Pacific County Commissioner Lisa Ayers is ready to continue in the position she started in three years ago, and has announced her campaign for re-election.
Ayers, who represents District 3, said she initially decided to run for the position because she felt there was a need for “stronger representation” in the district.
“I felt that I would be able to provide that,” she said, adding she enjoys being able to provide “positive change” and wants to continue doing so. “There are lots of rewards and lots of challenges, but the rewards balance out the challenges.”
Candidates do not file with the county auditor until the second week in May for the early August election, but Ayers said she believes there is another candidate interested in campaigning against her for the position.
As a commissioner, Ayers said she has had many difficult decisions to make that taught her different lessons. Most recently, she said working to make sure Initiative 502 worked for Pacific County was an interesting experience in making a balanced decision that satisfied voters with many differing opinions. The commissioners recently decided to dissolve an emergency moratorium they had placed on marijuana processing and retail facilities.
“Whether I agree with the use of marijuana or not is not relevant because the majority of Pacific County voted for it and I represent them,” she said, adding her biggest concern was to make sure concerned citizens have input as to where businesses are placed. The new ordinance allows them within certain zoned areas in the county and all require a conditional use permit, so that the public has input on the process.
“The moratorium was so we would have time to do our planning,” she said, adding while the county has applications for retail and for production, there hasn’t been anything implemented yet.
Another issue was helping the Port of Chinook and Port of Illwaco accomplish the dredging she said was an issue of contention, but “very needed.”
“They were gonna lose a lot of jobs if it didn’t get done, because there was no way for transportation to come in and out,” she said.
Formerly Pacific County’s fiscal analyst, Ayers said her main focus is cost-effective government, and says she has been able to put that into play during an evaluation and refinancing of county debt, which saved the county more than $400,000 in interest charges. One of her other priorities is the maintenance of county roads.
“County roads are a huge lifeline for businesses,” she said, adding the county has been able to accomplish a lot due to a “great county road crew,” including cleaning up a few big landslides.
Other priorities for Ayres include support of public safety and “responsible development,” or development within Pacific County that is not a financial or environmental burden on the county. She also would like to continue the county’s work with its Drug Task Force, which has “done a great job of getting some of the drugs off the street.”