Mar 22, 2022
Robyn Denson, candidate for Pierce County Council Position 7, joins Crystal to discuss what’s at stake in her run for a critical seat in regional government, including the thin Democratic majority on the Pierce County Council. As a deeply-engaged community member and current Gig Harbor City Councilmember, Robyn is passionate about listening to the diverse voices of her district and fighting for their needs, whether the issue is housing affordability, ending homelessness, COVID assistance and recovery, or mitigating climate impacts.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii, and Robyn on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/robyndensonpiercecountycouncil.
Elect Robyn Denson: https://www.electrobyndenson.com/
“Gig Harbor councilmember will run for Pierce County Council to replace Derek Young” by Kerry Webster from The News Tribune: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/community/gateway/g-news/article256502086.html
Pierce County Council District 7 Map: https://www.piercecountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/110768/District-7-2022_web
City of Gig Harbor - Councilmember Robyn Denson: https://www.cityofgigharbor.net/directory.aspx?eid=170
Communities in Schools - Peninsula: https://peninsula.ciswa.org/
Harbor WildWatch: https://harborwildwatch.org/
Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund: https://www.gigharborlandconservation.com/
Pierce County - South Sound Housing Affordability Partners: https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7052/South-Sound-Housing-Affordability-Partne
United Way of Pierce County - South Sound 211: https://www.uwpc.org/get-help-now-dial-211
Pierce County - Applying for Rent & Utility Assistance: https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7488/Applying-for-Rent-Utility-Assistance
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes.
So today we are thrilled to have with us, candidate for Pierce County Council, Robyn Denson. Welcome.
[00:00:45] Robyn Denson: Well, thank you, Crystal. It is an honor to be invited to be on your podcast.
[00:00:50] Crystal Fincher: Well, I am certainly excited to have you - there are so many exciting races happening throughout the state. Lots of people have been focused on legislative races or prosecutor races, but we also have county council races and this in Pierce County is very important and interesting. So I guess I just want to start off getting a better idea of who you are and what your background is.
[00:01:14] Robyn Denson: Well, first, let me thank you for recognizing that we have county council races as well - because a lot of times, I guess we aren't as maybe as high profile as some of the legislative races, or as local as some of the city council races - so even as I'm door-belling already, people are like, "We have a County Council representative?" if I'm in the city of Tacoma. So, I get to explain the difference and get to draw them in to why this position is so important, why the County Council is so important, and I'm really, really excited to run for County Council District 7. I will say, like probably a lot of public officials and public elected officials, this was not in my plan.
I am a current Gig Harbor City Councilperson, and I've been really enjoying working with the community here and getting lots of things done. And that honestly came about because I've been involved in volunteer service in the community for so long - whether it was nonprofits, then I was on our volunteer City Parks Commission for a long, long time and got to know the city - and then at some point, I can't even remember how it happened, somebody asked me to run for city council and I did. And I've really been enjoying it, but about a year and a half ago, our current District 7 County Councilperson, Chair Derek Young - who's fantastic - came to me along with his assistant John Jolibois, and of course I've worked with him a lot on city issues and nonprofit issues as well, and they asked me if I would consider running to replace Derek for County Council District 7. And at first I was like, "What?" but as you know, Crystal, Derek Young is terming out on the Pierce County Council - there's term limits. He has had an incredible eight years, he's accomplished so much. He is the Chair now and for the last two years, the Democrats have had the majority on Pierce County Council, so they are just going gangbusters, accomplishing amazing things for our county and really putting us on a positive path - for the future, for the people, for the lands, and the waters - and this race is so important because it's really important that we retain that momentum and keep things going in a really positive direction.
So I will admit it took me - gosh, at least six months before I gave Derek a Yes - and I knew I would love the position, but as a single parent, single-income household, I had to take all of those things into consideration, as probably some of your listeners can appreciate. I knew I'd love the job - public policy, serving the public is definitely my passion. I do it for free right now - way more - I spend way more time on that than my income producing segment of my life. So I was excited about the job, but I just had to make sure that it was fitting in with where I wanted my life to go, because a position like this is so all-encompassing - campaigning is all-encompassing and then when you're in the position - I mean, this is your life. It's not just a 9 to 5 job. You're involved with the community, and going to events, and getting to know all the players, and making sure that you understand their needs, and talking to them about all the policies that are coming down the pipe or things that you're thinking about to make sure you're getting all of that input.
