Tacoma

City Council District 2

PCYD's Endorse Philip Cowan

Both candidates running for this position responded to our questionnaire:
Philip Cowan
Robert Thoms

Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on your ballot.
Use the navigation to the right (or below on mobile) to find topics of interest, or just scroll.
Click here to return to the Tacoma page.

Sanctuary Status

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

Philip Cowan

Yes

Yes. As a city and as a country, we need to worry about enforcing crimes on others. People who come to our country in an attempt to better their lives are not criminals and should be left alone. Tacoma should join with others in becoming a Sanctuary City. It is morally the right place to be in my opinion.

Robert Thoms

Yes

Yes. We are currently a Welcoming City currently and I have stated I would be open to moving to a sanctuary city. However, when I have spoken with some in our community they have suggested that with recent moves by the administration that our welcoming cities policies are appropriate and support our citizens. I am open to pursuing and have asked the sponsors of our City's welcoming cities policy and they have stated we are fine for now.

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)

Philip Cowan

I am a strong believer in the Decline to Sign campaign. As a father of a 10-year old daughter, I was proud to take her to a rally in downtown Tacoma for this campaign earlier this year. It was her first political rally and it gave me a chance as a father to explain this topic to her.
Similar to in the first question, I support the concepts in the #HereToStay plan. Having the detention center in our home has always been hard for me to accept. At the very least, we can make sure it isn't expanded and that people held there have chances to improve their conditions. These are not hardened criminals and should not be treated as such.
As director of The Grand Cinema, we instituted our own $15 minimum wage several years ago. We also provide PTO for all employees, no matter how many hours they work, and give 100% paid platinum medical coverage for any employee who averages 30 hours a week. I believe in these ideals for our society and am proud to represent these values within my organization.
I am also a STRONG believer in any efforts to preserve and protect our environment. My opponent has not show consistent, progressive leadership in this and other areas, and I offer an alternative to that. I received an overwhelming endorsement from the 27th District Democrats and wholeheartedly support the ideals of the Democratic Party.

Robert Thoms

I am supportive of Decline to Sign I-1552 and have said as such. I am going to read about your HereToStay and see if I could support.

Goals & Needs of Constituency

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

Philip Cowan

Tacoma has a long history of environmental problems, from the smelter to the ""Tacoma Aroma"". We can't continue with ways of the past. It should never be a choice between jobs vs. the environment, and I will support planning and initiatives that support the right kind of jobs.
I support public safety in our community. Our fire and police departments still have not had their funding reach pre-recession levels. In a community that ranks well below average in crime rates and response times, we need to fix that. Funding must be restored both wisely and efficiently.
We must also continue to work on our infrastructure. Tacoma is an aging city and we have no where near enough funding to to keep repairs and improvements ongoing. This needs to be done equitably too, paying attention to the areas of our city who are most often ignored. We need to get creative on our funding models for these improvements, and make sure spending is allocated effectively. Too often we patch over problem areas, only to find another patch needed several years later. We need to be more intelligent in the ways we spend these precious dollars.

Robert Thoms

I will be focusing on reducing crime, I put the first new money in Tacoma's budget in over a decade for more officers as we should not be the number one property crime and DV city in the State. I also lead for the subarea planning process that is going to set the vision for the Port and Tideflats for the next 50-100 years. We must ensure our waterfront's future is cleaner than its past. Finally, I will continue to push for major investments in critical infrastructure in our City to help create jobs and make investments that show Tacoma is a great place to bring jobs and create commerce.

What are the top five needs of your constituency?

Philip Cowan

This is similar to the last question. This district includes the Port and tide flats. Environmental issues are critically important there because homes are so close to that industrial center. I support clean jobs and protection of our environment. We should not pursue projects that threaten to repeat mistakes of the past.
Property crime is common in this district and should be addressed more effectively. I am lucky to live in a safe part of Tacoma, but probably half the homes in my neighborhood have experienced break ins, including three times in my home. Very few solutions have ever been offered but that needs to change.
Emergency response time in NE Tacoma is a problem. That is one reason why our Fire Department lost accreditation. We need to intelligently plan to fix that.
We also need to continue to promote density within our city. People are inherently averse to change so when a bigger building comes up in your neighborhood, the instinct is often to oppose it. Density, however, is a better environmental choice. Sprawl causes green areas to get paved over and requires more roads/infrastructure and longer polluting commutes. Intelligent density, which should include affordable housing, is the better choice for our city.
Homelessness is also something that should be better addressed in this district that includes downtown. I'm a proponent of areas where homeless can live in greater density so that services can be provided to them. Clearing out the areas they live doesn't resolve anything and only disperses them temporarily. The Mayor's new plan is a step in the right direction but must be followed up with services.

