New elected officials make regional connections

Workshop on regional planning and trends

New councilmembers, mayors and commissioners from the central Puget Sound region gathered at PSRC this week for a workshop on regional issues and trends.

In an ice breaker, the new officials shared why they ran for office. Many said they were asked by others to run and felt the need to step up to a new leadership role in their community.

Some had been in PTA and other community leadership roles.  Others said they wanted to lead efforts to address climate change and the environment.

Just over half of those attending were women newly elected to office.  

Josh Brown, PSRC’s Executive Director, set the stage with a presentation on recent growth trends in the Puget Sound region, highlighting the recent surge in population and job growth, record transit ridership and other trends.

In small group discussions, the new leaders identified the most important regional issues in their communities.

Small group discussion
Small group discussions

A top concern mentioned by all groups was transportation, including the effects of pass-through traffic as commuters look for alternate ways through congestion.

Other important issues cited included the opioid crisis, homelessness, affordable housing, and the need to create more jobs in the South Sound area.

Councilmember Paul Roberts, Mayor Nancy Backus, Mayor Becky Erickson, and Executive Bruce Dammeier
A panel of regional leaders – Everett Councilmember Paul Roberts, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier – offered advice and answered questions from the new elected leaders.

PSRC hosts the biennial Regional Connections workshop with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and Sound Transit to spark engagement in regional planning and build relationships among elected leaders throughout the region.