Special Districts Election Candidate Q and A

Ballots should arrive by this weekend for the May 16 county-wide Special Districts election. (Call County Elections at 541-386-1442 if it does not arrive by today, May 3.)

This spring’s vote is distinguished by a large number of candidates, including eight people running for an unprecedented five School Board positions and three contested races in the Port of Cascade Locks Commission race.

(Parks and Recreation District and Port of Hood River candidates’ answers appeared in the April 29 edition.)

Note: Q-and-As reflect those candidates who responded to emailed questionnaires; the questions were emailed on April 14, with a deadline of April 24 to reply.

(Note: in the Port of Hood River races, Robert Bart has withdrawn from contention and Will Smith said he supports two other candidates for Parks and Recreation – however, both of Bart and Smith will still appear on the ballot.)

On pages A9-11, we present the Cascade Locks Port Position 5 candidates, Hood River County School District candidates, and four of eight people running for two positions on the Hood River County Transportation District. (Candidates for the other two contested Cascade Locks seats, and the remaining Transportation District candidates, did not respond to the questionnaire.)

Here are candidates’ responses to seven questions:

  1. Tell us about yourself.

  2. What book are you reading, or most recently read?

  3. Why are you running?

  4. What prepares you for the position?

  5. What are your top three goals should you be elected?

  6. What are the greatest challenges facing the jurisdiction you are running for?

  7. What is the greatest challenge facing the entire area?

Rich Truax

HRCSD Board At-Large

  1. I currently serve on the Hood River County School District Board and am keenly aware and experienced with the issues and challenges facing our school district. Prior to being on the board, I have eight years of school board committee experience including the Budget, Financial Advisory, Bond Oversight, Bond Campaign, and Facilities Assessment committees. I attended more than 20 board meetings as a volunteer citizen prior to being on the board. In 2015, I helped lead a Hood River County grass roots state legislature lobbying effort in support of K-12 funding. This effort included teachers, administration, and community members. We together helped bring about the increased state budget that year. I am a licensed professional engineer with 30 years of engineering, office management, and human resources experience, and currently co-own a successful engineering business in Hood River. I have many years of Hood River youth sport and activity volunteer service. I am 56, married, two children, one graduate and one current student at HRVHS. We have been a proud and thankful Hood River County family for over 11 years.

  2. “Stubborn Twig: three generations in the life of a Japanese American Family,” Lauren Kessler.

  3. My kids are older and more independent now, so I have more time. I believe in contributing to our community and I love the school district and opportunities for kids.

  4. Eight years of experience and commitment described in my biography (above).

  5. Three primary goals:

Continue excellence in district financial stewardship, including our independent financial audit top grades, and appropriate assessment and planning for future budget realities.

Support education program options that result in successful student outcomes including graduation with the ability and confidence to succeed and become future contributors to our community, country, and world. Program examples include AVID, alternative school, advanced placement and college credit options, bilingual programs, STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), humanities, and athletics.

Create community beneficial opportunities for the school district, city, county, port, parks and others to collaborate on planning, building space, fields maintenance, education programs — collaborations that can benefit all of us.

  1. Three main challenges:

Lack of strong and stable state funding; broken record? — sure, but if Salem doesn’t prioritize K-12, we can’t continue the proven success we’ve shown.

We are blessed with a culturally diverse and somewhat geographically scattered school population (Parkdale to Odell to Hood River to Cascade Locks) — with this comes a wider range of program needs, logistical and cost challenges.

Finding an enduring balance of teacher and staff compensation that maintains our fantastic team in our challenging cost of living climate, supports our successful education programing, and navigates equity through these divisive times.

  1. Greatest challenge facing the area: Affordable cost of living options for all of us in an area that is booming with popularity.

On Facebook: “Rich Truax for School Board.”

Brian Hardy

School Board at-large

I grew up in the Gorge and graduated in 1990.

I own a large business in Clackamas with over 100 employees.

I am married with three children. My daughter graduated from Hood River Valley High School in 2016. I have one boy that is currently a freshman at HRVHS and another boy who is in fifth grade at May Street Elementary.

This position would be my first experience with a public position, but my business has been very involved with various causes in Oregon. Every year we raise money for organizations such as Shriners Hospital for children, Katie’s Cause for cystic fibrosis, Sparks of Hope for abused and neglected children and most recently, in 2016, we raised almost $90,000 for the “All Military Veterans Outreach.” In total, we have raised almost $400,000 for charities.

Why I am running:

I think it is important for parents with children in school to be involved in the decision-making process. It may be difficult sometimes to see issues and the needs of the school without having day to day interaction with teachers and students.

There is a lot of opportunity for the right people on the school board to help energize students and teachers with the support they need from the community. Hood River residents, students and teachers have great ideas, but without good leadership, those ideas are wasted. I will work hard to help the school board move the business of our schools forward.

My thoughts on challenges facing the School District:

Technology, budget restrictions and classroom sizes are some of the major issues facing our schools. I think there are many crucial decisions that will have to be made very soon and I believe I will be able to help the school board come up with great ways to deal with these issues.

