Four years ago, I submitted my name for the appointment to the Board of County Commissioners when Gary Berndt vacated his seat. At that time, I pledged to support whoever was chosen in the election that same year. I kept my promise.”
Since that time, I have grown increasingly concerned with the lack of vision from the Board of County Commissioners. From water issues to land use to our county’s exploding budgetary needs, this Board has failed. The Board’s lack of proactive action to address these problems stems from a lack of foresight and initiative. I can offer experienced, levelheaded leadership to a Board that, to now, has not functioned as a unit.
Like many of you, I have concerns about transparency, accessibility, and accountability of our county government. Your government needs to be available and accessible without having to drive to Ellensburg. I pledge to open an office in the Upper County and spend as much of my time as possible to be accessible to you. I also see a need for a more ‘customer-focused’ approach from our county departments which has been highlighted recently by the response to COVID-19. While it is completely appropriate to suspend physical access to county departments for safety, we must have systems in place to keep our county working.
Though the Upper County is topographically different than the Lower County, we share many common issues and concerns. We must bridge the perceived divide by finding common goals yet address area-specific issues as they arise. While the Lower County has a historically agriculture-driven economy, Upper County has yet to find a clear direction for its future since our timber-based economy ended. Tourism has been targeted to fill the void, but without a clear picture of what that will look like we have yet to fulfill our potential. I frequently hear from residents a desire for the Upper County to remain rural, but few can answer what ‘rural’ means. I hope this campaign creates an environment for a robust discussion on the future of the economy in the Upper County.