Republican state Sen. Pam Roach, the longest serving member of the state Senate, is running for a seat on the Pierce County Council District 2 in 2016.
One of Pam Roach's top priorities, if elected, is to further economic development for the Port of Tacoma, ultimately aiming for more competitiveness with other ports around the U.S., Canada, and Panama. During a mission to the Panama Canal along with fellow legislators and business and labor leaders, Roach assessed the new set of locks at the canal and the impact on Washington ports.
Roach plans to continue her work with the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the union of Seattle and Tacoma ports formed in 2015, to strengthen Washington ports.
“There are a lot of federal dollars that are going to be put in transportation, and we want our share, and then some,” she says about her upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. to promote the ports, and fight the harbor maintenance tax in Congress.
If elected, Roach plans to improve public safety by tackling the issue of homelessness, including providing more resources for mentally ill people without a home, addressing drug addition and ultimately, increasing law enforcement. Roach, who was awarded the “Legislator of the Year” six times from the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, plans a conclave of local elected officials within the area and partner for a solution to help homeless improve their situation.
“One thing we do not have is an agreed-upon response, and I want to help get that,” she says. While Roach doesn't expect the business community to fund the operation, a funding solution based on a cities' population and their economy is underway.
Roach is also working on reducing property taxes to help secure housing for first-time buyers and seniors. “We are taxing people right out of their homes,” she says. Programs for people with fixed incomes, like property tax deferrals, making the deferral due when the home is sold, the resident dies, or the home is no longer the primary residence, are an option.
Roach is the chair of the Senate committee, as well as Senate president pro tempore, and presides over the Senate when Lt. Gov. Braw Owen, a Democrat, is away. Before her time in the Senate, Roach spent 14 years as a County Council aide to former Senator and King County Council member Kent Pullen.
Her son Dan Roach currently serves as a councilmember and vice chair for Pierce County District 1, and if elected Roach could end up serving with her son, fellow Republican. Both have previously served together, with the younger Roach acting in the House and his mother serving in the Senate, making them the only parent-child combination that represented the same district at the same time in U.S history. Roach has been under fire for holding a chair in the Senate as well as her position for the county council, yet Washington law doesn't prevent politicians from holding two elected offices at the same time.
During the 25 years Roach served on Senate, she has become known for her unwillingness to back away from political confrontations, even with fellow Republicans, and temporarily being banned from Republican caucus meetings, and speaking with staff.
“Confrontation is the lifeblood of politics, and if that bothers you, you should get into something more sheltered,” she says. “I vote my district, and that's what I want to do as a Pierce County Council member. It won't make everyone happy, but on each issue hopefully it makes the majority of people happy.”
In her free time Roach enjoys spending time with her five children, and 17 grandchildren, attending LDS church and traveling.
Pierce County Council District 2 includes Browns Point, Dash Point, Edgewood, Fife, Lakeland, Milton, Northeast Tacoma, Pacific, Puyallup, Sumner and the Port of Tacoma. She currently represents the 31st Legislative District, including South King County and Northeast Pierce County.