Position Paper: Good Jobs Matter

Good jobs matter.

Lane County is a great place to live.  From coast to Cascades, recreational activities to research facilities, great learning institutions to a spirit of entrepreneurship, we’ve got it all. Start-ups abound, many grown like Nike and others flourishing like Ninkasi.  Lane County exudes the Oregon pioneering spirit with residents ready, willing, and able to work.

A primary job of county commissioners is creating a business climate that attracts the right kind of long-term investment in our economy and people. Good schools, excellent social services and health care, safe and secure communities and quality affordable housing are all key components.  As a county commissioner, I will work tirelessly to bring good jobs to Springfield.

What makes a job a “good" job?

1.  Good jobs offer sick leave, health insurance, fair scheduling, retirement benefits and family wages. The median income in Springfield is $20,000/year which even for the most frugal families isn’t enough to get by on.

2.  Good jobs offer stability and upward mobility.  They offer a sense of meaning, purpose, and hope for the future.

3.  Good jobs ​are not bad for​ the environment.

Until good jobs are at the core of economic development, we make no real social or economic progress for ourselves, our children, or our grandchildren.

One indicator of the quality of county government is how it treats its own workers.  Ours has​ failed​ miserably.  Morale among dedicated county workers has been low.  They were literally forced to strike at great expense to them and interruption of many vital county services until commissioners, who had given themselves fat pay and benefit increases, finally came to the negotiating table.  The strike insures poor worker morale moving forward.  
We are clearly being misled by Commissioner Leiken about our taxpayer money.  Articles and letters in the Register Guard have unearthed large amounts not being spent, committed or designated but stashed in different accounts.  I expect we will learn more in the months to come, but one thing is for sure:  a complete lack of transparency to the very people whose money it is.  

Commissioners must treat county workers better.  These workers do the real work of the county.  Commissioners must ensure community benefits in all construction and outsourced contracts.  Local businesses should get priority for the work.  Local people should get priority for the jobs.  And they should be good jobs!

Opportunities abound to grow our economy the right way.  I will point many examples out in my campaign.  Bottom-line: Springfield and Lane County residents should be doing better.

I am the only candidate for County Commissioner from Springfield who has successful business experience.  Ag business, retail, and recently a ​renewable energy company which originated and secured financing for projects totaling over $100M on the west coast​.  I have led coalitions attracting​ millions in private foundation and public investment dollars specifically into Lane County—all of which created GOOD JOBS!

And I will make sure Springfield gets it’s fair share.

We will discuss the specifics of good job creation by moving to a renewable energy infrastructure.  Money is not the issue.  The synergy of robust economic development and clean energy is not the issue.  The issue is a lack of courage to make needed changes combined with who owns the current commissioner from Springfield.  In other words, career politicians. 

Investment currently moves into the renewable energy space, for example, at historic levels.  Jobs in solar in America far exceed jobs in oil, natural gas and coal combined.  We can join over 100 cities across 33 states who have already pledged to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045 with specific job-creating benchmarks along the way.

We need more industrial use land and improved infrastructure to support everything from incubators to expanding local business to large companies.  We need more affordable housing.  I have experience collaborating with land use experts to expand  infrastructure investment to support more housing, more creative ways to move to an end of homelessness, and move forward to  renewable energy manufacturing, not backwards with an unhealthy over-dependence on resource extraction.  My experience also tells me the role of environmental protection and restoration is critical, and that the county must better partner with advocacy groups and land trusts.

We’ve got a great location and environment, good people and good training.  Now we need to move this economy forward with good jobs.

To get there we need a board of commissioners negotiating for us, not for their donor interests.  I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and fighting for good jobs, for the little guy, and for the right kind of robust community and economic development for Springfield and the county.

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