The last few weeks that I’ve spent campaigning in person and online have given me the chance to think about what kind of future I would like to see for Clackamas County and its residents.
It’s important for leaders to have a road map in mind so they can set the right priorities and determine if progress is being made. Goals and benchmarks help guide the path forward.
My top priority right now would be to make sure that the county, and all of its businesses, are re-opened as quickly as safely as possible. The coronavirus crisis has shown how important it is for the county to be prepared for an emergency and have adequate reserve funds. I will help the county plan for those eventualities through my Federal Emergency Management Agency training.
Under my chairmanship, the county will be planning better for tomorrow’s challenges. That way, the next time a recession hits, the county government won’t have to make cuts or sacrifice services.
The county budget should be balanced without the need for additional tax burdens on our property owners, businesses, families and workers. I helped balance the state budget as a member of the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee as we recovered from recession. This was done by prioritizing programs instead of raising taxes.
Ideally, the county should have a budget surplus. It did the last time I was county commissioner, and I will work to make sure that it does again.
I envision county residents being able to commute to work safely on well-maintained roads with adequate traffic capacity. I see the sheriff’s office funded responsibly enough to be well-staffed so that deputies are able to respond quickly to calls for service.
My vision includes courthouse facilities that the county leases with parking, elevators and Americans with Disabilities Act access already in place and that is easy for public transportation and vehicle traffic to get to.
I see strong, healthy, vibrant, diverse communities throughout Clackamas County that are independent of Portland and maintain their unique characters. They include everything from suburbs like West Linn, Happy Valley and Lake Oswego to smaller, more rural towns like Molalla, Sandy and Estacada.
I picture thriving main streets where merchants and neighbors know each other. I see small businesses that are locally owned and operated open their doors for tourists, visitors and residents alike. I envision people coming from all over the world to enjoy outdoor recreation in our majestic mountains and on our rivers.
I dream of seeing those same business owners feeling well-served by their county government, instead of constantly being asked to fund its bureaucracy and those of Metro. I see a county government that takes a responsive, proactive, customer service-based approach and puts its residents’ needs before those of itself, Metro and Portland.
This is what I have in mind and why I am running for chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. I’m asking for your vote and for you to turn in your ballot by May 19.