Letter to the Editor: Commissioner Candidate Offers Thanks, Looks to Future


I’m writing to thank everyone who voted and the terrific outpouring of contributions and encouragement I received. When you asked me to run for Lewis County commissioner, I said “only on the condition that we do it together, as a community.”

You stepped up. Having raised more money and having more contributors than my opponent was a “win” in itself.

Commissioner Gary Stamper’s untimely passing allowed me an opportunity to step up and offer Lewis County voters another choice. One that honored the contribution that his leadership provided us. I knew from the beginning that this would be a hard race to win. It required voters to turn a page in the history of the county. It required voters to give up party ideology and come together again. It required voters to recognize that settling for the status quo will cost us the continuing brain drain of too many of our children and grandchildren for whom opportunities look better elsewhere.

Many of you demonstrated by your votes that this doesn’t have to be our future. You understand that to succeed we must be willing to do more than let Lewis County just be the place where businesses come to exploit our I-5 corridor landscapes with warehouses subsidized by taxpayers offering jobs already facing elimination by robots. Rather, we said we want to leverage our natural landscape and work with our elected and community leaders to create a place that is attractive to professionals desiring a more sane lifestyle within which to raise their families.

This will require us to sharpen our investments in infrastructure, high speed internet, quality schools and advancing our adventure and sports tourism economy. It will require us to work together with our county commissioners in updating our long-range comprehensive plans and revisiting land use ordinances to provide for more housing options while maintaining traditional economies like agriculture, family-owned businesses and timber. Unprecedented growth, water banking, flood control, salmon recovery, clean energy sourcing, affordable housing  and drug addiction are complex problems to solve. If we can hold our decision makers accountable to promoting solutions that include maintaining the county’s rural character, we will provide our children meaningful opportunities and a real choice to stay and raise their families here — a win for all of us.

For me, the election was not a final loss, it is just a setback in a long struggle to move our county to being the place businesses, professionals, trades workers and laborers see opportunity. It is a goal well worth fighting for and, with your continued participation, we will accomplish much.


Harry Bhagwandin