Zones
http://www.tacomaweekly.com/news/article/councilmember-proposes-school-zone-changes/%7Bimage:url%7D


Protecting Our Kids

As a father of three young kids, I am very concerned about safety near our schools.  When I joined the City Council, citizens were so frustrated that they were painting “rogue crosswalks.”  I also found that the City lacked uniform school zone standards.  I was shocked and I adopted these safety concerns as a top priority.  I first secured over $150,000 dollars in the 2015-2016 budget to address the schools that had the most significant amount of traffic concerns at the school, and I increased the implementation of school zones and flashing beacons to protect our kids.  I also secured $500,000 to create a “Safe Routes to Schools” program in Tacoma to better leverage State and Federal funding opportunities for Cities and School Districts that adopt safer route policies.
I also added the first ever Cross Walk program in our City, with nearly $5M to support our enhanced school zones.  In the 2017-2018 budget, I secured $1.07M to address another additional 17 schools with new flashing beacons and enhanced school zone lengths.  Tacoma should be a place where everyone feels safe, especially our kids.

I will always fight for the safety of our kids!

Tacoma Weekly – Tacoma City Councilman proposes changes in School Zones
http://www.tacomaweekly.com/news/article/councilmember-proposes-school-zone-changes/%7Bimage:url%7D

The News Tribune
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article72182017.html

The News Tribune
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article40775547.html

 

Port of Tacoma, Methanol & LNG

The Port of Tacoma provides family-wage jobs and is an important driver for our local economy.  It’s important that we craft a future for our Port that’s sustainable and in line with Tacoma’s values.

I believe that the future of Tacoma should be more sustainable and less industrial.  I was the first and only City Councilperson to speak out against the size and scope of the Methanol Plant.  I also have concerns about the proposed LNG Plant.  To put it lightly, the City of Tacoma needs to do better work planning for the future of our Port and industrial lands.  That’s why I spearheaded a Subarea Planning Process, which will allow Tacomans to have their voices heard in charting the next 50-100 years for our Port.  It’s time to make better, more sustainable decisions for our Port’s future.

We must seek projects that meet or values, that create economic growth, high-wage jobs, and offer safety and sustainability.  That means we must have a vision for Tacoma’s future and the land use powers to implement it.  It’s time for Tacomans’ voices to be heard in planning for our Port.  As your City Councilmember, that’s exactly what I fight for.

News Tribune Op-Ed – Thoms’ Vision of city’s future looks less industrial
http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/op-ed/article63829877.html

 

Homelessness

Tacoma has recently declared a State of Emergency in our homelessness crisis.  We must balance enforcement of existing laws with a recognition of the root societal causes of homelessness.  I support “housing first” models, and am proud the City of Tacoma in having a one tenth of a percent Mental Health tax to address many of the homeless issues facing our city.  However, to provide housing and truly address long term root causes we need the County, State and Federal governments better help us develop system-wide approaches.  I will continue to work with our local and regional partners to address this critical issue.

KING TV
http://www.king5.com/news/local/tacoma/tacoma-approves-public-camping-ordinance/455969395

KOMO TV
http://komonews.com/news/local/tacoma-adopts-more-rules-limiting-homeless-camping

Q13 Fox TV
http://q13fox.com/2017/07/12/tacoma-passes-new-laws-targeting-homeless-in-cars-tents/

The News Tribune
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article160921704.html

 

Affordable Housing

As a Councilmember, I fight for affordable housing and additional rental and ownership opportunities.  I regularly meet with affordable housing developers to discuss existing incentives the City currently has to support affordable housing and also learn what other tools are desired by investors to create more housing opportunities in our community.  Currently, we are nearly 100 percent (98.5%) occupied for affordable housing and 97% for market-rate housing.  We must get ahead of the issue so we don’t allow Tacomans to be priced out of our market.  In my previous role as State Director for Senator Maria Cantwell, I worked closely with Tacoma Housing Authority to provide funding and HUD support for their tremendous efforts.  I am a strong supporter of expanding housing for our citizens and will continue to fight for that cause on City Council.