So, that's the way I treat my volunteer city council job right now and that's the way I'll treat the county council job. And once I made the decision to go for it, I'm a 100% engaged and a 100% working hard on this campaign. I have the support of just a lot of wonderful community leaders - and I don't know how other elected officials feel or other candidates - but to me, when somebody has given me their support and has maybe gone out on a limb to endorse me or give me hard-earned money, then I want to make sure that I am working as hard as I can to get into the position so that I can make sure that I'm serving the public just like I told everybody I would.
[00:05:32] Crystal Fincher: Well, and that's exciting. I completely appreciate you having to weigh what taking on this position would mean. And even as you so appropriately put it, a volunteer city council position - I think people sometimes don't realize how lowly compensated city council members are. If you look at major metropolitan areas, like the biggest cities in the country, the biggest city in our state, Seattle - those positions come with a salary and full-time staff and they have offices. Most cities around the state do not have that, most city councils receive a stipend -
[00:06:14] Robyn Denson: Right - a little stipend - no staff, no offices.
[00:06:16] Crystal Fincher: Yes. Like less than $5,000/year. Yeah, it's with no staff, no nothing - and it is - to say it's a part-time position is really misleading. It is a humongous responsibility and it really is just kind of mind-boggling that we expect our elected representatives on the local level, who are responsible for so much of what our daily life is on a daily basis, to just work for a stipend. And it certainly impacts the type of people who are able to serve. If you are a one income household, if you have a regular job and you aren't owning a company, or not independently wealthy or coming from wealth, it is certainly a different kind of consideration to be able to do that, not withstanding the cost of childcare and how it impacts your day job and all of that. So I sincerely appreciate just you having to take time to figure out how to make everything possible. I also appreciate you talking about how, for the past two years, Democrats had a majority on the Pierce County Council - was not always that. I mean -
[00:07:24] Robyn Denson: I think it's the first time in 17 years.
[00:07:27] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and this is not a given that, "Oh, hey, just Democrats win now," - you are in a purple area that can elect Republicans and it's not a given that, "Hey, this is just sailing and coasting to victory here." So what is your approach in a community that is diverse in many ways, including in ideologies that people hold - how are you communicating with voters and what are you focusing on as you're running for this seat?
[00:08:02] Robyn Denson: Well, I guess Crystal, I'll say that I feel very grateful that I have been involved - truly involved - in the community for a long time, and in roles that were not partisan. Even my city council position isn't partisan, which I just love because a lot of these issues that we face every day should not be partisan issues. They should just be basic human rights, human needs, making the community a better place, taking care of our environment.
So I'm fortunate that I have a lot of support from around the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula communities in particular, because I've been involved in so many organizations - from Communities in Schools, which serves our community, our school district here in the Peninsula School District. From Harbor WildWatch, I just started a Land Conservation Fund and Veterans Day event, I'm involved with the Chamber - just all sorts of different types of people with different interests - all really good-hearted people that want to do the right thing for the community. So I love having that diverse base of support - people that, even if they're not in the same political party as me, we have a common respect and they know they can come and talk to me and I'm going to listen. I'm going to listen to their point of view and we can work together on finding solutions to any issue that comes up in the community that makes sense for everybody, whether it's business or tenants or homeowners or folks in the environmental community that are noticing something in our Sound or in this greater Salish Sea.
I love having that relationship and I'm building those kind of relationships in Tacoma as well. I'm fortunate to be able to get introduced to a lot of amazing community leaders in Tacoma, and because that area is admittedly newer for me, that's where I'm starting to doorbell. So for the last 3 weeks, 3-4 weeks, I've been out already starting to doorbell in Tacoma and getting to know the issues in that community. Because like you've said, my district is very diverse - I have got urban north Tacoma, I have kind of small city Gig Harbor, and then I've got the Key Peninsula that is very rural. And there are some commonalities, but there's a lot of specific issues that are top of mind in each of these communities that I'm excited to work on.
And I think having somebody that takes the time to get to know the people and the issues - and doesn't just assume they're the same as issues in other part of the state - that's what folks need from their representative, because out here in District 7 - I mean, the folks in Tacoma are fortunate because they have their city council person, as well as their county council person. Gig Harbor is a very small footprint, so those folks also have a city council - well, they have all of the city council working for them as well. But most of our district is unincorporated, and the folks in unincorporated Pierce County in District 7 - their County Councilperson is their one representative at the local level, so it's so important. And I'm trying to communicate to folks how important it is that they elect somebody who understands their needs and is going to fight for them.
