While I was flipping through the channels before the Blazer game on Wednesday, I noticed something quite peculiar during a commercial break. It was an image of me in a negative “attack” campaign advertisement paid for by my opponent. It’s the political season and these things are expected, but I’ve always believed our democratic elections were not designed for political grandstanding, but rather to outline a future vision for our community.
In his attack ad, my opponent not only tells a deliberate distortion of the truth about a county transportation project, but accuses me of blatantly breaking the law. Here are the facts…
During the summer of 2012, the county was working with all of our local partners, including small businesses and home builders, to identify key infrastructure investments needed to boost the stagnant housing market suffering from the recent recession. One of the key areas under the microscope was North Bethany. County staff had raised concerns over the sufficiency of transportation options in the area and we were advised that the best course of action was to develop a new road to support the growing community.
The county entered into an inter-governmental agreement with the North Bethany County Service District, an agency of Washington County, to loan itself $2.3 million to build the new road using public contractors. There was never a transfer of dollars from the county’s pocketbook to the developers. In fact, a neighboring development made a substantial contribution to the project, saving taxpayer money. Additionally, the county will generate new revenues from taxes paid by the developments in North Bethany.
I believe that public-private partnerships are a vital tool as we search for solutions to expensive infrastructure investments, such as transportation. I am proud of the role that I played in saving taxpayer money, while also fulfilling the responsibility of the county to manage our roads.
For this election, I am running on a platform of our accomplishments as a community. I refuse to allow my re-election campaign to fall into baseless and blatant lies in order to win. The residents of the county deserve a substantive conversation on the issues facing our community, not generic attacks and politicking.
The truth is, my opponent largely agrees with me on the majority of issues impacting our county. We both recognize the need for investments in our transportation system, which is why I have led the county in making improvements to county roads and working with our cities, regional and state governments to find solutions to growing traffic congestion. We both also agree that we must make significant investments in our future by investing in our education system, which is why I led the county in dedicating $10 million Gain Share dollars to local school districts. Lastly, we agree that Washington County is the economic engine of the state. Under my watch, the county has emerged from the recession stronger than ever, cutting the unemployment rate nearly in half from 10 percent in 2010 to 5.8 percent today.
Growing up, my father always told me “if you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives, so do good anyways.” This saying has become a central tenant of who I am today and I am proud of it. Regardless of whatever attacks my opposition has in store for me, I am committed to running a positive campaign over the next several weeks and hope the voters base their decision on the vision of each candidate and their own vision for our community, rather than baseless attacks.