I believe Columbia County is in need of family wage jobs, affordable housing, additional law enforcement, and infrastructure upgrades (to name a few), while at the same time protecting our natural resources.
This will not happen overnight. We need to build a "road map" looking out 3, 5, and 10 years into the future to start planning now. If we don't, then we will always be in a reactive versus a proactive mode.
Everyone! County and City (all cities) personnel; cooperating agencies; landowners; utilities; but most importantly, the citizens who call Columbia County home. You are the most important piece to the puzzle. Without your input then we would be making decisions in a vacuum, which is not going to have the best results.
Collaboration Communication Accountability
Collaboration: Getting the participants I mentioned above to the table to have an open, honest, and meaningful discussion about our County's future.
Communication: At the same time, we need to be letting the public know what we are doing, where we are going, and how we plan to get there. This should be done regardless since the path we are on is supported by your tax dollars.
Accountability: If we aren't living up to, or doing what we say then you, the citizens, hold us accountable. At the same time, we need to hold our own selves and our staff accountable to get the job done.
I have lived in Columbia County for 18 years. I am a veteran, volunteer, and have been a public servant my entire life. My current position is the Wildland Fire Supervisor with the Oregon Department of Forestry. During my time here I have forged great relationships with timber industry personnel, fire and emergency services, city employees, county employees, port personnel, and many citizens across the County.
In addition to my current position I have been very involved in my community:
Chair - Columbia City Planning Commission 2010 - present
Chair - Homeland Security Emergency Management Commission 2015 - present
Team Leader - Columbia City Hazard Mitigation Team 2009 - present
Vice Chair - Columbia River Fire & Rescue Board of Directors
2016 - present
Volunteer Firefighter - Columbia River Fire & Rescue 2003 - 2016
Member - St. Helens School District Budget Committee 2013 - 2018
As you can see, that's a lot! I believe that being a part of these many groups, in addition to my job, has given me a great background and experience in budgeting, policy, planning, personnel management, and working with others to achieve a common goal. These are all skills I believe it takes to be a well-qualified County Commissioner and leader to get us on the right path. Keep in mind that if I am elected, I plan to resign from my current job and these committees to focus full time on being your County Commissioner.
I am what you would call a "straight shooter." I believe that if someone asks me my thought or opinion I am going to tell them what I think, not what I think they want to hear. If I don't give them an honest answer our whole conversation is now based on a false narrative. That is not constructive for anyone. That being said, I do not have all the answers and have no problem deferring to expertise when trying to get facts to make a good decision. I have no problem asking the hard questions or holding people accountable. If you were to ask my fire crew they would say the same. In my 18 years as a fire manager I have never had a grievance filed against me. I am firm but fair. If we make a mistake I take the blame, if we do a good job my crew gets the credit. I am always accessible to my staff and the public when needed.
Speaking of accessibility, if you would like me to come speak at a civic group, grange meeting, townhall, etc., I am more than willing. Just email through the website here (click on the contact me button on top of page) and I will get back to you. Please keep in mind that since I do work a full-time job I won't answer during the day. Working on my campaign while at work is a serious ethics violation and a waste of taxpayer funding.
If you can, please contribute to my campaign using the "Donate" button at the top of the page. Every little bit helps.
Thanks for taking the time to read and visit my site!
‘‘It's not about who's right or who's wrong, it's about what is best for the County."
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Elect Kelly Niles
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