In addition, our schools, like most in the state, face the task of keeping parents involved with schools to reinforce what is being taught during the school year.

The Gorge is a great place to live and we must do the best job we can investing in our children, whether in areas of academics, sports or community support.

Dr. David Russo

Position 2

  1. I was born in raised in California’s Central Valley and moved to Hood River 10 years ago after living in the Midwest and Texas. I attended public schools throughout my education from kindergarten through medical and graduate school. I am a physician and support a number of local community causes, including domestic violence prevention and drug abuse prevention programs. As an incumbent school board member, I actively participated in the school district’s finance advisory committee, budget committee, school-based health center planning committee, and our local bond campaign.

  2. I just finished reading “The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World,” by Ian McGilchrist. The book deals with the specialized functioning of the left and right halves of the brain and how it impacts how people perceive their world.

  3. I am running for re-election to the school board because it is my conviction that strong schools build strong communities. To that end, a well-functioning local school district is one that is accountable to the families and students it serves, is inclusive and safe for everyone, and is a conscientious steward of resources. These are my guiding principles as a school board member.

  4. Having a daughter in the school system, I know first-hand how operational and programming decisions impact Hood River County families. I bring to this position experience in strategic planning and organizational development. My prior work and experience on the school board has given me a firm grasp of essential district operations and an appreciation for where our community’s schools have been and where they need to be moving forward.

  5. Preserve and prioritize resources toward effective academic programming and student achievement, support the professional development of educators and other school district personnel, and ensure that public funds and resources are used wisely

  6. Maintain current services in the face of uncertain funding and increasing operational costs, reduce and eliminate disparities in achievement between Hispanic and white students, and maintain safe and reliable mechanical, electronic, and structural infrastructure.

  7. The greatest challenge for our school district will be keeping a disciplined organizational mindset around operations and planning during very uncertain times. The school district has made steady improvements in key performance areas, but in order to continue this success our school board will need to make thoughtful choices about how to best meet our ongoing commitments, deliver the expected projects funded by our bond levy, and provide students with programming that will allow them to succeed both in academics and life.

Benjamin Sheppard

Position 2

  1. I am a third-generation son of Hood River, whose family has been in the valley for over a hundred years, and who is a product of this very school system (graduated in 2006). I studied theater arts in college, worked as an actor for several years before moving back to the valley with my now wife, and pursuing a career as a social worker for adults in the special needs community (intellectual disabilities). I volunteer at Hood River Adopt-A-Dog, the Hood River Valley Adult Center, Meals on Wheels, and Special Olympics Oregon.

  2. I am currently re-reading “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.

  3. I am running because it’s my civic duty to do so and because it is my child’s future that is at stake.

  4. I offer to this position a connection to the community on a person to person level, the perspective of someone who graduated and benefited from our school system, and from publicly funded programs in general.

  5. My goals are to push for a corporate tax that will support school funding, to support teachers that feel their autonomy and their ability to teach has been hamstrung by over-administration, and to hear the concerns of parents and students, especially those in the special and high needs community.

  6. The three main challenges that need to addressed are over-administration, over-testing, and a budget that is tied directly to test scores.

  7. It is an ideological battle between corporate business interests and human interests; individual liberty versus social good. And it extends far beyond our area.

Corinda Hankins Elliott

School Board Position 3

  1. Children are the focus of my life — from my job to my volunteer work to my three children. I have served on the Hood River County School Board for the last nine months after being interviewed and appointed to the board. I am 45 years old and have worked as a pediatrician in the area for the last 14 years, since moving here in 2003. Currently, I work at One Community Health, where I work hard to keep the children in this community healthy. In addition, volunteer work with children has always been important to me. I have spent countless hours volunteering throughout our school system and in community education, including at Little Feet Preschool, May Street School, May Street PTO, OBOB, Lego Robotics, 100 Book Club, Used Book Sale, and coaching Community Ed soccer.

  2. I am reading “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.”

  3. I am running for re-election to Position 3 to ensure that we continue to strive to find the best for all children in our community by following our budget closely, further advancing our curriculum, and seeking equity and excellence in our education system. We are lucky to have a rich history of community involvement, excellent teachers, and support for our schools — through local funding options as well as volunteer support. I want to continue to be part of that tradition.

  4. With my background in pediatrics and my interest in the development and education of all children, I feel I have a unique offering to bring to this position. I understand the importance of the public school system as well as the dynamic between children, family, educators, and community that are necessary to give each child the chance to achieve their goals and become active, educated participants in their community.

  5. My three primary goals if I am re-elected are to keep our schools strong, equitable, and transparent. I will continue to be an advocate for funding for our schools. My goal will always be to monitor our allotment of resources to provide the wisest and most equitable utilization. I also believe in continuing the transparency with which decisions are made and will strive to openly communicate with our community.

  6. With the expected budget shortfall from the state and with our national uncertainty regarding public education, the three main challenges facing our school district are school funding on both a state and national level, equity in education, and continued accountability and communication. Our country often seems very divided, but our school system needs to be inclusive and supportive.

