My idea of a well balanced and thoughtful county commission would include Bud Blake, John “Hutch” Hutchings and Kelsey Hulse. All three know the issues many of us county residents face when dealing with county regulations. All three are in the political center not answering to a particular party endorsement. All three will make Thurston County a place where rural living is respected.
We have three focus areas for our new commissioners.
Development: The time to get a permit and the costs for a permit should not approach those of the project itself.
Keep our county roads and infrastructure in good repair. Cooper may divert funds to develop county parks (as he said at the Thurston County caucus on May 1). Edwards might do the same for law enforcement.
Mental health. As a 40-year resident of Olympia/Thurston County, I have never seen our downtown homeless situation as disheartening as it is now. Cooper could have done more as a city councilmember but instead created a bond levy for parks. Edwards, as a retired Sheriff, might have a law enforcement approach to the mentally ill.
Hulse and Hutch want to balance developmental and environmental priorities. Both have backgrounds in mental health and homelessness. As commissioners, they will sit on the board of directors for the Thurston/Mason Behavioral Health Organization which provides triage and crisis response to the mentally ill. They will be great additions to that board.