Seeking public office for the first time, Dan Driscoll is trying to oust an incumbent and earn a four-year term on the Pacific County Board of Commissioners.
An Oysterville resident, Driscoll, running as a Libertarian, is the owner and operator of Oysterville Sea Farms, which has been in his family for generations. From 2011 to 2018, Driscoll and Pacific County were engaged in a well-documented legal battle, which concluded after the Washington State Court of Appeals sided with Driscoll.
Chinook Observer: What makes you qualified to serve on the Pacific County Board of Commissioners, and what prior experience do you have in community and public service?
Dan Driscoll: My entire adult life has been spent in professions that require management skills. I am used to working within a budget holding staff accountable for performance and actions. Every day of my professional life, I work to avoid creating liabilities. Since 2011, I’ve been studying all aspects of Pacific County government, especially those dealing with infraction systems, land use laws, permitting and shoreline rules. Unlike my opponent, I have demonstrated a fundamental understanding of these essential county laws and ordinances. I’ve served as a board member for the Ocean Park Chamber of Commerce, Water Music Festival and Oysterville Restoration Foundation.
CO: What are the two most critical issues facing Pacific County, and how, as just one of three commissioners, do you plan on addressing them if elected?
DD: The most critical day many Pacific County residents may face is the impending Cascadia subduction event. I want to work with emergency management to continually educate and prepare our county for this day. Another critical issue for the unincorporated rural areas of this county is septic installation and maintenance. I would like to work with contractors and engineers to make sure the latest and best septic system technology can be installed here. I also want to make sure we have disposal sites for septic waste in Pacific County.
CO: As we continue to recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic, what county services will you prioritize in the budget during your term, if elected?
DD: My answer will change as the effect of the pandemic on Pacific County government’s revenue streams changes. Until I learn otherwise, I will enter office assuming that all existing services are necessary and work with the other commissioners to fund them. All Health Department activities that help the public protect itself, the Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department and Road Crew are the departments we will need to prioritize if revenue streams become dire.
CO: As of this writing, how do you evaluate the county’s response to the pandemic? Do you support the Washington State Health Department’s mandate requiring masks to be worn when out in public?
DD: I do not want this to be a political issue, so I will not be critical of the county’s or anyone’s response. In general the most major flaw in all government responses to the pandemic is that they have been instituted by those who won’t have their financial or physical health impacted by their decisions. I would like to see non-government citizens included in future meetings regarding our response to the pandemic. Yes, [I support the state health department’s mask mandate.]
CO: With sea level rise expected to begin affecting many areas of the county within the next few decades, what role should the commissioners and the county play now in helping to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change in both the near and far future?
DD: We should use best available science to: 1) determine if and when sea rise will surpass elevation rise, 2) predict the most damaging effects of climate change, 3) determine if the county can do anything to help prevent climate change and prevent its most damaging effects, 4) do what the county is capable of doing. The county could be a conduit for outside funds sent to Pacific County tree owners. These funds would be used to pay tree owners not to cut trees. These trees would carbon capture and contribute to slowing conditions leading to climate change.
CO: What role can or should the county play when it comes to supporting tsunami response measures, such as the construction of vertical evacuation towers in inundation zones?
DD: I would encourage FEMA and any other agency or non-governmental organization that wants to fund and build vertical evacuation towers to do so, and prioritize hiring local laborers and contractors. Accepting that there is going to be a tsunami is the first step in preparing for it. I recorded a PSA and CD called “Tsunami” (Chinook Observer Dec. 31, 2001) to come to terms with the fact that we risk our lives daily by living in a tsunami zone. Our community still has a long way to go in accepting the imminent threat of a tsunami.
CO: How can the commissioners play an active role in supporting economic development and diversifying Pacific County’s economy?
DD: Real, meaningful shared prosperity is only going to come from within this county. We need to support diversity within existing industries and create a more business-friendly county government. For several decades, my business had a successful partnership with the county government. I would like to see all existing and new businesses have an opportunity to have similar partnerships.
CO: Simply put, why should the people of Pacific County vote for you in the general election?
DD: I am the better candidate. I know my strengths. I know my limitations. I will work with others to overcome my limitations. I respect those in and out of government. I will listen to citizens’ concerns and work with them. I’ve studied our county government and know how it’s supposed to work. I have stood up and will continue to stand up to those who only want the county to work for them. I have put everything I’ve ever had into this county. I want to put everything into making our county government work better for everyone who lives here.