Paul Crowner has my vote for the position of commissioner to represent District 1 of the Port of Centralia.
On Nov. 2, local citizens will go to the polls to elect officials at all levels of government to represent them. From time to time, the position of port commissioner is on the ballot. You may wonder why this position is so important to you and me. The primary reason is that a large part of local taxes come out of our pockets to support the Port of Centralia. Knowing this, we should all take this office very seriously in terms of whom we elect and how they choose to spend those dollars to benefit us and our city.
There are three elected commissioners on the Port of Centralia Commission. Each of them is tasked with working with the director to help create economic development that provides jobs and tax revenues to the local economy while improving the quality of life for the citizens of Centralia and Lewis County.
The question is: Have the recent decisions made by the port director and the board improved the quality of life for us? I know that the big rigs from UNFI and other port properties rumble down Harrison Avenue, causing more congestion and dangerous conditions during high use times. Where is the north connector road to Interstate 5 to take this traffic off local roads? What about the "much ballyhooed" Centralia Station? All we see is vacated land that will need many of our dollars to improve to the point where any business can utilize it. Some say instead of the promised grocery stores, retail, parks and hiking trails in the Port's lofty blueprint, the plan has diminished into a logistics center with more large warehouses. Just what Centralia needs: more large warehouses which employ few people at low wages. Empty promises do not improve the quality of life for local residents. Are we destined to be an area on the interstate between Portland and Seattle identifiable only by its warehouses?
As a candidate for the port commission, Paul has not been appointed to the vacant position as his opponent, nor is he employed at a business located on port property. He is running as an independent voice who has a background in working collaboratively with others. He has served on the Lewis County Commissioners' Budget Committee and the Centralia School District's Facilities Committee. The skills he has used while on these committees will prove decisive in reaching out to other agencies to work collectively for progress.
When elected to the board, Paul will bring the skills he has developed over his years in education to listen to taxpayers when they take their time to come to the port meetings to ask questions and to receive honest answers. Paul will always be cognizant that the citizens are supporting the port. He will support economic development, provide competitive wage jobs and help improve the quality of life for Centralia citizens.
Join me in voting for Paul Crowner, commissioner for Port District 1.