[00:11:19] Crystal Fincher: Well, one big need that is manifesting in a variety of different communities is the need for affordable housing. And this is a conversation statewide, certainly has been in Pierce County - what are your plans to keep the area affordable?
[00:11:37] Robyn Denson: Well, thank you - that is a key issue, no matter where you are in my district. And like you said, anywhere in the county, and anywhere in the state, and I would say the country as well. Affordable housing is a huge issue and it's a really, really challenging issue. It's something that I've been involved with professionally for a long time - so I've worked with organizations that had homeless shelters and did Section 8 vouchers and did group homes. I worked for Habitat for Humanity - great organization. I worked for the State House of Representatives for five sessions back in - 2005 through 2010, I believe - where we drafted the Homeless Act, for example, and the Multifamily Tax Exemption Program. So we were really addressing it then as well - so it's something that is near and dear to my heart.
It's a challenging issue to address - I can't say that I have the silver bullet answer to it, but I think we're seeing a lot of initiatives that are going to be helpful. We're seeing encouragement of density, especially in transit-oriented areas and areas that are close to housing and other services, or to jobs and other services. That's so important, not only to promote affordable housing, but to prevent urban sprawl into our more rural and natural areas. So, that is certainly one solution. I'm a big fan of making sure that we're working on developing income-based housing as well though, because our area is such a popular place for people to move to. We've got folks coming down from Seattle, we have folks coming up from California, the East Coast, other areas of the country. So even if we're increasing density, a lot of those - if we're not keeping some housing that's really income-based and permanently affordable, I'm afraid that it's going to take us a long time to see density correlating with lowering house prices. It's part of the solution and it will help, but I think in addition to that, we need to make sure that we're creating some housing that is permanently available to folks at different income levels, and particularly the lower income levels.
[00:13:52] Crystal Fincher: So how do you do that from the County Council?
[00:13:55] Robyn Denson: Well, I think that we can partner with nonprofit housing builders and there's a number of them - Habitat is one of them, but we certainly need to collaborate with others that produce - maybe that their model is to create greater numbers of housing units, apartment complexes, or townhouse developments, cottage style developments - things like that - where we're really getting some numbers in. And those nonprofits are really well positioned to make sure that these properties are managed and sustained as affordable over time. There may be opportunities to work with for-profit developers as well. I was just having a conversation earlier with an advocate about this as well, because sometimes for-profit developers have figured out a way to build efficiently and in a really cost-efficient way, which is great, because we want to make sure that our money is well invested to produce the greatest number of housing options possible.
[00:14:53] Crystal Fincher: And so on the Gig Harbor City Council, you've had to contend with this issue also - how has the city approached this - because Gig Harbor's actually done a decent job in providing and growing the amount of housing that you have in the city.
[00:15:11] Robyn Denson: We have, although I would argue that not a lot of it is really affordable. So we have done a fantastic job of reaching our Growth Management Act targets. We're on track to not only reach those, but exceed those, and we do have a mix of housing. So I mean, there are definitely some things that we've done really well - and a lot of those decisions were made before me, so I won't take credit for it - but we've got some of our newer developments where the housing is a bit more dense, where we've got a larger apartment complex, for example, where there's some really cute cottage housing that when I door knocked there are a couple years ago, I thought - this is what I need - so cute and no yard to take care of.
So there's some good options, but we can do more - and actually just this year, we're embarking upon an affordable housing survey and plan here in Gig Harbor to really look at what housing - what types of housing we're missing and not just design, but in terms of what's available to folks at the lower and middle incomes. And I know we've got a long way to go - we did just join last year with an organization, or a collaborative group, called SSHAP - I'm sure you've heard of that - with a number of other Pierce County jurisdictions to share a staff person and try and identify some real best practices to move things forward. But we're excited to look at some innovative uses of city-owned property, collaborations, and making sure that we're providing some additional resources.
We have our businesses reaching out to us. We have our retirement - one of the retirement communities advocating for this saying, "There's no place for our workers to live and we love these people. We care about these people. We want these folks to be able to live in our community and their kids to be able to go to our schools." So we want to be able to provide that as well.
[00:17:08] Crystal Fincher: Which makes sense, and related to the conversation about affordable housing is that of homelessness. And an issue that every area is contending with - that is not limited to urban areas, but certainly there's a conversation there. How do you plan to get people housed who are currently on the street?
