In Island County, we have a shortage of housing at all income levels and it drives up the costs for families to live here. We can begin to address it by improving the county permitting process. When our permitting process is efficient and reliable, builders will be able to create more housing, ultimately driving costs down. I’ve worked on process improvements for permits within Island County so that homeowners get a quick response to their applications, and I’m eager to further support county staff in making more sustainable changes.

Having more housing is essential to improving our local economy. If people are able to live where they work, they can spend more time in their community, supporting local businesses and giving back to their home. But it’s hard to find a home. I personally know how challenging this can be having navigated the rental market and recently purchasing a home on the island. It was tough finding an affordable option that also kept me and Cody near our jobs and our families. I joined our Economic Development Council board of directors for these reasons – I care about supporting local businesses and residents in a prosperous and sustainable future, which includes housing opportunities for our local workforce.

However, when we’re increasing our housing supply, we must also preserve our open spaces and forests. The rural character of Island County must be protected! I will prioritize strategic zoning solutions in our populated areas where resources best serve community members, and balance conservation efforts to continue protecting our green spaces. For instance, we can reuse already-existing buildings and infrastructure as a means to get more housing on the market. Repurposing old buildings and improving them is a cost-effective way to increase our housing supply, while cutting down on resource use, waste, and carbon emissions to meet the demand. Reusing is just one of the ways we can build a more sustainable future, while also addressing another key issue in our community.