Clallam County Commissioner,
Focus. Vision. Partnerships. Leadership.
I’ve established a record of building creative and effective partnerships to solve problems – a sign of my fair-mindedness and an endorsement of my leadership.
The next four years will require focus to maintain a healthy county budget, vision to support a vibrant county economy, new partnerships to solve vexing issues, and engaging leadership that brings others on board to help.
It’s an honor to serve as your County Commissioner and I ask for your vote this November.
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My Positions on Key Issues
We need to build and sustain creative new partnerships in order to address our most vexing challenges.
Supporting affordable housing and reducing homelessness. Rebuilding our local economy and attracting sustainable new businesses. Building a community resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.
My leadership is helping to build these partnerships for the future. Clallam County is working with non-profit service providers to better define “success” in addressing homelessness and we are working collaboratively to re-imagine how we deploy state dollars in this arena. I have encouraged and facilitated increased partnership between our local and regional economic development organizations to ensure they are working together rather than simply side-by-side.
I have re-energized Clallam County government’s commitment to addressing climate change, both working with the other Commissioners to engage citizens to help us understand the local-level policies most important to our community and working with local and state partners to ensure we are prepared for the future by pursuing new infrastructure like the Dungeness Off-Channel Reservoir.
The opioid epidemic has hit Clallam County particularly hard.
A recent study published by the Washington Post indicated that from 2006-2012, Clallam County had the highest per-capita rate of opioid prescriptions in Washington State and among the highest in the nation. This history led directly to the high rates of Clallam County citizens struggling with opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths we now see.
Of course, local policy-makers have been working hard to reduce the supply of prescription opioids and street heroin. The intentional and collective efforts of local and regional leaders has resulted in a 50% reduction in opioid prescription rates in our county; on the enforcement side, Clallam County is the lead agency supporting OPNET which is our regional drug task force focused on identifying and arresting those who transport large amounts of heroin to our county for sale on the street.
While we are making real gains on the “supply” end, the reality is that many of our friends and neighbors are struggling with opioid addiction – it is the ongoing legacy of this epidemic. There is a “gold standard” in treatment for this addiction, usually referred to as MAT, and much effort has gone into building the specialized resources necessary to meet the needs of those who wish to kick their addiction.
The proposed Jamestown MAT facility will be a key piece of this puzzle and is being welcomed by healthcare and law enforcement partners in our region. There are already a variety of other MAT programs in operation in Sequim and Port Angeles, but they aren’t nearly enough to meet the need. Furthermore, most aren’t able to offer the broad array of supportive and wraparound services being planned for this facility.
The faces of those struggling to beat an addiction to opioids look very much like the faces of our friends, neighbors, parents and teenage children – because that is who they are. No community is immune from the impacts of the opioid epidemic and I join with those who are working hard to make sure that our community is supportive of those who are struggling every day to get their lives back.
The Jamestown Tribe is the regional partner who is best-positioned to operate this type of facility in Sequim, and I am grateful they are taking the public relations risk of doing so. If you are concerned about this facility or have questions, I encourage you to get the facts.
If you would like to speak with me personally, please email me by using the contact form below.
Planning for emergencies is an ongoing effort, and I am proud to have elevated the Commissioners’ attention regarding this important work.
Under my leadership, the Commissioners have begun regular FEMA training to ensure we’re prepared to provide appropriate leadership in a crisis. We are working closely with the Sheriff and other partners to relocate our Emergency Operation Center to a seismically sound location. We are even reviewing County Ordinance addressing fire danger as the threat of wildfire increases in drought years like this one.
Ensuring we are doing all that we can to be prepared, and to prepare county citizens, for events ranging from the Cascadia earthquake to wildfire to man-made disasters like oil spills is one of my most challenging – and most important – jobs.
We believe strongly in the vital nature of local oversight, and the struggle to define and defend our role has required creativity and perseverance.
As Washington State moves to fully integrate physical and behavioral health care, I have been working closely with Commissioners from Jefferson and Kitsap Counties to ensure that local officials retain a role in providing oversight and guidance of our behavioral health care system as we navigate health care transformation.
This is particularly important in Clallam County where many of our service providers are struggling to develop contracts and create the new reporting and billing protocols to work with three new managed care companies.
This effort is among my top priorities and I will continue to work with fellow Commissioners, the Health Care Authority, the Olympic Community of Health and our many providers to do all I can to help set up our county for success.
I have provided the key leadership necessary to transform our County’s Public Records program.
Within months of my taking office, the Commissioners were faced with addressing a serious financial liability due to poor management of public records. I pulled a team together to plan a new approach and worked with the other Commissioners to identify and allocate the funds necessary for its implementation.
I am proud to say that Clallam County now boasts a Public Records Office that provides exceptional customer service in response to the thousands of requests we get each year while greatly reducing our exposure to risk and liability. Our team even trains other counties across the state in the best practices we’ve developed!
When I took office, morale among county employees was at a low point. I was pointedly asked, “What are you going to do about it?”
I take this question seriously. I value our county workforce and see daily the benefits we all enjoy as a result of their professional and thoughtful efforts.
First and foremost, I have engendered a style of leadership that prioritizes listening and mutual respect, the impact of which is underscored by the honor of being elected Chair of the Board by my fellow Commissioners for each of the last three years.
As an organization we are emphasizing planning rather than simply reacting, working to ensure that vital institutional knowledge is not lost as long-time staff retire and building a thoughtful capital planning process across departments.
I led the effort to change representation to assist the county with contract negotiations with the unions representing county employees, resulting in the most positive round of bargaining the county has experienced in years while saving several hundred thousand dollars in expenses compared to previous years.
The internal functioning of the courthouse has required much more focus and attention than I ever anticipated and I am thrilled to be seeing such positive results.
I provide key leadership in developing a meaningful dialogue about climate change in Clallam County as well as pursuing significant climate change mitigation projects.
I am working with others to find ways to reduce the county’s carbon footprint through improved efficiencies and a focus on reducing the solid waste stream.
I am excited to continue to be the voice ensuring that Clallam County is a part of the solution around local climate change policy, providing creative leadership and programming that is already having a positive impact. I would appreciate your vote so that together we can maintain focus on this vital policy arena.
Longer Reads for a Closer Look
I am providing key leadership in developing a meaningful dialogue about climate change in Clallam County as well as pursuing significant climate change mitigation projects including the Dungeness Off-Channel Reservoir. I am working with others to find ways to reduce the county’s carbon footprint through improved efficiencies and a focus on reducing the solid waste stream…
This fact sheet is an attempt to address the concerns being raised in our community, and in some cases being promulgated by the political action effort known as “Save our Sequim”, about Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction, and its proposed location in Sequim…
Questions or Comments?
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