Q. How would you best describe your experience as mayor at this point in your term?
A. Very positive. I jumped right in having studied the city and what it takes. I was ready to give it everything I had, but I need to eat and get sleep and I have put that on the back burner, which I realize I can’t anymore. Stressful is another good word. Each day is a 70-page chapter. I don’t have the luxury of looking back, just stay positive and look forward and be solution oriented.
Q. What have been some of the early accomplishments that you are most proud of?
A. Creating a mission and vision statement. Providing more transparency and information for our citizens. Changing the time period for council and citizens to see what is on our agenda for council’s meetings and be a part of our goals. Putting the recording of meetings out the next day before the minutes are made public.
I quickly worked with council to keep our Gig Harbor Court in town. Previous council had discussed contracting out our court services across the bridge, but I feel it is an important service to provide our citizens.
I reached out to the Haub family that owns the triangle piece of property near the Tides Tavern. Working with them we have come to a great arrangement whereas the city will hopefully buy it and a house to the south if council approves. It will keep a beautiful tall forest right near the entrance of our town by boat and land. As time goes we can provide some benefits for the public there as well. It was planned to be clear cut soon. I feel looking back 30 years from now we will be proud this was done.
Working with Pierce Transit to acquire land for Fish “our local food bank“ to have their new home. It is not a done deal yet but was stuck in the federal government’s hands, and I helped get that freed up with Derek Kilmer’s help.
Moving forward to create concepts for a Sports Complex near the YMCA that our city can provide for its citizens with the help of partners like the YMCA.
Finding where we can cut $2 million in the present year’s budget to start to trim our debt.
Q. What are some of the bigger challenges that have presented themselves?
A. Knowing what to challenge of the city and where there is a different way of thinking. Now I feel I know that and staff is seeing it also. I have been very involved with day-to-day operations and trying to satisfy the needs of 110 employees and seven councilmembers can be tricky. It is a challenge to not make everyone happy right away, especially the people who voted for me. It’s impossible to make everyone happy no matter how good your rule is.
Q. What is your favorite summertime Gig Harbor event or festival and why?
A. Blessing of the Fleet. I’ve been here 31 years and I love watching all the fishing boats, and the true meaning to me is blessing the fishermen before they head out to sea. Being at Skansie Park and seeing hundreds of people on our water from SUPs to yachts is a great feeling.
Q. What is your favorite part about living and serving in the community of Gig Harbor?
A. The people, the charm and character of Gig Harbor makes it so special. The feeling that we are all connected because of such a great maritime city. I love living near the downtown waterfront and being able to walk to everything I need.
Q. How would you like to see business grow and expand in the area while keeping the cultural and natural beauty of the area in tact?
A. I would like a more vibrant downtown area and plan to form an advisory group of business owners, developers and citizens to discuss options for increasing the downtown business area while protecting our beautiful bay and evergreens. I do not want to lose any of our commercial and retail land downtown. It is my goal to have two hours’ worth of shopping downtown. More hands-on businesses where the customer is involved and keeping the businesses unique.
Q. What is your top priority or goal that you would like to accomplish by the end of 2018?
A. To manage growth in a way that honors those who live, work and play here. Council passed a six-month moratorium that expires in August as a way to take time to review our current codes.
Q. Where are some of your favorite places to grab a bite to eat or a cold drink?
A. I don’t have a favorite, but I do like the options I have along the waterfront from Spiro’s or Susanne’s Bakery and Deli, to a full breakfast at Devoted Kiss and drinks on the water at Anthony’s.
Q. What would you say about Gig Harbor to people considering moving to the area?
A. Gig Harbor is a beautiful place to live with great schools and people who care about the community. There are many activities in Gig Harbor all throughout the year and several options for enjoying the water—from a gondola ride to stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Gig Harbor also has options for boat moorage. We have many parks and trails with majestic cedar and fir trees.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. I am always available to hear from the public, and the first Tuesday of every month all are welcome to stop in for Coffee with Kit between 7 and 8am at MarKee coffee shop.