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Centralia Strong:
Tackling the Tough Issues

Centralia faces great challenges right now. At the same, we have tremendous opportunity. Leaders today need to take action to ensure that we solve the challenges while making sure we take advantage of the opportunities available.  Like our founder, we need hope and resilience to find our way forward. 


Safe and Secure Community

People need to feel safe in Centralia. Safe walking through town, safe in our parks and safe as business owners and property owners. Property crimes are up and as most people know there has been a rash of buildings burned.

Kelly started the Public Safety Task Force in 2022 and brought together business leaders and service providers to identify a set of actions that continue to be implemented, including officers on bicycles downtown. She supports the closure of Blakeslee Junction homeless encampment and the ordinance making RV parking illegal on public streets. She supports the investment in the Flock Safety Network and a fully staffed police force. She supports stronger code enforcement and city taking action swiftly when a property owner isn't maintaining their property - the clean-up of Papa Pete's is one example. 

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Strong Families

Families are the foundation of our community. Healthy families lead to healthy communities. Families come in many forms, and we need to support our local families.  

Kelly is focused on creating a community where families can thrive. This includes being a constant champion for the school district, Kelly is a frequent guest in the schools, ranging from the elementary Read Out Loud Day to the high school civics class to Business Week. She supported both school levies and will continue to do so. 

Kelly supports the United Learning Center - early childhood is one of the most important opportunities to help our families thrive. She supports our parks and creating more green space and areas for recreation and connection. 

And, she is a fiscal conservative - wanting to keep government costs low so families have more of their own money. 

In her free time, Kelly also serves on the Board of the Lewis County Boys and Girls Club and helped open the Centralia site. 


Strong Economy

Centralia's economy is growing, and we need to be sure that the jobs coming in support a healthy community. Kelly has been a strong advocate for the hydrogen valley, and specifically locating the large-scale, $1.2B hydrogen electrolyzer at the TransAlta property where it is in the school district taxing area. 

Kelly is a tireless advocate of small businesses, making a point of attending events, shopping local and working with business owners to address their safety concerns and other needs. 

Kelly worked hard through the covid shutdown to encourage local support of businesses and created the script program to keep covid relief dollars local. 

Having adequate housing is an important part of a strong economy. Businesses want to know their employees will have a place to live. 

Click here to see what housing projects are happening in Centralia


Strong Partnerships

Effective leadership requires the ability to work well with a wide variety of people and across boundaries. In her first term, Kelly has built partnerships with tribal leaders, economic partners, fellow electeds, state and local government staff, social service providers, non-profit groups and many more. 

At times people have questioned these partnerships, because she often partners with individuals or groups that other partners disagree with. But that is the work of leadership - finding common ground, valuing people while respecting differences and constantly working to move the health of Centralia forward.   



Homelessness is a top issue for Centralia today. Simple solutions simply aren't available and Kelly will not pretend otherwise. Keep in mind that homelessness has many faces and experiences, and most homeless people are working, raising families and stuck in a system that perpetuates poverty. Kelly has spent hours researching the issue, visiting other cities, talking with local and state partners and exploring new paths. She is committed to addressing it systemically, and is committed to keeping the humanness of those struggling at the forefront in her speech and actions. 

She also believes that our current approaches aren't working. Here is what she proposes: 

A policy shift towards more accountability, still rooted in caring. For example, we want people to have weekly stability goals and show their own effort towards health. The new contractor, Hope Source, for Coordinated Entry should bring that approach to Lewis County.

Increased accountability in services through stronger contracting and oversight of public funds. Until recently, many of the contracts for public funds for services were written poorly with little accountability built in. Kelly supports rewriting the contracts, moving all of them to an annual RFP process where service providers must show results, and talking with outside funders about how their funding affects us.

Building a regional approach so services are not located primarily in Centralia. This includes moving the shelter and establishing a policy group with county and municipal representatives. 

Supporting housing efforts that fill the missing gaps for people, including transitional housing so people have a next step after the shelter towards stability. 

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The Vision

While we work to address immediate concerns, we need to also set out an inspiring, compelling vision for our future. Our Housing Committee has worked extensively on the vision. The vision is to create a green garland woven throughout Centralia, where a multi-modal path system connects Logan District to Discovery Trail. We want our rivers and lakes to be community amenities - gems within our city. And, we envision neighborhood hubs that have light commercial (think your neighborhood coffee shop, pizzeria, hair salon) with welcoming urban design that makes you feel a part of a community where you belong. This vision will, over time, help mitigate issues related to flooding, congestion, population growth and more. Imagine a city full of accessible green spaces, where people sit at riverside cafes to catch up and visitors marvel at the beauty of our local waterways.  

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