Auburn

Mayor

Two candidates running for this position responded to our questionnaire:
Nancy Backus
Largo Wales

One candidate did not respond to our questionnaire:
Bryan Rivera Primaried Out
This candidate has chosen to not participate in our Voter's Guide. Please refer to your Official Pierce County Voter's Guide information.

Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on your ballot.
There was a primary for this office.
Use the navigation to the right (or below on mobile) to find topics of interest, or just scroll.
Click here to return to the Auburn page.

Sanctuary Status

Do you support Sanctuary Status for the area you would represent? Please explain.

Nancy Backus

No

No. I fully support being a welcoming/inclusive city, and our policies and procedures reflect that. Our City employees do not ask for documentation status, and make no decisions based upon that information. Auburn currently receives federal grants that help fund approx. 1/10 of our police force. In fact, some of those officers are dedicated to community policing - like our Community Response Team. We have received $2 million from US DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in the past five years, and the grants have also helped us hire an additional bicycle officer. We have seen great response from our actions within some of the at risk neighborhoods when there isn’t a windshield between our officers and the people we serve. We are working to ensure that all communities feel comfortable calling 911 to report crimes. Our current policy states that it is unnecessary for officers to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when someone is booked into jail or to hold people in jail extra time while ICE investigates - unless there’s a warrant or federal criminal charge.
The term “”Sanctuary City”” has recently been more narrowly defined by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as places that prohibit information sharing with federal immigration agents. He also stated that $4 billion in law enforcement grants is at stake - including the COPS grants. Our community can ill afford to lose those grants, as we rely on them to support and keep our entire community safe. As mayor, it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of all in our city - regardless of documentation. I do, however believe that if there is a federal criminal warrant, taking that person into custody could result in a safer community.

Largo Wales

No

No. I believe in inclusive communities and safe neighborhoods. It is not the role of local law enforcement to implement immigration searches etc. BUT if necessary in the pursue of criminal enforcement we need to provide mutual aid to our fellow law enforcement colleagues.

PCYD & WA Democrats Resolutions

What resolutions from PCYDs or the WA Democrat State Party do you align with?
(PCYD: Decline to Sign I-1552, Petition: Tacoma City Council: Protect Undocumented Immigrants #HereToStay)

Nancy Backus

I most definitely support Decline to Sign I-1552! This initiative rolls back long fought battles to stand against discrimination and to encourage diversity within our state.
If I understand Tacoma City Council's recent ordinance, it creates a temporary regulation that targets future expansion at the NW Detention Center (a privately owned facility). I support their stance to not allow expansion of a privately owned correctional facility.

Largo Wales

We need to protect our non-discrimination laws and work to ensure fair and equal treatment...we need to work with our no-criminal immigrants to help with enforcement.

Goals & Needs of Constituency

If you could achieve three accomplishments in your coming term, what would they be?

Nancy Backus

In my second term, I would like to continue the work that I have been actively involved in over the past 3.5 years (and before) related to:
Ending homelessness: I am a member of the Coordinating Board for All Home (formerly the Committee to End Homelessness) - King County where our objective is to make homelessness ""Rare, Brief, and One Time."" We must work regionally to ensure we are not duplicating actions and that we are focused properly to reduce the barriers to being sheltered and preferably in long-term stable housing.
Economic Development: I will continue to work regionally to ensure that we are all thriving in this vibrant economy, and are positioning ourselves to be in a positive place moving forward.
Improved Public Safety: That doesn't just mean hiring more police officers for community policing, but also road improvements - including motorized and non-motorized options.
Improved Funding/Resources to address Behavioral Health. I have been an active participant in the South Sound Behavioral Health Alliance - working to secure funding for a 125-bed behavioral health hospital on the Allenmore Hospital campus. Washington State is ranked in the bottom 10 of all states for resources! We should be in the top 10."

Largo Wales

Three areas of concern, first building a sustainable budget line for local preservation of roads, provide in the industrial area a multi-service homeless center for only Auburn residents and thirdly, make our neighborhoods cleaner and safer.

What are the top five needs of your constituency?

