The county spends ¾ of its budget on public safety and the justice system. This includes the courts, the sheriff’s office, the prosecuting attorney’s office, and other mandatory services that fall within the jurisdiction of county governance. Michael will work to ensure access to these services is equitable, safe, and effective.
The safety of our Thurston County family is always at the forefront of any decisions Michael makes. And that safety can be ensured by first thinking on how to mitigate contact with our justice system. Michael will work diligently to ensure funding and professional training for items like pre-trial services, diversion programs, and rehabilitation programs for first time offenders. Due process is an essential part of our democracy and focusing on prevention and diversion will ensure that people do not become habitually engaged with our justice system.
The next piece of this has to do with the existing infrastructure we have for those that are already engaged in our justice system. The largest and most contentious issue that we face is that of the condition of our courthouse. The way forward ultimately depends on what the people decide. Whatever the way forward is determined to be, Michael will work with county professionals to understand the needs of our legal services.
It has been argued that our courthouse is outdated, unsafe, and unable to properly address the needs of our community. What Michael would like to do is move past the finger pointing and blame game surrounding these issues. A problem has been identified, and the county has been tasked with solving it. If the decision is to build a completely new courthouse, Michael will guide the process to ensure that the justice system can provide efficient and effective services. He will seek to ensure that your tax dollars are invested into the most modern infrastructure and technology as to support the services our county needs. He will also seek to ensure investing in regular maintenance and upkeep prevents government from further wasting your money.
The courthouse is a small piece of the bigger picture. We need to modernize our communication systems to ensure efficient and prompt response times, and that our community members can have faith in the capabilities of the county to keep them safe. We need to make sure access for those that face the most significant obstacles is easy and effective at fulfilling the needs of community members in the best way possible. Ultimately, we need to let our community know they can depend on the county to do what they exist to do - serve and protect - and keep our community moving.