As the CEO/General Manager of Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 (PUD) and a member of this community, it feels both important and necessary to comment on the justified outrage sweeping the nation in response to the tragic killings of George Floyd and countless others. Like many of you, I felt sick watching these senseless deaths on television and via social media.
The deaths of these Black men and women force our communities to have uncomfortable conversations, igniting various global responses and spotlighting the racism that exists in our country, particularly against the Black community. This comes as no surprise to some of you, as too many people live with similar experiences and the effects and impacts of such trauma.
Since May 25th, PUD leadership has spent time listening to many employees and community members most affected by these issues and believe it is our responsibility as leaders to learn more, act responsibly, and ensure a more equitable and inclusive environment. We remain committed to welcoming and honoring diversity and our differences – in our cultures, racial backgrounds, views of the world, experiences, and families – but we know that learning and listening is not enough. Combating racism requires action and informed leadership at all levels.
In order to promote cultural change, we understand that acknowledging inequity and bias is the first of many steps in this process. To that end, we are actively working on identifying inequity and bias, earnestly seeking appropriate responses, and realizing there are a lot of things we don’t know. We are fully committed to partnering with our staff, community, and experts to learn and respond together in ways that are relevant, impactful, and long lasting.
As we plan for more effective leadership and create a more inclusive culture, it is encouraging to talk to our community and hear from those who are invested in our success! I understand that this will require a lasting commitment that goes beyond this statement. We understand that there are no quick fixes for the systemic changes needed. Our customers, communities, and country must stand together against hate, bigotry, racism, and violence.
I invite you to join us as we move forward and hope that you will partner with us to make lasting change. Our communities are strong, and we live in a beautiful place. As your Snohomish PUD, we will do our part to make sure Snohomish County and Camano Island feel safe and welcoming for all.