Sam knows that without the safety of our communities, schools, businesses, and citizens, little else matters. Sam has a proven history of fighting for more police officers, sheriff deputies, and police services in our community. Sam does not support the movement to defund the police. He strongly supports our police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. Sam will work with our law enforcement officials to make sure we are tough on crime yet compassionate to make sure those with mental illness get the needed treatment to make Skagit and Snohomish County a safe place to live for all. As the former Chair of the Snohomish County Health District, Sam understands the dangers of the heroin epidemic, opioid epidemic, and homelessness facing our community. Sam believes in a comprehensive approach that includes both public health, community services, and law enforcement.
Sam’s effective leadership on transportation issues saw him unanimously elected Chair of the State Transportation Improvement Board, TIB averages $100 million annually in funding across the state and to locally needed pavement projects in key 39th cities including Sedro Woolley, Darrington, Granite Falls, Lyman, Hamilton, Concrete, Marysville, and Lake Stevens. Sam also serves as a Commissioner for the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission working on traffic safety issues across the 39th and the state. Sam also Chairs the Snohomish County Public Works and Infrastructure Committee keeping our roads and infrastructure funded properly and moving forward.
In addition to being elected 3 times to the Snohomish County Council in 2016, 2017 and 2021, Sam previously served on the Lake Stevens City Council serving as Council President and Mayor Pro-Tem. Sam also served as President of his local Lake Stevens Rotary Club and for each of the past 10 years has donated a $1,000 dollar college scholarship to a deserving senior. This is a scholarship that was started while he was a successful small business owner and has continued as an elected official. Sam has always donated both his time and money to his local community from staining the swim beach dock, repainting the entry signs in Lake Stevens to doing roadside cleanups. When the new Granite Falls Boys and Girls Club needed painting Sam volunteered and painted the entire inside for free through his company. Sam's Local leadership is what we need at the state level.
Sam has been a strong supporter of property rights and is firmly against using eminent domain to remove people from their homes unwillingly. He has also supported those who want to take advantage of tax reduction programs to preserve open space on their property. Sam has the support of many of our local farmers and is known for his work around Agri-Tourism preserving our farms and farm lands while giving our farmers additional tools to stay afloat.
Sam is a firm believer in opening up access for hiking and recreation. Many times because of the 1-2% of the users who leave trash and debris, government spends massive amounts of money cleaning, patrolling, and closing access to the trails and wilderness areas. Sam would rather the state spend that same funding to keep areas open and cleaned up.
While state and school property taxes have increased, Sam has voted in favor of 4 zero percent County General Fund budgets (2017-2021) and against the unnecessary 2.5% 3-2 approved County 2022 General Fund Budget increase. In Olympia Sam will find opportunities to give taxpayers much needed relief. In addition, Sam put forward the 2022 County Resolution against a local state income tax.
Sam will continue to make sure our working families' hard-earned money is spent fairly and wisely at the state level. Sam pushed hard to renovate the current Snohomish County courthouse with existing funds instead of building a new one. This has saved taxpayers approximately $100 million dollars that would have been spent on a new County Courthouse.
Sam is committed to continue to fight for highway safety, barrier improvements, and additional highway capacity.
The Trestle needs to be updated with additional capacity and safety. Sam has been a strong advocate for Public/Private Partnerships on new routes like the 526 extension.
Highways are our state’s responsibility. The legislature has recently passed a transportation package that still leaves many of the needed safety and traffic improvements ignored. This is especially true along Highways 2, 9, and 522. The state hasn't completed their responsibility, but under Sam's leadership we have made these routes a county legislative priority at the state level. Sam will work hard to make sure we get the needed safety improvements to our streets at the county level and to our highways at the state level.
Sam Co-founded the Broadband Action Team (BAT) with Council Member Nate Nehring in Snohomish County bringing community leaders, organizations, and experts together to increase broadband access for all our communities. Snohomish County has already committed $5 million as a start toward broadband access starting in 2022 through our efforts. Working with the State Broadband office our county was recently awarded a $16.7 Million grant to help 6.000 homes in the 39th District get reliable broadband access between Arlington and Darrington along highway 530 by January 31st, 2024.
Sam knows there is more to be done for broadband access in the 39th, and is the right person to advocate on our rural communities' behalf through his effective leadership.
Both of Sam's grandfathers fought in WW2. Sam's parents were both Marines. He recognizes that in Skagit and Snohomish counties we need to do our part in reaching out and helping our veterans and seniors with existing resources. Sam is thankful for groups like Senior Services and our Senior Centers (such as those in Sedro-Woolley, Marysville, and Lake Stevens) who do so much to help those in need. Sam has been a strong supporter of our senior centers and making sure they get the funding they need to stay open. Sam advocates for senior property tax exemption increases so seniors can stay in their homes as long as they desire.
Sam believes in the importance of community education and public libraries. Sam has a masters in organizational leadership and believes education should be a top priority the state legislature. As a Lake Stevens resident, and council member, Sam always makes it a point to attend school tours hosted by our local superintendents. As a former school teacher, Sam knows how important it is to have our schools and communities work together not only to educate our K-12 students but also to have community education classes for the greater good of our area. Sam was formerly WA State youth of the year for our Boy's and Girl's Clubs, and has since worked diligently to maintain their needed funding. Sam has also been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of our local libraries.
We must be better at protecting our environment which includes our air, water, lakes, and streams. Protection is not about keeping us from using those resources, but rather making sure we use each in a responsible manner. Many times extremists have turned environmental issues into a losing proposition for both our businesses and citizens. Community action is a better solution. Noticing in his own neighborhood that street runoff was running into a local canal feeding Lake Stevens, Sam worked with the local Conservation District to install a rain garden on his property that now treats street runoff before flowing into the lake. The key to Sam's continued policy is balance and personal responsibility.
Sam has been successful in making transportation safety and improvements added to Snohomish County's legislative agenda in Olympia. That means our east county transportation needs are now continually in front of legislators in Olympia who make the decisions on highway expansion and safety improvements. Over the past 4 years, WSDOT has spent over $30 Million dollars in repaving, lane separations and other safety improvements on the Highway 2 Corridor. In 2022 WSDOT is scheduled to begin $17 Million in Highway 2 Corridor Safety improvements between Snohomish and Index.
When Sam took office $5 Million was all that was slated for Highway 522 beginning in 2025 and an additional $5 Million in 2027. Sam worked with the City of Monroe and other partners to come up with #Finish 522. Through our efforts and partnerships we were able to get the $10 Million in design money moved up and an additional $13 Million added for a total of $23 Million in design and right- away acquisition from 2019 - 2023. Highway 522 is a problem we deal with daily and Sam is committed to finishing the fight for the necessary funding from the state to finally complete it. #Finish522
Sam worked with our east county mayors to form a group working together on transportation projects. They have met as a group with legislators in Olympia and in D.C. to draw attention and seek help with the transportation obstacles we face here at home.
Sam believes the answers to political problems lie with community-oriented solutions. Prioritizing our local schools, small businesses, and supporting labor is how we solve our most pressing issues in the 39th. From broadband to agri-tourism, Sam is committed to working with community leaders and residents to invest in on-the-ground improvements to our small businesses, public spaces, and local amenities across the district.
Sam understands that family wage jobs are important to the health of our community and our families. He knows what it means to put down roots and cares deeply for the continued growth and prosperity of our district.