Applying for: Yakima City Council, District 4
Below are the answers Kay Funk provided to our ten-question job application. All answers are copied verbatim from what we received from the candidate.
1. What would you say is your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness?
Working in medicine taught me rigid adherence to science, truth, and reliability. When we ignore facts, bad things happen. If we fail to meet commitments, trust is damaged and organizations can’t work effectively. The last year has been deeply disturbing because truth and consistent position no longer seem to matter and personal preferences become “facts”. Everyone in elected office must work within the law and within economic realities.
I have decided to run a campaign which avoids campaign promises and “framing” facts. This may be less interesting and less engaging for voters.
2. What are the best & worst jobs you’ve ever had? Why?
I am a retired family physician and I spent 35 years doing primary patient care. This work is intrinsically rewarding because of the long term relationships and the chance to use knowledge and skills to solve difficult problems.
The most difficult job that I ever had was working in a bakery from 2AM - 10AM. I was taking classes in the afternoon and the sleep disruption was very punishing. I didn’t realize how sick I was until after I quit.
3. Why is this position a good fit for you?
I have a strong background in science, assessment of measurable results, negotiating problem solving, and behavioral health. I have been a small business owner for over 25 years, with ~6 full time employees and minimal employee turnover. My husband managed the business functions, but we worked together to manage expenses, including taxes, employee benefits, inventory, etc.. Medical practice and billing may have more wasteful regulation than any other US industry, so I am well aware of the need to balance safety with cost effectiveness.
4. What makes you the best choice for workers in this race?
In my medical career, I had ~100,000 patient encounters with individuals of every age, condition, and income level. Each encounter means a specific problem to solve, and teaches respect for every person.
5. What do you think is the single biggest issue affecting workers in your area? What would you do to address it?
Yakima is primarily an agricultural economy, dependent upon low wage labor. Many of our residents struggle to provide basic food, shelter, transportation, and safety for their children. Many are Hispanic immigrants who face danger of deportation and racial prejudice. Many are monolingual Spanish, which makes simple daily routine difficult.
The City of Yakima and it’s Police Department have policies against racial profiling or facilitating ICE detention. These policies need to be supported and monitored. City government needs to be thrifty, and city employees need fair hiring, just work culture, and security in their health care coverage.
6. Describe a specific situation where you took action to support workers fighting for their rights. What was the experience like, and what did you learn? Bonus question: tell us about a time you engaged with workers with Working Washington.
In my years as an employer, I always tried to provide my employees with appreciation, respect, stability, and secure health and dental coverage. This was costly and decreased our family income, but I do not wish to work in a resentful office. I have expert knowledge on the cost and wastefulness of health care coverage, which is a huge threat to US workers.
I have picketed with hospital workers, when no other doctors would.
I handed out Washington Minimum Wage Increase, Initiative 1433 brochures during the 2016 campaign.
7. What would be your top single priority if elected to this office? How would you define success or failure on this issue?
Our city was reorganized after the ACLU suit (for violation of Voting Rights) 3 years ago. The new process of representation by district needs maturation and stability. Important efforts are underway to address erosion of confidence and increase civic engagement by neighborhoods.
8. What can you do in this office to resist attacks by the Trump Administration on the rights of low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ?
Yakima city government has little authority to directly oppose federal actions, but the city government has already established a policy against racial profiling in policing and non-cooperation with ICE detentions. The city will soon write to express support of the Bridge Act and continued deferred action for “Dreamers”. These moderate actions are broadly supported. I would also like to see the city formally support comprehensive immigration reform. I do not expect that there will be direct threats to women’s reproductive rights, or loss of insurance coverage. Washington state also has protections for LGTBQ non-discrimination. The city council needs to be alert to make sure that these protections are active in fact, and not just on paper.
9. What can we, as the people of Yakima, do to establish better human relations among our citizens?
I would like to see more racial and socioeconomic integration of recreation opportunities provided by our parks department. We would like to see more participation, especially multi-racial participation in neighborhood watch and similar community policing programs. I would like to see more opportunities for Spanish as a Second Language education in our schools, starting with younger students.
10. What can Yakima do to protect the rights of all the people who live and work in the city?
We support fair policing and community policing. We support fair hiring and just work culture. We support fair housing, but also support eviction for criminal activity. We recognize that homelessness has a variety of causes and needs a variety of intervention programs to reduce harm and promote productivity and self-reliance. We continue to strive for affordable housing and safe neighborhoods.