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Bremerton City Council Candidate Profile: Deidre McKeel
Tell us about your background and how it qualifies you to serve on the city council.
As a long time resident of the county and now of the City of Bremerton, I have a historical perspective on Bremerton’s issues. As well, I have a broad range of work experience and education in planning processes, project management, organizational structure, and business. My trade background, planning and estimating skills, as well as my work in the Chief Planner’s office gives me unique insight into municipal operations.
What is the single most pressing issue in your district? What have you done, and what will you do, to address that issue?
Roads, streets, and crosswalks are the single most pressing issue for this District. Nearly everyone cites this as the most significant issue for this District. I believe by keeping roads and sidewalks the single most urgent need for our community while campaigning has pushed the council to commit future funds for this much needed infrastructure. The council’s recent vote for future street funds is laudable but short term commitments for road work are still needed.
If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a member of the city council?
Roads, sidewalks, and “safe routes to school”: this is a constant theme. It doesn’t change much no matter how the question is stated! It’s obvious to our community and visitors that there is significant road deteriorating issue.
Second priority is improving our economic picture as a city. I believe that creating our own economic empowerment zone is the answer for our aging business areas to make it conducive for businesses to start up and grow their investment here in Bremerton.
Last, aging neighborhoods complicated by vacancies. I would like to maintain the character of our older neighborhoods but I believe our Comprehensive plan needs to be achievable and flexible enough to allow for a variety of development. We can be world class in this area; we just have to want that for our city.
Why are you the better candidate in this election? Why should voters choose you?
I have a broad range of knowledge and experience: trade, administration, business, and project management. I am able and willing to do the hard work of negotiating and setting standards that are achievable and provide tangible benefits for our community. I support youth development and enrichment as an essential part of community culture and I have the vision and tenacity to build a better Bremerton.
If you could change one thing about the City of Bremerton with the flick of a switch, what would it be and why?
Occupy Bremerton! For Bremerton to have full occupancy in our residential and business areas means that the City of Bremerton has a healthy economy and a thriving city. Occupancy would signal prosperity and success in creating an inviting climate for business to prosper and neighborhoods that attract and keep residents. Healthy occupancy means we have a Comprehensive Plan that is achievable and conducive to the community. Let’s flick that switch!
What would your pitch be to a business owner considering a move to Bremerton?
Bremerton is a transportation hub located between Seattle, Tacoma and the Olympic Peninsula. By land, sea, or air, the City of Bremerton is convenient for commerce but separated from hectic city life by an inland sea. Bringing business here has all the amenities available to larger industrial and commercial area but has enough separation to raise your family away from a busy and crowded urban city.
What is your position on the proposed charter amendment that would allow the council to meet in Kitsap County, but outside of the Bremerton city limits?
I am voting to “reject” this particular amendment. The notification rules for special meetings are different than for regular meetings; I note that the city council members are not precluded to attend other meetings or participating in committees as the current practice shows. There is too much room for misuse in this proposal. The council serves at the behest of its residents not the other way around. Vote to “reject” this proposition.