The Current Issues

Okanogan County, as in the rest of the country,  faces unique and complex issues in 2020. The well-being of all of our county’s residents stays top of mind as I work through these issues.   Below are a few of those:

COVID 19

Working to get Okanogan County safely back to work. 

A global pandemic wasn’t in anyone’s plans for 2020.  But here it is along with all of the struggles that it brings.

Job losses. School closures. Residents with health issues that make them highly vulnerable.

Our rural county already faces challenges and will be dealing with economic fallout from this in the coming months and years. Our citizens need someone with solid experience in representing them, fighting for them, and working for them within the system we have. or working to improve the system.

I continue to communicate directly with the Governor’s office to work with County Health Officials and businesses to provide for the reopening our economy in a logical and safe manner, arguing that cooperation and assistance will result in better outcomes than enforcement.  As a result, the Governor’s office revised their variance process to make it possible to open small businesses in Okanogan County.

Water

Working to ensure water remains available for use for our county’s residents for our economy, our agriculture, and our homes.

The age old adage, “Whiskey is for Drinkin’ and Water is for Fightin’” holds as true in Okanogan County as anywhere else.  I am active in several areas of this controversial subject, with over two decades of experience in dealing with water management issues for cities, farms, and industry.

Fire Abatement

Working with all agencies and involved parties to minimize fire danger and keep our residents, properties, and forest lands safe. 

I advocate for development that includes fire safety and abatement in their standards. Fire is an ever present threat to Okanogan County.  Each summer we must carefully evaluate fire conditions and plan accordingly. Putting in place programs and measures to decrease fire danger and be prepared for the season is critical to the safety and welfare of the county’s citizens and economy.

Access to Public Lands

Working to keep public lands accessible to all.

Okanogan County is made up of over 80% public lands.  Some see this as a detriment, some see it as a valuable asset.  I only see it as a detriment if we are not fully engaged with the managers of these lands to ensure that they are, in fact, managed in favor of the public interest.   Since the public includes everyone, the task is huge, therefore, active and respectful engagement with all interests is absolutely necessary.  Ultimately, we need access to what belongs to us but we also need to ensure that the value of these places is not compromised by disrespectful use.

I have actively opposed quiet title action that seeks to remove a primitive road long used by residents and recreationists to access lands owned by the public.

I have advocated for and supported a rural/primitive road study and planning effort that seeks to establish a rural road system that serves to keep those roads open to access various public lands to signal the intent of local, state and federal governments to maintain a system of rural and primitive roads.

Forest Health

Working to keep our forests strong and healthy for a variety of uses for all our residents for the long haul.

Working with a diverse group of interests, I serve on the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative to improve the health of our forests and the economy that depends on these forests.  This work is the most promising in reaching agreement on projects that can avoid costly appeals through consensus building.