Looking to 2017 and beyond

Dear Friends,

As we count down the final days of 2016 and look ahead to a new year with a fresh team of Commissioners and some anticipated challenges due to Federal and State policy changes, I want to take just a moment to thank you for your steadfast support, and to update you on 2016 and beyond from the perspective of my office.

Michael Daniels and Mike Hochron, my team of outstanding policy staffers, continue to remain focus on the things that matter most to us – smart justice, social justice, and access equality for all our residents.

This past year, we fielded literally hundreds of calls and letters from constituents, which is our #1 priority. We helped connect people to benefits, food, housing, shelter, jobs, training, and other resources. We ran interference to remove barriers for those with special situations. We advocated for those without a voice, and connected them to those who could make a difference.

We made significant inroads into understanding more about why homelessness is growing in our County and how to intervene upstream to prevent it. We are a leader in the nation for our efforts in diverting those with mental illness from incarceration, and connecting those already in the justice system with the resources they need to keep from coming back.

For 2017, we look forward to continuing our important work and, with the help of my new colleague Kevin Boyce and my current (and returning) colleague John O’Grady, we will have three Commissioners who will work together with confidence and trust in one another’s talents and passions. With Commissioner O’Grady’s leadership to bring them, County Commissioners from across the nation will be here for the National Association of Counties conference here this July, and we’ll all showcase our innovative thinking, our public/private relationships, and our talented people. As a member of the host committee, I’m excited to welcome and celebrate thousands of girls realizing their potential at the Girl Scouts of America national convention in the fall, and we’ll welcome athletes, horsemen and horsewomen, PRIDE celebrants, and many others to our annual conferences, conventions, and festivals.

But most of all, we’ll still answer the phones and open the letters. We’ll focus on serving 1.2 million residents one at a time, and we’ll continue to focus on serving those most vulnerable. We will shepherd the safety and safety net services of the County to ensure equality of service and equity of access. We will continue to respect and value all people regardless of color, race, or gender. We will welcome our immigrant neighbors, protect our LGBT friends, and advocate for access to healthcare – including mental and reproductive health. We will insist on climate-friendly construction and support green energy. We will focus on job creation across the board, and call for living wages and benefits for every worker.

Thank you for your support and your belief in our work. I look forward to working with you and for you in 2017, 2018, and beyond.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all.