Robert Thoms

- Public safety is by far what I hear the most - that is why I added 18 more police officers to the budget, first time in over a decade for new money.
- Better Roads
- More jobs
- Protecting our Quality of life - I was the first and only councilmember to speak out against proposed Methanol Plant.
- Better notification for projects happening in the City - this is something I worked hard to move from 400 ft. notification to 1/2 mile notification for projects and we can do better. "

Connecting with Young People

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

Philip Cowan

When I was in college, I was a member of the Young Democrats. We were passionate but didn't always know how to connect with others in the community to best make an impact. I don't know if that is the same now, but either way, I want to make sure I intentionally reach out to our youth to both learn from them on their interests, as well as to educate them about what is going on in the community and how they can help.
I serve as Executive Director for The Grand Cinema and I frequently am asked to speak in front of local college classes, or to be a part of class projects. I almost always accept these invitations because I feel it is important both for The Grand - we can learn a lot - and for the students. I will continue to listen and interact as a member of the City Council.

Robert Thoms

I speak to youth groups, I have folks from our local high schools working with my campaign and as a father of 3 and coach, I have the utmost respect that my job is about making a better Tacoma for them. I will continue to engage youth from our local high schools and also those going to our community collages and show them I am their candidate for Council. As a former YD leader, I know how vital the support and advice of our young leaders our to our future successes.

Police-Minority Relations

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

Philip Cowan

Yes

Yes. In a City Manager form of government, the details of this are created by the City Manager and Police Chief. That said, the Council has an important role to ensure that we use community policing to integrate within our communities. We also need to make sure our police have proper training. Too often around our country situations escalate when they could have easily been diffused with different reactions, and the city should always invest in opportunities to provide our force learning opportunities.

Robert Thoms

Yes

Yes. I was a proud supporter of the City's Project Peace Initiative to improve relations between our community and our Police. I sponsored the first ever property crimes task force to help get a better understanding of what police are dealing with and how to engage our community to lower such crimes in our City. The goal is to create trusting relationships and develop policies for increased accountability. I am supportive of efforts to continue this work and welcome such discussions and policy ideas.

Homelessness

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

Philip Cowan

I talked about that some before. I believe in pulling them together, not dispersing them. We need to support them, not ignore them. This also makes it more likely that they can obtain an address that would enable them to vote. I do also support Ban the Box on employment applications that can help many in job possibilities.

Robert Thoms

I have fought for historic investments by the City to address homelessness and I am very active with existing efforts. We must not allow anyone to have to sleep on the streets in Tacoma. I have been a leader on this issue and will continue to push for policies and programs that fix this issue, it is about human dignity and making sure our City addresses the root causes as well as the other issues associated with homelessness.

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.

Philip Cowan

Yes

Yes. I support Net Neutrality because not doing so puts big business in an advantageous position that I can not support.

Robert Thoms

Yes

Yes. I believe we should protect our public investments in internet technology, it is a public asset. I have supported city legislative efforts to protect privacy for TPU's CLICK customers in the face of Federal attempts to strip away protections.

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

Philip Cowan

I support legislation at any city, state or federal level that protects people's information, and requires permission for using it. That is one reason that Tacoma should retain control of Click! because we can help craft their policies toward citizens of our city.

Robert Thoms

I have supported city legislation recently to protect privacy for TPU's CLICK customers in the face of Federal attempts to strip away protections. I will always fight for consumers rights on this and big industry who prey upon an unsuspecting public.

Incumbency, PCYD's Involved & Campaign Consultants

Are you an incumbent to this position?

Philip Cowan

No

Robert Thoms

Yes

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

Philip Cowan

No

As a recent entrant into the race I do not, but would very much welcome such connections.

Robert Thoms

Yes

Former mbrs for sure and at least one volunteer I can get you the names

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

Philip Cowan

Veteran campaign consultant John Wyble is working for my campaign. He works only for progressive candidates and I am very lucky to have is intelligence and support.

Robert Thoms

Ben Anderstone