1) Why did you decide to run for a position on the Port of Hood River board?
I am running because I want to ensure that kids like mine, growing up in Hood River County, have meaningful local career opportunities when they grow up.
The Port is responsible for the infrastructure that our local agricultural, technology, and recreation industries depend on today, and for fostering the industries of tomorrow. There are significant challenges; our bridge is old, port-owned buildings need updating, and housing is too expensive for much our workforce to afford.
As a parent, a veteran, and a small business owner, I am prepared and motivated to navigate these challenges as a Port Commissioner if elected.
2) What is your background/profession, and where do you live?
We live in Hood River, between the Heights, Westside and downtown. Our five year old is in kindergarten at May Street Elementary.
Before returning to Oregon to raise our kids, I oversaw infrastructure project policy at the Department of Defense. These projects leveraged federal funding as well as public-private-partnership dollars. This experience managing and building federal, state, and private partnerships uniquely qualifies me to help address bridge replacement and other challenges the port must navigate.
I now co-own two small local businesses, one building workforce housing in rural Oregon communities, the other is a small utility developing rural broadband infrastructure.
3) What will your top priorities be if voters select you to serve on the board?
A. My first priority is the strength and safety of the Hood River bridge. The downgrade of our bridge’s capacity should alarm everyone. It connects us to our markets, business partners, and neighbors. We cannot allow it to degrade.
B. I will advocate for attainable workforce housing. Hood River teachers, agricultural workers, and small business employees are being priced out. If our workforce can’t afford living here, our economy will never reach its full potential.
C. The port’s waterfront spaces could serve both recreational and business needs better. As a Commissioner, I’ll ensure both are enhanced in future development plans.
4) What changes do you think the district needs to make?
A. We must commit to a viable bridge replacement plan within 24 months. Whether public or private funding is used, we must act swiftly to ensure our bridge serves our economy and community safely and effectively.
B. Funding the new bridge will mean toll revenue, currently half of the port’s budget, will no longer available for economic development programs. To close the budget gap, the Port has to exercise greater fiscal discipline and grow revenue by developing its vacant land and better managing existing real estate assets. For more information about me and my priorities for the port, visit www.votelitwer.com