To preserve our lifestyle while providing our children the opportunity to stay and thrive here we must change our approach to economic growth to make us a wealthier, productive, and attractive place to live and do business.
I understand the current focus on leveraging our large open space availability in rural Lewis County to attract warehouse and big box anchor store development along the I-5 corridor is a familiar strategy for creating employment. We must also realize that 2/3 of our county is rural. Economic development in our rural communities does not have to be solely dependent on the I-5 corridor.
What is to be done? The outdated approach of “buying” economic development at the expense of taxpayers isn’t the answer. We need to redirect our economic development efforts away from individual projects into creating an environment that makes us attractive to employers.
We need to be safe, clean, responsive, and quick to handle bureaucratic requirements. Zoning, permitting, housing, infrastructure, high-speed internet, technical training, and public safety. If we improve each of these, we will gain employers and see our family incomes increase. With such improvements, we will not only see economic growth, we will see more of our children and grandchildren staying in Lewis County.
We can succeed. My service on the Onalaska Alliance, Discover Lewis County, the Lodging Tax Advisory Board, Citizens Budget Committee, and recent work with the Port of Chehalis promoting local agriculture has prepared me to lead the fight for a more prosperous Lewis County.
Learn more at www.HarryOforLewisCounty.com