How Kim-Khanh Van Tackles Challenges, Makes Decisions and Mediates Community Conflicts
When you grow up working hard and not being sure of the laws from country to country, community to community, you learn to follow a path that has served Kim-Khanh Van well:
- Keep up with what’s happening – stay in touch with others from different views
- Don’t come to snap conclusions without all the information
- Know the law – and what is being proposed
- Find out who is responsible for enforcement (what agency office)
- Check out the unintended consequences
- Talk with the people to be affected
- Clarify facts, the law, the cost in dollars AND values
- Test your opinion with other colleagues
- Improve your decision after public hearings and talks with constituents
- Make your choice and always be able to explain it
If you receive information that conflicts with your initial decision, don’t be afraid to change your decision if there are very good reasons to do so.
On the Renton City Council, Kim-Khanh Van will be a strong advocate. She will always be looking for new, creative, less-costly solutions to problems that go to the heart of Renton families and their quality of life. Her goal is to make every family happier, healthier, and safer.
Priority Number One: Public Safety
I want to make every one of our neighborhoods safe – We live in a burglary belt with home break-ins, car prowlers, and people afraid of walking in their own neighborhoods: these are what we live with – and it needs to stop.
Check out the Renton Police Department’s Security Camera Program – where personal, business or agency security cameras are registered with the police department so if a crime takes place and there is a security camera in the vicinity that is registered, the police might have valuable information that citizens can volunteer to let them see. Cutting that crime rate means you and I are always watching out for suspicious actions and knowing how to report them.
The Police Department needs support for how they are breaking down barriers amongst community groups, different cultures and newcomers. Community policing means knowing who your police officers are and feeling free to offer them information on what would make your streets safer, like hosting Mix and Mingle lunches with police in our neighborhoods.
Renton is now known as a Hub of Commerce but we must not forget our small mom & pop shops. They are the driving force of our local economies, most of our families’ livelihoods, and the anchors for our neighbors. Supporting our neighbors’ businesses is not a new line item I want in our budget, it’s something I want in our minds if we need to buy something. On the council, I will work on policies to lessen the burden for small businesses – and also help spotlight them.
I was always taught to respect one’s elders – no matter the culture. The population that contributed to Renton’s continual growth since our early years should be respected and treated with dignity during their late years. Programs for our seniors’ mental, physical, economic, and legal health should be held in higher regard. They are the unsung heroes and heroines of our community. As scams against seniors get more devious – and devastating, we need unofficial adopt grandparents’ programs which encourage neighbors to check in with each other. Our Senior Activity Center needs volunteers, donors, and creative ideas to encourage cultural sensitivity and programs we can all learn from.
Appreciating Our Cultural Diversity
Neighbor inclusion starts with the right attitude. On the Renton City Council, you can count on me to lead the way on policies and ordinances that reflect our diverse population. I was appointed to the Mayor’s Inclusion Task Force, and am impressed with the progress we are making. Diversity is not just something we have to accept because it’s the law, but this Task Force is helping everyone see that diversity can make all our lives better. My job on the Council will be to put the time and energy into bettering how we see each other as Dr. Martin Luther King taught me: “so that we not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of each one’s character.”
Our veterans sacrificed for our Country, and they deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and provided with services they need. More than the United States of America is their home: Renton is their HOME. When the County and City counted those homeless in January, they counted many military veterans in the King County. There are as many different obstacles in helping homeless Vet’s as there are Vet’s: health care for mental and physical injuries, PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, inability to hold a job, and the uneven treatment of government agencies to track, provide immediate care, and treat the Veteran as the individual he or she is. One idea is to bring more Veterans into our City hire programs, and report on how many Veterans we employ each year in agency budget reviews.
I believe we are “Becoming Renton”. Both the city as well as all of us have a duty to bring the best of ourselves to making Renton more affordable. This is a great place to live. We need to encourage more diverse jobs. We need to continue being frugal, cut costs where possible and hold the line until more of us can catch up with heavy years of tax increases from the state. I am appreciative of Mayor Denis Law and our City Council for resisting the urge to take one-time money from new construction fees and spending it all: I will continue making fiscally responsible decisions that do not raise taxes unless there is no other choice – and taxpayers also approve.
There is a respect and pride I enjoy in being from Renton – I see the struggle so many of us from all cultures have had to endure to get here. Just as I used to be a “marginalized kid”, I always resented that Renton used to be a “marginalized place”. In many ways, just as I have become Renton, Renton is Becoming what every family deserves: to be happy, healthy and safe.