As I run to be re-elected to another term as your county commissioner, I would like to take the opportunity to let you know a little about what I have been doing during my first term, something the local media seems to have no knowledge of or interest in reporting.
In addition to the normal ‘built in’ duties dealing with county budgets and policies, the commissioner you elect must be on a number of different committees. All commissioners sit on the Pacific Transit Board and the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency board. Additionally, I’m the consortium chair for the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and Chair of the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. Also, I am Pacific County’s commissioner delegate to the Washington State Association of Counties Legislative Steering committee since my second year in office.
I have also been heavily involved at the state level advocating for the survival of our natural resources and the jobs they provide. Timber, fishing and farming have become my battle cry at the state level. The families that are supported by the jobs in these industries are our own local endangered species.
Timber revenue is a significant contributor to not only our county’s general fund but the budgets of our junior taxing districts as well (hospitals, fire districts, libraries, etc). I have been very vocal at countless meetings on the topics of the marbled murrelet, set asides of productive timberland and the sustainable harvest calculations managed by the department of Natural Resources for the trust lands held for the counties.
The failed policies of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding the salmon runs and hatchery programs have the hatcheries running at a fraction of their capacity. Because of my testimony and others, the commission is now taking public comment on the future of the Willapa Bay Salmon Policy set to expire in 2023. I am optimistic that we can sway the commission into making significant changes to the policy to ensure a healthier and more prolific source of salmon for all.
I have been reaching out to members of the state and federal government to aid the oyster growers in coming to a reasonable solution that allows them the ability to farm and to ensure that the shellfish industry in Pacific County, which provides approximately 25% of the nation's fresh-shucked oysters, does not disappear like their farm ground is from the unchecked infestation of the burrowing shrimp. There have been many poor decisions made at the state level that effect our shellfish farmers and I will not quit advocating for them and this industry.
Sometimes you have to work proactively. Almost two years ago it became evident that treatment centers that accept septage were becoming harder to find. If the companies that empty your septic tank have nowhere nearby to take the waste, those Pacific County citizens with septic tanks could face dramatically higher costs, or perhaps even no one to provide that service. Since then, I’ve been working with some resourceful citizens on a plan for a dedicated destination in the county to resolve the problem and will keep you informed on the progress.
I will wrap up by saying I love my job! It has been so very rewarding to be your advocate for the very important issues concerning our resources and the jobs they create, as well as being able to accomplish smaller local projects such as getting street lights to the dark intersections in Naselle and making sure that 245th Place in Ocean Park is once again a navigable road.
I believe experience during this troubled time is very much needed, as the heading to the editorial section in last week’s edition stated. If you agree, please consider endorsing me with your vote so I can continue working on the goals and projects I have been championing these past 4 years.