[00:17:30] Robyn Denson: Well, I'm very excited to have the opportunity hopefully to come onto the County Council at this time - as you know, just this week, they passed their comprehensive plan to end homelessness. So they have taken a major step forward with advocates to at least put something on paper and get everyone unified about an approach.
Now, I will say from my work in this area, and even just from recently walking around to five or six of the encampments in Tacoma and talking to people and asking them - what kind of housing would work for you, what do you want - that was extremely educational, and what I've learned and what I'm hearing from other advocates is that everyone who is unhoused and is experiencing homelessness - they have their own individual story of their path. No one is five years old thinking, I'm going to grow up and live in a tent encampment. And the other thing I heard from these folks in the encampments is they're like, "We don't want to be on somebody's sidewalk. We don't want to be in the neighborhoods. We don't want to be bothering these people. We don't want them to be bothering us," which is becoming more and more of a concern. They're uncomfortable, the community's uncomfortable, the businesses are uncomfortable - it's not a good situation. And from what I heard from them, because they all came to be unhoused through different paths and all of their situations are completely different - some are working, some are not, some aren't able to, some may never be able to, they need - there's so many different needs that are specific. We need that many different paths to housing.
I'm 100% supportive of the housing first model, but that's going to look different for different people. I talked to this one woman at the first encampment I visited and said, "Would you like to be in one of those hotels that the county just purchased or would you like a tiny home?" and she said, "No." She said, "I have experienced such trauma in shelters that I can't be indoors for more than three hours. I have anxiety attacks," and so it really ran the spectrum of what people wanted, but a lot of these folks were interested in sanctioned encampments - a place where, again, they could get out of the neighborhoods or get off of the sidewalks and have a place where they felt safe. They could be with their networks and communities, and there was sanitation, there were showers, there's laundry facilities, and there's supportive services so when folks are ready and they're feeling safer and more comfortable, they can avail themselves with those services. And then hopefully move up to what I think most of us would consider more sustainable, safer, better housing - whether that's tiny homes or the single room occupancy units in a motel or transitional housing, some may be supportive housing.
But I think some of us have these expectations that we can just pluck somebody off the sidewalk and stick them in an apartment - and for some folks, yes - some folks just need that first month and last month, and a security deposit, and maybe some subsidy to get them through a few months, and they're going to be on their way. But for a lot of folks, they've dealt with so much trauma and there's so many fears and trust issues that they kind of need that time to be stable in a secure, safe housing situation before they can make those next steps - whether it's mental health treatment, behavioral health, substance abuse, or just relaxing in their space enough to be open to be receiving the services that so many of our wonderful nonprofits are ready - they're ready to provide.
[00:21:13] Crystal Fincher: Yeah and I appreciate your perspective there - that safety for everyone, including those who are experiencing homelessness is so important. And the recognition that some of the things that sometimes were well intentioned, that people thought they were doing and providing a helpful space - like a congregate shelter - have been traumatic and harmful for a lot of people. And if you sit and think about it for a while - would you love to have no ability to have any privacy, to have no ability to lock up your possessions, and to not have any space and time on your own by yourself, and to constantly be around other people who may be experiencing their own crises - and that kind of a challenge. And that is traumatic for some people - has resulted in harm and trauma - and people are working through that, and so it's not always, "Oh, hey, we offered a service, there's a shelter available. Why wouldn't someone want to come in here? Well, they're refusing help and they clearly want to be where they're at on the street," and it's not that simple.
I appreciate you having conversations with people who are being impacted - that is the group who is usually most able to tell you how they got where they're at, and what types of things would be helpful to be able to get out. So, as we look at that and providing supported services and sanctioned areas for encampments - is that something you plan to pursue if you're elected to the council?
[00:22:48] Robyn Denson: Absolutely. Absolutely - and again, there's a variety of housing type needs that I will be supportive of, but I have to tell you, Crystal - until I actually had the conversation with the unhoused folks in the encampments, I did not think sanctioned encampments was a great idea. I thought, surely we can do better than that for these people, right - but what I heard, I learned so much. Again, it's so important to actually get their perspective and what I learned was they felt safer in their tent communities because where they are - if you'll notice - most of the encampments around Tacoma at least are small groups of maybe not even a dozen tents. And they all know each other and they watch out for each other - they take care of each other when somebody is injured or sick. I asked one, "Are you afraid to leave your tent? Are you afraid to leave your stuff and go to this service agency and get a shower?" because they're located typically where they can do that. And they're like, "Nope, we all watch out for each other," and so it's so important to - and even when and if we get some sanctioned encampments together - that we are cognizant of these relationships and of these little communities, because they're helping each other move forward as well.
