EDITOR'S NOTE: The Chinook Observer asked the candidates in contested county-wide races to respond to a written questionnaire in order to give voters a better idea of their positions, experience and thought processes. Here are their answers, as we received them. Some candidates did not choose to answer all questions submitted.
County Commissioner Please give us a brief biography, including place of residence, education, work experience, and anything else you feel readers would be interested in. PAT HAMILTON: Residence-has resided in Labam for the past seven years. Education-Raymond High School graduate; Grays Harbor College graduate Work Experience-Severd twelve years as Commisioner Boards Served On-6 years on WA Counties Legislative Steering Committee Past President and executive board member on: Columbia Pacific Resource and Development Council Washington Counties Insurance Fund Former President: Washington State Resource and Development Council O3A Olympic Area Agency on Aging Rural Couties Commitee Board Member Coastal Communities Action Program Vice President: Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency. WAYNE ESTES: I have worked as a farmer, miller worker, logger and educator. I have been successfully married for the past 45 years. I own my home and I'm debt free. I will carry this stability over to the commissioners job. I have several hobbies including wood working, farming and old machinery. Describe what you see as the primary tasks for which the person in this position is responsible. HAMILTON: Primary Task: 1.) Set the County Budget 2.) Serve on the boards and committies as asigned and reflected in the experience portion. ESTES: The primary job for the Commissioner is management. For example I will meet several times a year with department heads and employee groups to see what the commissioners' office could do to help them to do their jobs better. The Growth Management Program has cost over one million dollars...I will make sure this is carried out in a timley manner. A year after your election, in what ways would the office be diferent than it is today? HAMILTON: A year after election, and during the year, I would work to continue upgrading infrastructure problems in each community. This would include the water systems, roads, etc. ESTES: A year after I am in office I would expect the permit process to be running smoothly, and each department feeling free to exchange ideas and viewpoints. What do you see as the strenghts and weaknesses of the county department you seek to lead? How would you encourage the former and correct the latter? HAMILTON: Strengths: I feel that I have had sucess with working with partnerships in solving problems. When there is a shortfall in dollars, you can be more competitive in finding funding when working with partnerships. Weaknesses: I feel there is a lack of communication within the county. People see the county performing permit reviews, inspections, etc. As they are only performing the duties as perscibed by the state. The county is not able to change the rules, however our staff members are the ones who become the focus. Please remember we are all just human. To change this problem, we need to have more accurate communication on who sets the rules. ESTES: The major strength of the commisionners office is to plan ahead, promote business and welcome new investors, as well as to defend the county from the state when their demands exceed reason. If the commisioners do their jobs there should be no weaknesses. How should the county deal with its current funding shortfall? What will you do to help? HAMILTON: The solution lies with better communication with the legislature on the true impacts of any given law. We need to compile a list of unfunded mandates and review them to find ways to reduce them. To save money we must focus on the basics. At this time I am working on this list for the 2003 Legislature. ESTES: There is a $32 million-plus budget. Before any layoffs I would go over the budget and eliminate any unnessasary expenditures. What do you envision yourself doing 10 years from now? HAMILTON: I would like to be working as an advocate for people in crisis. ESTES: The way the world is going at the present time one can not predict the future, however I will still be productive and making contributions to my community.