I live on Bainbridge Island, so I can’t vote for Mayor Erickson. But I wish I could.
I have known the mayor in several ways over the past few years: as a guest speaker in my classes, as a participant in a group working to improve local policing, and as a partner on a project that diverts people with mental illnesses from the criminal justice system.
No matter the context, she generates ideas and action, and I have never met anyone so good at making meaningful change happen. Politics is a dirty word these days, but Becky Erickson is a great example of how much good government can do when it’s run by someone smart, skilled, and committed to serving the community.
There is no better example of this than the mayor’s work in criminal justice. She recognized that often police and courts were called to handle situations involving mental illness — not something they are equipped to do. We’ve worked together since 2015 to figure out a better way. Thanks to her leadership (and funding from the county treatment tax), a program is in place to help people with behavioral health issues after they encounter police or are charged with minor crimes. Police, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have access to mental health professionals (we call them “navigators”) who work with individuals and connect them to services. We have helped hundreds of people throughout the county over the last two years: people who have tried to take their own lives, parents of children prone to crisis, people living in cars and on streets who can’t manage their illnesses.
I am so proud to work with a mayor who understands her obligation to the people she serves — including the most vulnerable among us. Poulsbo is fortunate to have such a strong and compassionate mayor, and I urge you to return her to office when you cast your vote in November.
City of Poulsbo Behavioral Health Outreach Program