Catherine Ushka-Hall interview

By weeklyvolcano on April 5, 2007

Catherineushka The Weekly Volcano caught up with Marty Campbell’s campaign manager, Catherine Ushka-Hall, right after her trip through urbanXchange and Embellish Multispace Salon. Campbell is running for Tacoma City Council position eight, the city-wide seat that will be vacated by fellow small business owner Bill Evans, whose term will expire in 2008.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: How did you land the job as Marty Campbell's campaign manager?

CATHERINE USHKA-HALL: As it turns out, Marty and I have been living almost parallel lives in Tacoma, both Neighborhood Council Chairs, both recipients of the Business Examiners 40 Under 40 Awards, both committed to a better Tacoma. But Campbell has significant experience solving issues in our community and in the arts, he’s been in the trenches here for a long time, while I have significant experience involving campaigns. To make a long story short, he was looking for a campaign manager, and I was helping him go through the process. At some point, Pactrica Laci-Davis, owner of Embellish Multispace Salon said, “Why don’t you do it?”  It took a day or two to consider, but it struck me that I love doing campaign work for the right people and the right issues. Marty is the right person. He's one of us. So I emailed him my resume, and the rest is history.  

VOLCANO: What are Campbell's major platform points?

USHKA-HALL: Commerce, Community and Conversation.

Commerce: There are many good things going for Tacoma, but it can be so much better. We must invest in our existing small businesses so that they can grow. We must encourage entrepreneurs and provide opportunity for real success right here in Tacoma. By investing in local business, we will grow our job base, our wages, and our quality of life.  Our tax dollars should be spent here first. As a result, we will retain our best and brightest, as well as our young families â€" Our city needs both of these to thrive.

Community: Our neighborhoods need to be safe, walk-able and attractive â€" not just for some Tacoman’s, but for all of us. There must be laws and ordinances that have real enforceability to keep criminals off our streets. And then we must actually enforce them.  Tacoma is maturing as a city, and that must include our existing businesses and community. Investment in the arts is paramount.

Someone once wrote that the true measure of the quality of a city is its arts Community.  Tacoma is a great place to be an artist, but it can be so much better. Marty will work to create an arts incubator to support budding artists and teach them to be successful as artists in our community.

Conversation: All of our 204,136 citizens deserve a voice. City services should be equitable, transparent and accessible. Campbell will insure transparency in the processes, and that the community is involved in the conversations that affect our daily lives. The citizens are the customer â€" city services should serve the citizens and respond, not react.  It's time to look to the future, and the future is now.

VOLCANO: Did you receive free videos and CDs from Campbell's businesses?

USHKA-HALL: Well, Marty let's me have free rentals at Stadium Video, just like employees do. However, there are still late fees. That means it's still challenging for me because bringing video’s back is a special challenge. The good news is that I can simply hand him the DVD at the office. I would never even ask for a free CD, I mean, he's got to make a living doesn't he? Marty is constantly giving CDs and gift certificates to auctions for different charities all over town.

VOLCANO: What excites you about Tacoma?

USHKA-HALL: The diversity. The energy. The opportunity. Tacoma has come a long way in a short time and we have this wonderful mix of people, those that grew up here and people from all over the world. I can't start a conversation in the grocery store without learning something new.  My mother's Day present last year was a "Gritty Tacoman" tee shirt. We are still small enough to do whatever we want, and large enough to truly support new ideas and affect changes.  Yes, Tacoma has its host of issues, but when I compare them to communities like ours around the country â€" we are not just ahead of the curve, we frequently define it. That's pretty darned exciting. â€" Brad Allen