Friday, May 27, 2022

A new County Commissioner for new perspectives and leadership

by Jeff Foster Candidate For Grant County Commissioner
| October 19, 2018 3:00 AM

Grant County has been good to me. I am in a position to give back by utilizing the skills and experiences I have gained in my 42-plus-year career. Grant County needs a dedicated representative to act for the people tackling the complex issues that we face today. I am that person. Several constituents have asked me to run for this office. I have reached out to many people, including elected officials, county employees and many others that deal with Grant County on a routine basis. I heard the message that our district is in need of a commissioner that will be present and responsive. I’ve learned that it is time for change. The incumbent has held the position for 12 years. The position should not be a career. It is time for the issues to be looked at from a different perspective by someone with new energy.

Over the course of my 21 years in banking and 21 years in the real estate business, I’ve served a diverse group of clients throughout Grant County and the Columbia Basin – from families with small businesses to large regional and international companies. The clients I have had the pleasure of serving and learning from include those in the agriculture, both in production and processing; manufacturing; service; retail, wholesale and the automotive industry. My responsibilities included budgets, financial statements business plans and providing financial services for clients trading with companies in the Pacific Rim. On the real estate side, I have assisted families and businesses with the sale and purchase of various types of properties and developing successful residential and commercial projects. In 2016, I merged my company, Advantage Real Estate, with Windermere, forming Windermere Property Management where I serve as the Designated Broker and General Manager.

I serve on the Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District Board. When I was elected Chairman in my first year (a position I’ve held for six years), MLIRD was experiencing some unique challenges, one of which was that the district’s dam was in need of immediate replacement. I managed the reconstruction of the dam. This afforded me the opportunity to get firsthand experience working with many government agencies and officials. We worked together to obtain funding for the project and coordinate the reconstruction of the dam. All of this was at a time when Olympia could not agree on a budget that included funding for capital improvements. I worked closely with engineers, contractors and regulators to ensure that our plan would be carried to a successful completion. The MLIRD has continued to be diligent in its duties to maintain Moses Lake for irrigation and recreation. The dredging, weed control and water quality efforts require almost constant interaction with many local, state and federal agencies. In the past three to five months, we saw the impact of unfavorable conditions dealt to us by Mother Nature and influences beyond our control. We have been working with many agencies and experts for input on the cause and effect as well as solutions for the increase in levels of algae.

I have served many volunteer organizations: United Way, Kiwanis, Ducks Unlimited, Chamber Response Team, and Youth Partnership Task Force. I have held offices in each of these organizations as well as the boards of: The Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch as Chairman, Grant County Economic Development Council as Treasurer and Moses Lake/Othello Association of Realtors as three-time President and Realtor of the Year. I served 13-plus years on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service(a 25,000-plus-member statewide cooperative real estate broker organization with over 100 employees and budgets exceeding $20 million) where I served on the Executive Board and was elected Board Chairman.

I have many goals for my time as a commissioner. I will work to be the guiding force in allowing each citizen, individual or corporate, to succeed. I will work to create a culture of “How can Grant County help you?” My goal is to unify our county government’s employees under an attitude of service, ambition and pride in what we, as Grant County, have to offer. It appears to me that those “on the front line” are tied up in rules and regulations that often seem to be written for jurisdictions far west of here. We will work together to address state law in the most effective manner. We will ask the questions that need answers, and we will be diligent in developing solutions to the issues we discover. While our state’s government attempts to put a chokehold on industriousness and community, Grant County remains a place where enterprising ideas and strong values guide us. We need to do what makes sense for Grant County and its citizens. I will strive to help the employees of the county understand those gifts and aim to facilitate good growth in creative ways.

Our law and justice system is overburdened. Crimes are committed at far too great a rate. Our sheriff has taken great strides to foster a safe community but he needs more help.  The system isn’t capable of handling all of the criminal and civil issues. Should you have a civil issue today, it may take more than 12 months to get a court date. Law enforcement and our justice system require the support of a commissioner who understands that simply increasing the number of deputies will not curb the crime. I will be sure that the entire law enforcement system has the resources needed to maintain the safety and rights of our citizens.

I will also create programs needed to be proactive on the infrastructure needs in our county. Focus on roads, while very important, is not enough. If we don’t do something to preserve and provide water sources, we will struggle to meet growth demands. Grant County should be looking at ways to ensure an adequate water supply. At the same time, we must be working on new, innovative ways to deal with wastewater projects. Grant County has much potential if we can get our hands around what it takes to provide industry the means with which they can deal with wastewater. We should be aggressively pursuing solutions that, in turn, support new jobs and housing growth. With good growth come new jobs to give our kids opportunities. With good growth come increased tax revenues which will allow Grant County to provide improved services and infrastructure without raising tax rates.

Why choose me? It’s simple: skills and experience. As evidenced by the fact that I won the endorsement of the Grant County Republican Party, Grant County Homebuilders, Moses Lake/Othello Association of Realtors and Grant County Realtors Association, I am the most qualified candidate in the eyes of those who stay connected and active in our county. I am the only candidate with a 42-year career and life experiences that can be used to help Grant County handle the complex issues facing us today and in the future. I have seen firsthand how working with Grant County impacts the everyday business decisions of job providers. I know how to ask questions, research issues, and arrive at resolutions that will be in the best interest of all stakeholders. I have negotiated contracts with large companies, public agencies and unions. I have proven ability to make difficult decisions. I will be an active participant at meetings and am committed to be engaged. I am willing, able and committed to making a difference.