But yeah, the situation now is absolutely a crisis. It's one of the reasons that I'm really passionate about having good people on the County Council right now - who are willing to listen to the unhoused population, to the advocates who've been working with these folks for a long, long time and certainly know way more than I do, and make sure that we are creating the kind of housing that actually works and is going to move people towards self-sufficiency to the extent that is possible for different individuals.
[00:24:37] Crystal Fincher: That makes sense. And I also want to talk about this moment that we're in - in terms of the pandemic - which is not over actually -
[00:24:46] Robyn Denson: What?
[00:24:46] Crystal Fincher: A lot of people are talking about - hey, as we move beyond the pandemic and we're in a post-COVID world - we aren't quite in that post-COVID world. We have certainly moved down from our recent peak of cases, but man, that was a really high peak. And so the overall case rate is still not as low as it has been during other parts of the pandemic - and we're easing up on masking requirements, and easing up - and some of the assistance programs have now terminated or have at least run out of resources, and so some of the supports that have been there to help people get through this time are evaporating. And that's causing some anxiety among a lot of people in the public, and there's still a significant segment of our society that cannot get vaccinated and that isn't feeling protected, whether it's young children or immunocompromised people. So as you look at that, and especially when you're looking at the County Council, which plays such a huge role in the public health response, what is your approach as we move forward with COVID?
[00:25:57] Robyn Denson: Well, as I've said all along on City Council, I'm going to continue to follow the science and trust our professionals and our medical professionals as we move forward. I'm as excited as anybody else to be hopefully moving in a positive direction. Most of us, I think, are excited to be able to not wear masks anymore - I wouldn't do it if the CDC hadn't said it was okay, and our public health officials are saying it's okay. I do feel very encouraged that I know - the first day of school on Monday, I asked my daughter, she's a high schooler, "Were there kids that were masked?" and she said, "Yeah, there was four or five kids in each class that were masked," and I felt really good about that - the kids felt comfortable. And I see adults in the grocery store - that they feel comfortable wearing those masks, and I think that's where we need to be - that people need to feel safe and do what they need to feel safe.
I know I have friends that are nurses, for example, and they still stay masked because they're working with neonatal babies, for example, or immunocompromised people, or folks who have family members that are immunocompromised, Crystal - and like you said, can't get vaccinated or are just super, super concerned about contracting COVID. So I think we, first of all, need to be respectful of the folks that do still have concerns, because yes, COVID is still out there - and we've heard in the news, high-profile people that are getting COVID after all this time. But I'm also honored for the opportunity to be part of the solution because we do have such a fantastic Public Health Department here in the Tacoma-Pierce County area, and we've got amazing professionals that I will seek the counsel of. I'm not going to pretend to be a doctor or a public health professional - I'm going to listen to them and follow their guidance on things.
You mentioned assistance programs and that's a huge concern, because just 'cause we're able to take our masks off - doesn't mean snap your finger, everything's back to normal. There's going to be a transition period where - we're all kind of trying to get used to what our lives are going to look like. They're not going to go back immediately to what they were two years ago, and if folks have gotten behind on rent or behind on their mortgage payments or behind on their utility payments, we need to continue to beat the drum and let folks know that they need to reach out as soon as possible by calling, for example, 211 in Pierce County, or by contacting any of the social service agencies. They're going to point them in the right direction to start filling out that paperwork to get that assistance, because right now is not the time to be losing your housing. The housing market's going crazy, rents are just going up so high - that once you've lost your housing, it just makes - it makes the situation a hundred times worse. So we want to keep people in their housing.
[00:28:55] Crystal Fincher: So what programs are available, or what would you continue to advocate for too - as you talk about prevent people from losing housing, because that is another big part of the solution to homelessness - is not to create more homelessness. How do we do a good job of keeping people in their homes who are behind right now?
