Five Candidates Vie for One County Commission Seat

Five Candidates Vie for One County Commission Seat

Published in the Nisqually Valley News on July 22, 2016. Read what they wrote about Jim below the full article is linked here.  

Five Candidates Vie for One County Commission Seat

By Graham Perednia [email protected] | Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 4:27 pm

The contested elections on this ballot for voters in Yelm and Rainier areas are Legislative District 2 Senator and Representative position 2. At the county level, the contested election is for County Commissioner District 1 (last week the Nisqually Valley News profiled the legislative races).   

On the county side of the election, two of the biggest issues are the Mazama pocket gopher as it impacts development, and the proposed septic system tax. Balancing the budget and spurring economic growth are also focus of many candidates.

Ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election must be postmarked by Aug. 2 or be dropped in one of the 26 ballot drop off boxes in the county by 8 p.m. Aug. 2.

County Commissioner District 1...

...Jim Cooper, D-Olympia

Jim Cooper, 41, said he is running for county commissioner because he wants to make sure Thurston County is a place where people can raise a family.

“I look to my 4-year-old daughter Maggie for inspiration,” he said. “Working to make Thurston County a better place to live for Maggie, her friends and the generations to follow her, is how I will approach the job. We must consider the long-term in all we do.”

During his first term in office, Cooper said he wants to create opportunities for everyone to thrive in the county. He said he wants to recruit living wage jobs in Thurston County and provide strong social services to help those who are struggling.

“In my work at United Way we studied the financial struggles families face in the Pacific Northwest, and found across the region more than one-third of our community members are struggling to get by,” Cooper said. “In some Thurston County communities that number rises to 40 or 50 percent of our neighbors who are literally one broken down car or appliance away from not being able to feed their families or possibly losing their home.”

Cooper said he wants to make sure everyone interacting with the county government has the same high level of customer service.

“Regardless of where you access county government, whether a restaurant inspection, interacting with the justice system or filing a document for recording, you should have the same high-level customer service experience,” he said. “I will work to increase our county customer service so it is easier to navigate and more accessible to everyone.”

Cooper said the plan for the pocket gopher should be balanced between conservation and growth.

“The final plan should provide maximum predictability for landowners. By having the county negotiate the details of habitat conservation and mitigation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, landowners will save money and decrease the burden they face if they were to negotiate individually with the federal government,” he said. “It is important the county work with affected property owners to find creative solutions that will protect the environment and provide reasonable development opportunities.”

Cooper also supports the proposed septic system tax. He said it is a way to protect the environment.

“The proposed update to the county OSS management plan is based on sound science and best practices. The goals set are strong, and coupled with the new fee schedule, attainable. In fact, the new plan will reduce the costs of operating and licensing a septic system for the vast majority of property owners in the county over time,” he said. “Because it is a fee, the money must be used to implement the OSS management plan and cannot be used to balance the general fund budget. With the proper citizen and commissioner oversight the new plan is a win-win for the environment and people of Thurston County.”

Cooper has served on the Olympia City Council for four and a half years. He has also been a member of or participated in numerous policy, political and community organizations, and is an Army veteran.

He and his wife of 15 years have lived all over the nation, but moved back to Thurston County in 2004."...Read the rest of the article at http://www.yelmonline.com/news/article_d97db62e-5063-11e6-9dbf-ebce1abeff72.html