What Matters To You

Transportation & Infrastructure

It is far past the time for Clark County to address the transportation issues that exist for its residents. In the past, the Clark County Council has had the opportunity to support projects to replace the I-5 bridge and they continue to fail. There is no question that the condition of the bridge is vital to the well-being of this community and it is far beyond time to replace it. With each day that passes without a solution, our nearly half-million residents continue to suffer.  

We need to invest in the improvement of our transportation infrastructure by replacing the I-5 bridge and encouraging smart, sustainable, walk-able communities where those that live there can work, live and play. Thus, reducing the need for higher capacity roads. We also need to be ahead of technological advancement when planning our next generation of infrastructure i.e., autonomous vehicles, smart roads and rapid transit interfaces, telecommuting and virtual meetings.

The Discovery Corridor is a great plan a good place to start. Providing a place for research facilities and new technology developers will put Clark County ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition. We also need more projects in Clark County like the Vancouver waterfront.

Family-Wage Jobs

Clark County residents deserve access to career paths that set their families up for success. Despite decreasing rates of unemployment, our residents continue to suffer. The average renter in the county earns $15.53 an hour – a rate which requires them to work more than 50-hour weeks to afford rent on a studio apartment. Living-wage jobs do exist on this side of the river, and our council has the responsibility to cultivate training and growth opportunities to help us thrive here at home and support growing industries like healthcare and manufacturing.  Adding more low wage/high labor jobs to Clark county is not the answer. We need to recruit High-Tech/High Wage companies to move or build in Clark county and utilize the great labor force that is currently commuting to Portland for work. We also need to be supporting apprenticeships and union labor.

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Housing & Growth

We, the citizens of Clark County, have the opportunity to set the direction for development in our community. We can have our say and choose how Clark County is going to look in the next 100 years. Or, we can continue to allow those few special interests to guide the direction. I want trails and farmlands (not rails and smokestacks) in our rural areas. I want to see walk-able communities in our population dense areas. Where there will be a mix of affordable and accessible housing in the same communities as the posh penthouses and high rise apartment buildings. Where the people who live in those communities also work and play.

The cost of living increases we’ve experienced over the last several years have pushed our former neighbors into homelessness, as hundreds have found themselves unable to afford steep rent increases and moving expenses. Affordable housing will not be addressed by filling the rural areas of Clark County with $650,000 homes. The real solution to affordable housing is raising the wages of the people who live here. We do that by bringing in high tech companies into the discovery corridor and other “Dark Fiber” accessible areas.

Protecting Our Environment & Preserving Farmlands

This part of the planet is a true gem that should be cherished and preserved for generations to come. I will work to ensure that Clark County remains compliant with the State’s Growth Management Act, designed to protect our environment and guide responsible development in SW WA. As county Chair I will advocate for healthy forests, clean water, vibrant farms, and protected wildlife. I believe that by not voting to support the Conservation District, the Clark County Council has potentially lost a great asset for landowners and small farmers. To the detriment of the people of Clark County as a whole.

Budget Deficit

In the next biennial, the county is facing a nearly $8 million budget shortfall. Despite the deficit my opponent has voted again and again uphold the self-imposed ban on the legal retail sale of cannabis products in parts of the county, resulting in millions of dollars in lost tax revenue for Clark County. I look forward to working with the other council members to address issues such as the cannabis moratorium and to implement other policies and procedures aimed at strengthening the county’s finances. I also support Project based budgeting rather than the current system of incremental budgeting. This allows the Council to see our service levels provided and the cost to do so. That way the people of Clark County can determine if the service levels expected justify the revenue required to provide those services.

Clark County Jail Replacement

Our 34-year-old jail is no longer suitable to serve the population of Clark County. Many of those in the justice system are better assisted with mental health and substance abuse services – but without the capacity to properly screen individuals safely, our currently facility is already not sufficient. Looking to the future, it is apparent that a new facility will need to be planned and financed. I look forward to hearing from the stakeholders and the community about their vision for a new jail and establishing a plan to address this issue.

More importantly though, we need to be looking at more ways to divert those in our community to the proper services that will help them rather than incarceration. One an individual is in a cell, any opportunity of diverting them to mental health or substance abuse programs becomes substantially less likely. We could address a lot of the issues of overcrowding and the high cost of incarceration by ending the criminalization of poverty, homelessness, behavioral health and substance abuse and by giving people the chance at dignity and a road to social participation.

Mental Health Services

Part of our duty as a county municipality is to promote the health and well-being of our community members and maintaining adequate mental health services is a key component of that mission. The county has several vital programs in place and maintaining and expanding those services is important for all of us.

Concepts for economic development:

•Concentrate county focus and dollars on the Discovery corridor

•A concentration of urban development should occur where there are already existing levels of service

•From north of the COV to the 139th Street interchange, this area can handle a much greater concentration of population growth and multi-family development when looking at the I-5 and the “Discovery Corridor”

•Let the population growth buy into the county by spurring an economic boom in the area by having the concentration create local demand for service and staff locally created jobs

•Incentives such as Fiber Optics Cable and density bonus awards will be very targeted at what type of development we want to occur in the corridor

•Join into a multi-jurisdiction agreement to fund the corridor’s fiber optics installation; pushing as far as LaCenter if the desire is there

•WSU has a successful example of this type of project being done in the Wa. Gorge

•Fiber Optics can incentivize high tech to populate the job creation portion of the corridor, with hospital affiliated business, WSUV and partners, and high tech design being obvious contributors

•Take off the 6 story maximum for multi-family development if the development moves parking below ground, if a floor of business is added to the building an additional floor maybe added, two floors of business could equal two floor additional

•Let the sky line look like Bellevue high rises to shift the property value

•For the rural lands develop a task force that wants to promote rural CC as the gateway to Mt St Helens creating recreational, lodging and services for a promoted tourist industry, preserving the best of CC while creating jobs

Eric is highly supportive of our children and their education. I have been able to work with Eric several times in various activities were he has always been available to help us and help my students achieve their dreams. Eric truly cares about this county he cares about land-use and he wants to see our county grow in a responsible manner. He is a man of outstanding character and in this day and age character counts just as much as everything else.”
- Greg Saum, Teacher