[00:29:16] Robyn Denson: Well, I think Pierce County has been doing a really great job at getting their rental assistance and mortgage assistance - sometimes people don't realize that's available as well - Pierce County's done a great job at getting that out the door. I'm not sure how much is left in the pot, or how long we're going to continue to do that, but I will certainly advocate that we need to keep an eye on what the need is and maintain our vigilance around that issue. So I'll continue and encourage everyone to continue to get the message out that these programs are still available. I know there's quite a bit of utility assistance still available - and something I learned - gosh, a few months ago by talking to somebody - is that even if you are - from what I heard, correct me if I'm wrong - but even if you are up on your rent, if you're behind on your utility payment, a landlord can evict you for that. And so we don't want any - we don't want to leave anything to chance in helping folks make sure that they can retain their housing. The resources are out there right now and even if, for example, the county had to pause its program or ran out of money until they get another influx of dollars, there's a lot of other social service agencies that do have pots of money for things like this - for emergency health, for rent in particular, and utilities. So I'd encourage people to continue to reach out and look for those resources because prevention is so much less expensive and so much less traumatic to an individual or family than an eviction would be.
[00:30:52] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And then wanted to talk about, before we do close, we just saw in the legislature - a missed opportunity to add climate mitigation as a goal -
[00:31:06] Robyn Denson: I know.
[00:31:06] Crystal Fincher: - in the Growth Management Act. And so now you're running in a situation where you're headed to the council - that planning is starting now, as we move forward. What are your plans, even though that is not an absolute mandate from the state now, to make sure that as decisions are made - there has been talk and I agree - just every decision that is made does have a climate impact and at this point we need to be aware of that and tracking that. What is your approach going to be, and what do you think you can do throughout this planning process and with the lens that you take to explore decisions that are being made to make sure that we are mitigating climate harms and protecting people from what we're currently experiencing?
[00:31:56] Robyn Denson: Right. Well, thank you for bringing that up and honestly, Crystal, I was shocked that that bill did not pass. It's something that I had advocated for, in collaboration with Washington Conservation Voters. And honestly, I thought that was going to be a slam dunk with this legislature and it's just to me, a no brainer. I can tell you that I'm very proud that the city of Gig Harbor is - we're not quite there yet, but we're a meeting or two away from - passing a resolution to include climate change in our comprehensive plan. So I think everything starts local, or sometimes it starts local - it certainly can start local and Gig Harbor is definitely doing that. And hopefully we will be a role model for other jurisdictions that are thinking of doing that as well, because as you mentioned, the planning starts now. So if communities are going to do that, don't wait for the state. At this point, don't wait for the state to mandate it - go ahead and I encourage all the jurisdictions to take that upon themselves.
I am fortunate that if I'm able to join the County Council right now, that they have passed their large comprehensive environmental sustainability plan with some fantastic goals to reduce greenhouse emissions. So I am joining a team that appreciates and is in line with my thinking in regards to the environment and climate. So I'm excited for the county to lead the way to be a good role model for the jurisdictions that we serve, and hopefully to be a good role model and hopefully create some best practices that other jurisdictions can follow. And I always say sometimes things do have to start at the local level. I know Gig Harbor, along with some other jurisdictions, for example, passed the plastic bag ban years before the state did. And so if Pierce County does it, if Gig Harbor - I know other jurisdictions are doing it as well - then maybe that will help give some leverage to our state legislators as they work to do it next year. And we don't have to wait for the state - all of you local jurisdictions - we can do it on our own too.
[00:34:01] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely makes sense. And as we part, are there any final words that you want to give to voters considering whether or not to vote for you, people even outside of the jurisdiction considering whether to support your campaign? What is at stake here and why is this so important?
[00:34:16] Robyn Denson: Thank you, Crystal. Well, I will say - I speak to all sorts of people in and out of District 7 and even in and out of Pierce County - retaining a good County Council that's thinking and putting the people first, putting our communities first, putting our lands and waters first - is so important. And if you're interested in learning more about me, I have a pretty robust website - some people are like, "You put too much on it," at electrobyndenson.com. I'm willing to meet and talk to anybody, I'm out doorbelling. This is a really critical seat - we've got some amazing County Councilpeople now, and I'm so excited to pick up the baton of the amazing Derek Young - he's done such a fantastic job. And really implement a lot of the things that the County Council has worked so hard to get started and put in place.
[00:35:11] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us today. We'll link to the website, anything else that is relevant to this conversation in our episode notes and thank you so much for spending the time to talk with us today.
[00:35:23] Robyn Denson: Thank you, Crystal. It was a pleasure.
[00:35:25] Crystal Fincher: I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcast - just type "Hacks & Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in. We'll talk to you next time.