electbrittneybollay.com Education: Occupation: Vice Chair, King Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Statement: It has been my honor to serve on the King Conservation District Board of Supervisors for the past three years, and I am eager to continue working for my neighbors in King County. During my first term I have insisted on responsible spending of public money, increased transparency, and prioritized equity. I’ve lobbied the state legislature to commit to accessibility and democracy by putting our elections on the regular ballot. I’ve written and passed good governance rules that clarify the Board’s responsibilities and supported a strategic planning process that explicitly centers environmental justice. Thanks to this work, I’ve been honored to be chosen unanimously by my colleagues to serve as Board Vice Chair. King Conservation District champions the efforts of our environmentally-focused neighbors and provides them with technical and financial assistance for conservation projects, working with them as peers instead of top-down legislators. I’m excited to spend three more years supporting local agriculture, clean waterways, abundant forests, and healthy salmon. I’ll safeguard our budget, strengthen our work by growing partnerships with other government organizations, make our elections more open, accessible, and predictable, and approve a new, fair contract with our unionized staff. During the past three years the Conservation District has entered a period of unprecedented stability and success, and I pledge that we will only grow from here. Thank you for the honor of serving another term.
Candidate Forum Questionnaire:
1. Why do you want to be a KCD board member? I was elected to King Conservation District in 2021, and my love for the organization and the work have only grown over the past three years. I'm excited to serve another term on the Board, helping to support and grow the District. Environmental action and local government both impact every person, every day, and that's why they're my twin passions.
2. What are your qualifications for this position? In addition to my three years of on-the-job experience, including serving as Board Vice Chair and Auditor this year, I have nearly a decade of local and state environmental work to my name. I understand not only the science of conservation and climate change, but the political and economic forces that influence our environmental work in King County. I've also spent these years carefully listening to and developing relationships with community members, elected officials, and other conservation partners, which strengthens my work on the Board.
3. What are your priorities if you are elected? My top priorities are: -Fixing our election process to make it easier for people to vote and to run -Removing barriers that make it harder for small organizations, new organizations, and people not fluent in English to use our programs -Finding new partnerships and funding opportunities and cutting red tape so we can do more conservation work, faster -Protecting farmland by fighting climate change and our farms' number one enemy, urban sprawl
4. What would you like to accomplish? In my successful second term I'll bring more cities into the Conservation District, so we can help more people in a wider area. I'll bring our farmers and local food vendors a fairer, more effective grant process and greater economic growth. I'll double and triple down on outreach so more King County residents will be familiar with the Conservation District and our work and will participate in our elections by either running or voting. Finally, I'll address the number one concern of my constituents and bring our elections to the modern era -- first by moving our three elected positions to districts, then to a paper ballot like every other election in Washington State.
5. What are the major challenges KCD is confronting? KCD has more people that need our help than we have the ability to cover. We have a limited amount of money we're able to collect, and our funding is not keeping up with inflation. Luckily, our Board and finance team are looking several years ahead and have a budget plan I'm proud to be a part of and support. By working with the state and county to increase our funding, as well as finding new partnerships and grant money, we can grow our level of service while making sure our hardworking staff still get the living wage and benefits they deserve. Farmers also face a grave threat to farmland from development. We can use our position as respected experts and the voice of King County farmers to remind legislators that we must allow more homes in urban areas so we can protect our precious agricultural lands from being paved over. Finally, our out of date election system keeps voters uninformed and uninvolved. KCD runs on public money and the public deserves a real, democratic say in how that money is spent. Accessible, predictable, and transparent elections with the same rules voters are used to will make it easier for people to participate and raise our voter turnout above 1%.
6. What can KCD do to address/mitigate climate change in our region? Climate change is real, and addressing it is baked into our work. Using native plants in our projects prevents soil erosion and reduces wildfire damage in addition to providing a good home for wildlife. Shade plants near streams lower water temperatures to give salmon a better chance at life. Growing food closer to home cuts down on the pollution caused when we ship fruits and vegetables long distances. Additionally, this year we'll pass a new strategic plan that explicitly centers climate change and environmental justice and was built with input from communities of all shapes and sizes. This plan will guide our work for the next five years, and includes broad goals such as "Incorporate climate change information in technical assistance" as well as smaller, countable objectives like "Complete forty farm conservation plans per year." KCD can also explicitly partner with Indigenous and Tribal communities to learn from and elevate their conservation knowledge.
7. What are your ideas for activating & engaging citizens for your plans? I'm the only Board member with a Twitter account, which I use to spread word about our meetings, grants, classes, and other events to a new and younger audience. I'll build on that by providing regular outreach and updates at community meetings across the county. I'll also create opportunities for King County residents to reach out to their other elected officials in support of our needs and priorities, such as organizing letters to legislators or public comment at meetings and hearings. In the summer I'll make myself available at farmers markets across the county to talk with my constituents, answer questions, and share ideas and concerns.
8. Which are KCD's most important programs & which should be scaled back or eliminated? We are fortunate enough to live in a county that has the capacity to fund clean water, wildfire protection, and fresh, healthy food for all. We don't need and I won't ask for austerity or cuts to work that literally saves lives. However, it is still my responsibility to make sure we're making the best use of public money, so we should see if we can reduce overhead in non-program areas such as rent, as well as find overlap and redundancy with other county and city governments and work together on these shared priorities to save time and money.