Meet Tawni Andrews
Candidate for Mayor of the City of Aberdeen
I was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma and spent my childhood discovering the world as my Father was deployed to different countries in the military. He retired when I was 16 and I was able to graduate High School in Sequim.
In 1990 it was time to move again but this time just a short distance down the coast to Aberdeen where I raised my two boys and helped raise three stepchildren.
Eleven years ago I met my husband who works as an Assistant Nurse Manager in Olympia and has been encouraging and supportive of everything I do. A few years ago I decided to go back to school to study Culinary Arts and at age 48 graduated South Puget Sound Community College with an Associate’s in Applied Science Culinary Arts.
Being active in our community is very important to me and over the years I have been a member of the Grays Harbor Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, RehAberdeen (the organization that brings us the Aberdeen Art Walk and Founders Day Parade).
Two invaluable sites I do research are Association of Washington Cities and Municipal Research and Services Center. Both sites have amazing resources to see what other cities do and how we can utilize information from their endeavors to make our City successful.
From this research I brought forward two important pieces of legislation, the sit/lay and rules of solicitation ordinances. I would like the opportunity to work with the police department to enforce these ordinances.
It is time for a new Mayor and after serving two terms on City Council, three years of which I have been the President, I believe I have the experience and understanding to take our City into the future.
When I am elected:
Running a City isn’t easy, there are numerous facets and layers to make sure everything runs smoothly. This success comes down to our City’s excellent staff from department heads down to every employee that helps manage the day to day operations.
These employees should be empowered, at all levels, to step forward and make suggestions in order to make our city run more efficiently. As a City Council member, it is my job to set policy but as Mayor, I would be able to enforce these policies and ensure they are upheld by our City staff at all levels. Everyone has a voice and they should be heard.
The Mayor’s office should be available to the citizens of our City. To that end, I will hold consistent office hours and hold Town Hall meetings on a regular basis. This is how communities stay informed and engaged instead of feeling left out.
City council meetings should be accessible by everyone but some are unable to alter their schedules or get to the meetings. Today’s technology allows us to live stream just about anything easier than it ever has before. Whether by Facebook or other apps I plan on making this a reality in our City.
Today’s government needs to be proactive in taking care of issues as they arise. The “let’s wait and see what happens” and “this is how we’ve always done it” approaches are ineffective, and put us into a reactive state.
We need to be in front of the issues and deal with them head on. If we see a problem arising or a pattern forming, we need to come up with a plan or solution before it gets beyond our control.
The Hard Questions:
Back in my childhood days, I grew up on military bases. Those bases I always likened to small town living. If I did something stupid blocks away from my house, my mama knew about it by the time I got home. In this age of social media, people are not as engaged at what goes on outside their doors. Let’s bring back community watch groups. If you need help with this, reach out to me (even now, even if I don’t win) I will connect you with the right people. You don’t have to be an overly organized group, know your neighbors, know their vehicles, share phone numbers and check up on each other. My next-door neighbor and I inform each other when we are going out of town for the weekend, so we can keep an eye on each other’s homes. I’ve lived in this house for over 20 years, with the same neighbors so that works for us. We need to bring this back, if not a formal group just block by block.
What about the opioid crisis?
Another one of those nationwide problems – HOWEVER again, we need to manage what we have. We have an amazing public safety department which consists of both our police and fire departments. Both have excellent leaderships and staff members. I will continue to work with them to make sure, in the best of my ability that they have the tools they need to combat the challenges of their jobs.
Homelessness is a nationwide problem – WAIT – don’t walk away from me yet, let me finish.
While it is a nationwide problem, the City of Aberdeen is not going to be able to solve it, that’s an unrealistic expectation. What we can do is manage what we have in front of us.
Due to court rulings we are limited in our response and my research in bringing forward the legislation of the Sit/Lie and Rules of Solicitation Ordinances I learned a lot about the difference between vague and specific legislation and not criminalizing homelessness.
I was one of 3 Council members that voted against the purchase of the River Front property. However, now that we do have the property it is up to us to manage it in the best interest of our citizens and the City.
I, personally, do not want to criminalize homelessness. My heart goes out to anyone without the means to provide themselves shelter. However, if we can manage the situation, we can make sure that their quest for shelter falls within the guidelines that we have set forth.
There are certain times we are asking the homeless not to sleep on the city sidewalks, there are hours when that is acceptable. During the times that it is not acceptable, I would like to see the rules enforced.
Conferences and Courses I Have Attended
Bringing City leaders together at public events helps all of us grow as a community at large.
I attended this conference in 2017 and 2018 where they provided many useful and relative community workshops on fulfilling our local goals. During the conference we toured other cities to see first hand what they do right and what they are working on changing for the better.
Networking with other city leaders at this conference about making our public spaces as usable as possible to our residents and businesses is enlightening and educational.
At the invitation of Aberdeen Firefighters Local #2639 it was my honor to attend this training where I was able to see and experience first hand the hard work that our Firefighters put out every day.
During this training, I put on the heavy fire suit and air tank and had to keep them on while being put through different firefighting techniques. Among these feats were climbing the tall ladder to the roof of a building, crawling through a smoke-filled dark tunnel, and putting out a car, dumpster, and house fire. We also had the opportunity to vent a roof and use the jaws of life to extricate a victim from a car.
The West County Citizens Academy is sponsored by the Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Cosmopolis Police departments.
Over a number of weeks, we were introduced to multiple levels of law enforcement including patrol, detectives, the drug task force, legal department, state patrol, dispatch, and the coroner’s office.
We were able to step into law enforcement shoes with a tour of the local jails, a driving course where we drove a police cruiser backward through a serpentine course, and firearms training with the officers.