Nancy Backus

-Public Safety - increased resources for community policing
-Long-term funding solutions for road improvements
-Funding to reduce the number of individuals who are experiencing homelessness - including shelter space for immediate need, but more importantly - permanent supportive housing for long term solutions.
-Resources to battle the heroin & prescription opiate epidemic
-Transportation options

Largo Wales

I have doorbelled 3,000 homes and what I hear is clean and safe neighborhoods, better local roads, assist the homeless and decrease their population and finally get the economic engines of Auburn moving.

Connecting with Young People

How do you plan to involve the voices and needs of young people?

Nancy Backus

We have a Junior City Council that is comprised of two students from each middle school and high school. Their focus is supposed to be to provide a youth perspective on the issues facing our City. I have also started meetings with some of our high schools to just have conversations on the issues that concern them. These aren't big formal sessions, just easy discussions to keep them engaged and to share ideas.

Largo Wales

Currently as the Deputy Mayor I have a City Youth Council of 18 that serve their ideas and goals for Auburn.

Police-Minority Relations

Do you have any plans for improving police-minority relations? Please explain your response.

Nancy Backus

Yes

Yes. While our officers are very well respected in our City, the make up of our department does not reflect the make up of our City. We are working with a recruiting company that focuses on diversity hiring. We are doing more outreach and want to better align with our residents. We are not without fault, but it is the intention of our City to treat all people fairly and with dignity and respect.

Largo Wales

Yes

Yes. This is a constant endeavor as new groups move into our communities and the world changes. This issue will rise to the forefront with the selection of a new Police Chief during the next calendar year.

Homelessness

How will you advocate for the homeless population? Including in regards to city camp sweeps and voting rights?

Nancy Backus

I have been an active advocate for homeless issues for the past three years. As a member of the All Home Coordinating Board, I am fully committed to reducing the number of individuals who are unsheltered. I have worked closely with Valley Cities Counseling, and we will be opening a day center and overnight shelter within the month. While this won't resolve or eliminate the issue, it is a start. We will offer wrap-around services to assist those in need to move up and out of the system into permanent supportive housing.

Largo Wales

Each community needs to develop strategies to meet the needs of their own homeless population. Services need to be wrap around with guidance provided by the experts in the human service field.

Net Neutrality & Internet Privacy

Would you advocate for Net Neutrality on a Federal Level? Please explain your response.
Note: There was an error when creating the questionnaire that originally required a 2250 character response. Any additional characters candidates added as filler only have been removed.

Nancy Backus

Yes

Yes. I believe that there should be equal access to content on the internet - not determined by the level of income. In Auburn, we are working collaboratively with the Auburn School District to provide digital parity within our City. We have many of our schools that have over 50% free or reduced lunch participants. The ASD has dedicated funding to provide Chromebooks for each student, and those devices will be eligible to take home. If a student doesn’t have wifi available, the device is rendered useless. We are focusing efforts to provide coverage - at a basic level to up to 80% of our students. The City Council is currently discussing what % coverage should be set as their goal.

Largo Wales

Yes

Yes. We need to have equal access and not have it managed for the purposes of consumerism. All internet traffic should be treated equally. The best way to explain network neutrality is that a public information network will end up most useful if all content, websites and platforms are treated equally.

How would you protect people in your area from having their info sold through ISP?

Nancy Backus

I do not agree with ISPs selling data. I’m honestly not certain of all that I could do, but I do believe that “opt-in” consent should given before sharing browsing history.

Largo Wales

Work with the federal government to have regulations re-instated.

Incumbency, PCYD's Involved & Campaign Consultants

Are you an incumbent to this position?

Nancy Backus

Yes

Largo Wales

No

Do you have any staff from PCYDs currently working or volunteering for you? If so, what are their names?

Nancy Backus

No

No, but I’d love to!

Largo Wales

No

Early in campaign and still working to get volunteers though I do have high school student on my campaign committe.

What consultants for this current campaign have you worked/collaborated with?

Nancy Backus

Jason Bennett - Argo Strategies

Largo Wales

The campaign at this time is still developing.