AS YOUR PUBLIC SERVANT
I will ensure we openly discuss issues and come to compromises whenever possible.
I will listen and agree with reasonable solutions regardless of the source.
I reserve the right to change my mind when presented with new facts.
I believe a person has the right to do as they please so long as no one else is being hurt.
Our over-reliance on the federal government must end. Being dependent on Washington DC has put Skamania County in a vulnerable position. We must develop a sustainable economy that isn’t overly dependent on any one industry or the whims of the federal government.
Our economy is overly reliant on only two industries: forest products and tourism. While these are important, it makes us vulnerable to pressures beyond our control. I will strive to bring new and innovative industries to our county such as manufacturing and high-tech. I will work with state and federal agencies to improve our infrastructure and expand upon our existing assets. I will work with the timber industry to promote sustainable and responsible logging practices to meet the quotas of the Northwest Forest plan. I will work with the Port of Skamania and the Cities of Stevenson and North Bonneville to better develop business incubation facilities.
Skamania County has a shortage of affordable housing. I pushed for and achieved meaningful changes to the codes regulating auxiliary dwelling units in Stevenson and Skamania County. While this will help, more work needs to be done. I will continue to do everything I can to increase our stock of affordable housing.
Under current regulations permitting and utility connection fees are the same regardless of the size or value of the home, this encourages developers to build bigger and more expensive homes so that they can more easily recover their costs. I would propose a tiered system for permitting and utility connection fees based on home size and/or value of the home. For example, new construction homes at 1,000 square feet or under would pay the lowest fee, while mid sized homes, say 1001 to 2500 square feet, would pay a mid sized fee and large homes (2501+ square feet) would pay the current cost . This would reduce the overall cost of construction while encouraging the construction of more affordable homes. The exact specifics would be determined by the County Planning Commission at a later time.
We are incredibly lucky to live, work, and play in one of the most beautiful places in the world. This natural beauty is not only our greatest asset, but it is also our greatest legacy. We can preserve and protect our natural environment while developing our built environment through common sense planning and code enforcement.
RURAL FIRE DEPARTMENT
Our fire departments rely on volunteers and are often underfunded and understaffed. This presents a problem in the remote areas with several vacation homes and cabins. These vacation homes and cabins are just as susceptible to needing fire department assistance as any home. However, they don’t provide us with the needed volunteer firefighters. We should explore having a paid fire department in some areas that are funded by a tax levied on vacation homes in the county.
It is well known that only about 10% of the land in Skamania County is taxable. But Skamania County is huge! The taxable 10% of Skamania County is larger than the average county size in this country. We have plenty of land not being used. We could use this land for manufacturing, entertainment venues, timber, tourism, and recreation.
We should explore the possibility of encouraging unincorporated areas to incorporate. This would allow more local control of tax rates, zoning, and improvement programs to the people who live there. It would also relieve some of the stress on the county government. This could only occur with the full consent of the people of the areas.
Skamania County is known as Sasquatch territory. We should embrace the “monster tourism” industry in Skamania County with our unique Sasquatch Law (Ordinance 69-01). By placing road signs at entrances and key areas we can promote Skamania as a unique outdoor experience.