State of the County address outlines plans for infrastructure

February 5, 2013

By Staff

NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013

King County Executive Dow Constantine outlined initiatives to curb gun violence, provide easier access to services for military veterans and family members, and enroll 180,000 uninsured residents into affordable health care.

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Dow Constantine

Constantine presented the proposals to the public and the King County Council on Monday in a State of the County address delivered at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry.

In the address, Constantine said the county emerged strong from the challenges created related to the Great Recession, and said priorities for the year focused on the county’s future by strengthening human infrastructure — such as jobs, health care and veterans services — natural infrastructure — including efforts to address climate change, flood protection and environmental cleanup — and built infrastructure — such as maintaining roads and transit.

“The strength of our county, the prosperity of our region, rely on the creation, preservation and expansion of infrastructure. I’m talking about bricks and mortar, but I am also speaking of more than our built infrastructure,” he said in the address. “Let’s also consider our natural infrastructure, and our human infrastructure: Three, indispensable  interlocking pieces that form the basis for our past, and our future, prosperity.”

Constantine also discussed efforts to address recent gun violence in King County and throughout the United States.

“Gun violence is a public safety crisis. It is also a public health crisis,” Constantine said. “Locally, we can approach gun violence as a preventable public health problem — and attack it through the kind of proven public health strategies that have reduced deaths from smoking, from auto accidents, and from sudden infant death syndrome.”

The address received a positive response from the local representatives on the council, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn.

“The growing number of veterans in King County deserves support because they have served us,” Lambert said in a statement. “Several new King County programs are adding mental health and employment services to reach more veterans, and now this call for more coordination and filling gaps will go a long way toward helping our heroic veterans to adjust to life back at home. I also look forward to focusing this year on flood control efforts, agricultural protection and funding for our deteriorating county roads.”

In 2011, King County voters approved a Veterans and Human Services Levy to generate about $100 million for programs to aid veterans and needy residents. The funding is split 50-50 between veterans programs and human services efforts.

“I look forward to a continued productive working relationship with the county executive this year,” Dunn said in a statement. “Delivering services and meeting the needs of the citizens of King County are goals I share with Executive Constantine. I thank him for his address this morning and I will be thoroughly reviewing his proposals as they come before the council.”

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