In 2018, I was honored to be appointed to the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners. When I was appointed, I spoke of the importance of economic development and managing growth. We must ensure our county government is ready to meet its current challenges to be ready for the future. Those priorities haven’t changed, but I’ve discovered after talking with many of you that they are part of a much broader set of principles.
My priorities for my next term will be:
- Putting the customer first
- Improving our quality of life
- Building a healthy, resource-based economy
- Creating smart, efficient government
Put the customer first
You are our customer and your expectations are important! If a business sells a product, their survival depends on satisfied customers. Your county government is no different. You deserve county services that respond to your needs intelligently, efficiently and quickly. Going to a county office shouldn’t be an experience to be dreaded. Having built my own house, I know just how daunting it can be to wade through regulations and permits. That’s why as your commissioner, I will make it my priority to focus on streamlining processes like these and making them as easy to understand as possible.
We are a county of can-do people, and your county government should be there to help. When you walk into one of our offices, you should be greeted with a friendly face, a listening ear, and a partner helping to realize your goals – not just the regulations. I will do everything in my power to make sure that when you leave, you feel like you were treated with respect and that we did everything we could to help.
As your county commissioner, I am ultimately accountable to you. One of the highlights of this job has been meeting the fine people of this county and listening to your concerns, ideas, and feedback. We have an obligation to future generations to do everything we can to leave this place better than it is today. With your support, I pledge to work tirelessly to help achieve that vision for all of us.
Improve our quality of life
It’s no secret Kittitas County is a great place to live. My great-great-great grandfather came to the Washington Territory in 1860, and settled in the Kittitas Valley. Even then, our county was known for its beauty and opportunity. For over 150 years, our values have stayed the same: work hard and build a good life for our families. As we welcome new citizens to our county in record numbers, it is critical that county government does everything possible to help, not hinder, economic expansion and job creation while preserving our proud heritage and breathtaking scenery.
Since day one, I have worked hard to show you that I’m the right person to represent you. I have focused on putting our county on the path to long-term prosperity. For example, when Central Washington University was considering moving their Aviation Program to Yakima, I committed to work towards a future where our airport could support their program while bringing new business to the facility. But, this was only going to work if taxpayers aren’t stuck with an unfair share of the bill. CWU and the county are now back on track and putting together a long-term plan to benefit Bowers Field and our entire county’s economy. I plan to continue this work and close the deal just as I did countless times in the private sector. As we build new business, we provide the opportunities to allow our children to raise their own families here and help to lower our tax burden at the same time.
Building a healthy resource-based economy
Our county has always been a provider to others. Whether it was fish from our rivers, grain for the nation’s bakeries, or lumber to build our cities, Kittitas County has thrived in this role. As we manage increasing growth, it is critical that these same industries continue to flourish alongside urban business expansion. Our resource industries feed our families, manage our land, and preserve our way of life.
As your county commissioner, I’m working to support and strengthen agriculture and promote forest management. Since I took office, I’ve represented Kittitas County on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. I have built great relationships with a broad array of area stakeholders including irrigators, local governments, tribal leaders, and environmental organizations committed to building a healthy Yakima River system. Our work culminated in the passage of federal funding which will enhance our county’s economy while preserving important lands and ensuring our young sockeye salmon fishery continues to grow. When Badger Pocket and Salmon la Sac both win, we all win.
Smart, efficient government
Quality matters. Whether it’s our kids’ lemonade stand or a Fortune 500 company, small steps must come together to make a successful and predictable product. I found this to be a key to winning in business, and it’s the same in government. My job now is to focus on building processes and procedures that save time, money and are easy to understand. I’ve already started that by taking on our county’s internal services and developing expectations and expected service levels. When employees know what a successful outcome looks like and can achieve it, our productivity increases while costs go down. This means it takes less of your money to operate our county.
Good government also means being good stewards of your money. Our budgeting process needs to be focused on the basics. When opportunities arise to expand county services, we must make sure to keep our eye on the ball. Is it necessary? Does it fit with our core mission? Just as businesses make strategic investments based on comparing present capabilities with future needs, county government needs the same set of guidelines to succeed. I will work to bring to county government the same efficient processes that served me well in the private sector.