After introducing my wife Erin and daughters Clara and Aubrey, I talked about my family’s story in Pierce County and why I like to think of myself as a “localist.” Here’s what I had to say:
My mom’s side of the family first came here to Pierce County in 1925 and made their home in the Lincoln District of Tacoma. My great grandpa Charlie ran the Lincoln Branch of Puget Sound National Bank, and my great grandma Jewell taught drama classes and ran boarding houses during the Depression and World War II.
My Zeiger side of the family made their way to Puyallup in the 1950s, and my great grandparents and grandparents on that side were educators in the Puyallup School District and became deeply involved in the community.
One of the earliest impressions I had about the importance of citizen engagement in local government was when I learned about how my great grandpa Zeiger went to the Puyallup City Council in the 1980s to stop the city from chopping down a giant black walnut tree on 7th Avenue Northwest. It was a centennial tree planted in 1889, the year Washington became a state. Because Ernest Zeiger and a few other citizens took a stand, that tree stands there to this day.
And it’s because of impressions like that, and because I have seen what people can do when they work together at the neighborhood level time and again, that I like to think of myself as a “localist.” I believe that local community and local democracy are essential to our experiment in self-government. This has always been true, but I think it deserves special emphasis today.
In a time when government can feel distant, local government is uniquely situated to bridge the distance, because it allows neighbors to come together in determining their own destiny.
And in a time when our divisions as a country have grown deep, local government can be a point of human connection, where we can work through our differences, strengthen our relationships with one another, and do what is best for the communities we love.
In the words of Chuck Marohn, a writer on local planning issues, “Local government is not the lowest form of government in an ecosystem of governments, but the highest form of coordination and advocacy for your community.” I couldn’t agree more.
I look forward to working with all of you in the days ahead. Let’s get started.
I am always happy to schedule a time to talk with you about your priorities for our community or any concerns you may have. Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or call me at 253-798-2222. I am joined in my office by my Council Assistant Aaron Hallenberg, who previously worked in my state legislative office and will be a great resource for constituents.
I look forward to working with you!