Dana Ralph, Kent Mayoral Candidate

Dana Ralph for MayorDana Ralph
23307 98th Ave. S.
Kent, WA 98031
[email protected]

Education:  Bachelor’s Degree – Business Management, Master’s Degree – Management and Leadership

Occupation: Owner of Advance Billing Systems (22 years) and Kent City Council Member

Candidate Statement:

I learned early on in local politics my primary job is to advocate for my city – the residents and businesses.  At the local level we do not have the luxury of being divided.  There are not republican potholes and democrat parks.  We are a whole city and my job is to make sure it is taken care.  I have the responsibility to make sure that the taxes we are all paying are being returned to Kent and reinvested in our community.  The only way to do that successfully is through working with all other levels of government – county, state and federal.  It also means working with both republicans and democrats – especially in King County and Washington State.  It doesn’t mean sacrificing my principles.  These are the reasons I have the sole endorsements from our Fire Fighters, Kent Teachers and Kent Police Officers as well as residents, business owners, Republicans and Democrats.

I am a business owner.  This is a benefit, not a weakness as has been inferred by one of my opponents.  I have proven repeatedly since being elected to council, the work of the city is my priority.  I already have a plan in place should I be elected mayor.  My current employees will take over the running of the business and we will hire additional staff. Being mayor is a full time job and I am completely committed to that job.

I believe building consensus is the best way to get things done. As council president, I was able to bring a divided council together to pass a unanimous budget – this is virtually unheard of.

In the budget that was passed last year, which I could not vote for, a choice was made to drain the cities reserves.  There were options available to fund both street and parks maintenance, not drain our reserves and not raise taxes.  Kent is going to lose a significant amount of state shared revenues.  I believe we need to plan for that.  A wait and see approach is not leadership.  It is time to make a solid plan so we do not put critical city services at risk.  Spending down our savings account is dangerous.

The sale of the Par 3 is another important topic of conversation. I am the only candidate that brought a plan to save the Par 3.  There was real funding available that would have protected the open space and make the golf fund whole.  I believe selling off the land was short sighted.  Once open space is gone, it cannot be brought back.

We all want to live in a safe community.   I was able to come up with a way to hire two additional officers this year because I know public safety is a paramount concern for all of our residents.    I also believe in building community relationships. I have worked with our officers, resident, including our students to develop a sense of connection and trust.

Together we can build on the amazing potential of Kent.

How long have you lived in Kent?

I am a fourth generation Kent resident.

What do you love most about Kent?

Its heart. There is a strong community of great people in Kent. I also love the potential. This city has the opportunity to do great things. We need to recognize and capitalize on that potential.

What do you see as the top 5 issues facing the City of Kent in the next 4 years?

Budget – we need a sustainable budget. The most recent budget was not sustainable and did not address current problems like parks maintenance or upcoming challenges like the fiscal cliff.  It was a band-aid which did not solve the problems and made them worse by draining our reserves.  It used one time money to address ongoing maintenance moved the problems down the road.  That is why I could not support it.

The other issues facing our city are also ultimately related to our budget issues.  Maintenance of infrastructure – streets, parks and facilities, Public Safety – investing in additional officers and equipment like body cameras, Economic Development – we need to make strategic investments that will attract strong businesses

What is one thing you want voters to know about you that they might not know?

I have a black belt in Karate.