Mary J. Repar,
Commissioner, District #2
Our county faces some rough times, now and in the future. How we got here should be a lesson learned and this lesson should provide impetus for changing the way business is conducted. Our future should be based on accountability and transparency in our government.
We should look at these challenges as opportunities to make our county a better place to live and work, for all of us.
As your District #2 commissioner, I want to work on the following issues:
- Energy independence and conservation: Make our homes and businesses energy independent by working to get grants and loans for upgrades and renovations to existing buildings and homes. Solar energy and innovative rooftop wind turbines are just a start. Fuel cells for homes and businesses are now a reality and should be investigated. The Sixth Northwest Conservation and Electric Power Plan states, “…substantial amounts of conservation to be cheaper and more sustainable than most other types of generation… The plan finds enough conservation to be available and cost-effective to meet 85 percent of the region’s load growth for the next 20 years.”
- Utilities: Undergrounding our utility poles so that we don’t have to worry as much about storm outages, and to provide a safer working environment for our utility workers. Our utility poles are getting taller and there are more and more lines on them. There is a limit to their size and weight. Also, the aesthetics of our locales are being impacted and this impacts our quality of life, and it impacts tourism, one of our main economies. We can work with other government entities to achieve this benefit for our community.
- Small Business Incubators: Work on getting our small businesses to be the incubators of our work force. It is small businesses that will make our community stronger and keep it thriving. If we depend on one or two big employers, then we will be subject to their ups and downs—and in a small community those ups and downs can be devastating to both our citizens’ and our county’s welfare.
- Affordable High Speed Internet: If we want to have businesses in rural areas that don’t have the populace to support these businesses, then we will have to help our small business people with affordable high speed Internet services that will open up their economic horizons and bring their products and services to the attention of a wider audience.
- NEON—the National Ecological Observation Network, which has been approved, but still does not have adequate funding, for the USFS portion of the Wind River Nursery, can be an incubator for high paying local jobs. I see this program as a way to keep and bring our children home to Skamania County. This project will provide family wage jobs for our community. I want to make sure that it is our citizens who get these jobs.
- Education: Work with our school district to provide sites and opportunities for ongoing adult education, night school classes, and other opportunities for adult learning and re-training.
- Carbon Sequestration: Carbon sequestration can help us earn money through cap and trade. Instead of fighting over the Gifford Pinchot, we can make it work for us and help our environment at the same time. Why spend our time and energy re-fighting the same old battles? We can pool our resources to fight for a better future for us and our children.
- Federal Dollars: Skamania County produces fresh, clean water and lots of nice, clean oxygen for our fellow humans, and I believe we should be rewarded for keeping our county in forests and waterways instead of developing it. To that end, the government should pay us for our resources. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act needs to be re-tooled into the Secure Resources Act.
As your District #2 commissioner, I will make sure that my constituents are kept in the loop on decisions that affect our lives and livelihoods. There is no worse feeling than to be blindsided by events about which one knew nothing or was not forewarned. We have to look to the future instead of dwelling on the past. I want to work for the people of District #2 and Skamania County and I look forward to hearing about your issues and concerns. Together, we can achieve our common goals by pooling our resources and working toward a better future.