Announcement statement by Lincoln County Commissioner Doug Hunt, who is seeking a full four year term
Today I am formally announcing my decision to run for Lincoln County Commissioner Position #1 in the May 2014 election.
I have chosen this location in Toledo to make this announcement for several reasons. My wife, Patsy, and I made the decision to move here in October 1988 to raise our family and become involved in the community. Our third child was born in this county and all three of our children are graduates of Toledo High School and went on to attend higher education.
We are in an area of the Port of Toledo, one of several ports in the county and an important source of jobs, commerce and recreation in our great outdoors. As a county commissioner I have worked hard to represent all areas of the county. By announcing by candidacy here in Toledo where I live I am affirming my commitment to effectively represent all citizens of all areas of Lincoln County.
Today I also realize a personal goal by running for election to Lincoln County commissioner. I believe each individual has an obligation to give back to their community and it is through this process of community involvement and working together we make our communities better for all to enjoy, grow and thrive.
During my 39 years as a banker, the last 25 years in Lincoln county, I was fortunate to be able to participate in a broad variety of community services, such as chambers of commerce, numerous community support activities, and service club memberships. I was able to serve for 9 years on the school board where I realized the true value of public service as well as the tremendous personal satisfaction that comes from such experience. During that time I determined that serving as a county commissioner would allow me to contribute to the betterment of our county and its communities and also to serve our county citizens.
Accordingly, some 6 or 7 years ago, I committed myself to becoming more involved in county government by being appointed to several county committees and boards including the county budget committee, allowing me to build public service credentials and to increase my qualifications to become a County Commissioner.
Prior to becoming a commissioner I was a regional bank manager in the county where I was responsible for business locations in all 7 incorporated cities with the single exception of Depoe Bay, providing me with personal experience and valuable knowledge of community business climates and community issues throughout the entire county.
As county commissioner I bring my 39 years of experience as a banker and an understanding of business, budgeting and fiscal management to county government. I believe my experience has resulted in improved financial accountability and responsibility with an approach of running the county more like a business.
In my position as county commissioner, I currently serve as Vice Chair of Cascades West Area Commission on Transportation (CWACT), on the Executive Committee of the Regional Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the Solid Waste Consortium board, and as an active board member of the Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County, Small Business Development Center, Central Oregon Coast Association (COCA) and as a member of the Lincoln City, Waldport, Toledo and Newport Chambers of Commerce.
Among the accomplishments of which I am most proud are the following:
* Testimony before the Oregon Transportation Commission and their approval of an additional $142 million in funding to complete Highway 20 improvements. Highway 20 is a vital economic lifeline to our county and the improvements will save lives, and ultimately result in job creation.
* My representation on the committee that successfully sought the awarding of the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) to Newport. This natural energy research center has the potential to create numerous jobs, and builds on the critical mass of research commerce that is now our 3rd largest economic sector in our county.
* As Vice Chair of the CWACT, I oversaw submission to the OTC of road improvement applications totaling over $10 million, for projects in Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, and Waldport. These projects make our roads safer, improve transportation in our county and will add jobs adding to our economic recovery.
In the time I have served as County Commissioner, I have been able to broaden countywide citizen involvement and representation in our county government. I appointed Linda Roy, a Lincoln City businesswoman, to serve on the county budget committee and also appointed Kelly Foley and Zach Dahl, both Toledo residents, to serve on the county’s non-profit social allocation committee.
Finally, as more evidence of my commitment to represent all areas of the county, I have attended some 50 to 60 community events and meetings. These meeting have included but not been limited non-profit fundraising activities, Chambers of Commerce, and Rotary in Toledo¸ Waldport and Lincoln City. My participation in these activities has resulted in me meeting, discussing and adding to my understanding of the varied issues and challenges facing these areas of our county.
As for the future, I see the challenges in managing the county budget in order to sustain services in a depressed economy and in an era of diminishing federal and state dollars of support. With my financial background and my 10 years of prior public service experience in dealing with large budgets, I believe I am best qualified to manage the county budget to minimize reductions in services and employees, and to build reserves to provide a financial cushion to buffer future reductions in federal and state funds and in future economic contractions.
Services to our seniors and veterans are critical county services. I have supported additional funding of senior services and support the reorganization and coordination of health services which will be more cost effective to deliver and will focus on wellness reducing future health care costs. Through an upgrading of staff and the new “Vets serving Vets” program, a service through RSVP, we are improving our county services to those who have served our country to preserve our freedoms.
Our county’s infrastructure of roads is another challenge. We currently are draining budget reserve funds to maintain the 330 miles of county roads. We need to look for creative and collaborative ways to improve funding, use improved technology to extend the life of our roads and finally work with our state and federal partners in an effort to gain more support. We also need to be successful in obtaining funding for continued maintenance and improvements in ODOT projects for Highways 20 and 101.
With that thought in mind, I have begun discussions at the CWACT to develop comprehensive plans to address the long range needs to replace the Yaquina Bay bridge and the on-going maintenance issues of areas of Highway 101, particularly the Beverly Beach slide area. These issues are complex and solutions not only will take decades to be achieved, but will be expensive. The process has begun, but we need to continue to address these issues now, as the longer we wait the more expensive solutions will be.
Job retention and creation are critical to our county. As a member of the Economic Development Alliance board I have led a sharper focus on core economic development activities and support additional funding for economic development projects. The Small Business Development Centers are important resources for businesses and jobs. We also need to find ways to blend tourism with business development to promote economic growth and to more effectively create and retain jobs in our county.
The challenges are many and complex, and I have mentioned only some of the ones I believe are the most critical to the county operation and to our county’s citizens. I believe my 39 years experience in finance and as a businessman, my more than 10 years experience in public service on the county school board and as a county commissioner, my demonstrated leadership in both public and community service combined with my active involvement in all areas of our county make me uniquely qualified to work to improve our county services and to most effectively represent the great citizens of Lincoln County.