  7. One of the greatest challenges facing the area is affordable housing — to continue to grow our population with active community members and allow our teachers and parents access to a stable and affordable home.

I feel lucky to have my children in the Hood River County School system and I hope to be elected so I might continue to serve.

Jo Smith

School Board Position 3

  1. My partner David and I first came to Hood River in 2008, drawn by the windsurfing, as many new arrivals are. We instantly decided to make Hood River our home. I am 43 years old and am in my fourth year of teaching in the University of Oregon’s College of Education, where I train teachers, school leaders, and district administrators to create and implement effective interventions that address the specific needs of their students and communities. My professional expertise is in education policy, with a focus on the links between policy, leadership, and the improvement of schools and school systems.

  2. I am knee deep into Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion,” set on the Oregon coast about a fictional logging clan filled with vivid descriptions of the Oregon rain, fierce coastal politics, and a good dose of misguided patriarchy and vengeance. Should be required reading for all Oregonians!

  3. I have witnessed declining support for public education for too long to sit on the sidelines, so I am running for Hood River County School Board Position 3, a sentiment reinforced by Senator Jeff Merkley in his March town hall, when he told the audience to run for office. To participate fully in our communities. To help make a difference.

  4. I come from a family of educators — both of my parents are teachers, my grandmother was a school librarian, and my grandfather was an elementary school principal. I started my career in the “family business” as a high school English teacher in Australia. As a board member, I’ll add a systems view of education reform and instructional excellence. I’ll bring a lifelong educator’s perspective, and a shared love of this community.

  5. Increase instructional excellence aimed at serving all students, instill in students the joy of learning, a sense of wonder, and a spirit of inquiry, and renew a sense of deep purpose in the profession among teachers, school leaders, and staff.

  6. 1) Increased emphasis on standardized tests over critical thinking skills, 2) Reduced funding for local school programs, and 3) Uncertain federal mandates threatening public schools.

  7. Hood River is a welcoming, vibrant community of which I am proud to be a member. The area faces the challenge of defining itself in the next decade. It is poised to be known as more than a playground for adults. I’m running for school board to help make the area known for its innovation, its entrepreneurialism, its intellectualism.

Julia Garcia-Ramirez

School Board Position 4

  1. My name is Julia Garcia-Ramirez. I am originally from Mexico City. I am 38 years old. I have been living in Hood River for 12 years now. I am a passionate advocate for vulnerable children and families; I hold a law degree from Mexico City, and I practiced civil law at the National Commission of Human Rights in Mexico City before moving to the United States. I also have a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education administration, and I work at Mid-Columbia Children’s Council, Inc., as the program’s enrollment specialist. As a bilingual professional, I feel much honored to represent the Hispanic children and families served by the Hood River County School District. As a parent of school age children and a member of the community, I have a great interest in education and the success of all the students from the Hood River County School District. I currently chair the advisory committee for Raices Cooperative Farm — a program of The Next Door, Inc. I am also part of the Odell Hispanic Prevention Coalition Steering Committee, a program of the county prevention department that works on ensuring our county is a safe place for healthy children and families. In addition to this volunteer work, as board member I just started a Latino parent group. Lastly, in my free time, I like to spend time with my family traveling, going fishing, swimming, playing tennis, gardening, shopping, etc.

  2. “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol.

  3. I have a great interest in education, access to equal services, and the success of all the students from the Hood River County School District.

  4. Commitment to support all students and ensure equitable access to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Continue working with district’s administration on ensuring HRCSD graduation rates increase and the achievement gap decreases.

  5. Ensure that the District Administration listens to multiple perspectives from our diverse community members before any decision is made, ensure equitable access to schools’ activities like arts, athletics, and other extra-curricular programs, and work with the entire HRCSD School Board and Administration in making sure the district’s resources align with shared commitments from our Vision for 2020.

  6. The HRCSD is currently facing shortage in funding, racial achievement and access gaps, and many building upkeep and space issues.

  7. Racial achievement and access gaps as well as fear from undocumented students and families.

Mark Johnson

Position 6

  1. I’ve lived in the Hood River Valley since 1963. I attended Hood River County schools and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. I’ve been in business for myself as a general contractor for 30 years and have been a member of the Oregon Legislature since 2010 representing House District 52. My wife Melodi and I have three great and successful kids who all graduated from Hood River Valley High School.

  2. I’ve just picked up “Against the Grain” by Mark Hatfield.

  3. I’m running because I love our school district and believe I can continue to make a positive contribution to the school board. I’m running for my fourth term on the board and in my 12 years as a board member, and I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve been able to be a part of. The combination of strong community support and amazing educators makes this a truly special school district that always strives to put kids first. I’ve also served with some amazing board members and have learned a lot from them. I believe my experience can be a positive for the district as we encounter the challenges and opportunities before us.

  4. In this position, I offer my experience as a board member and as a legislator involved in education policy at the state level. The knowledge from my previous 12 years of service on the board and as a nearly life-long resident of the valley gives me a useful perspective.

  5. My three primary goals are: helping to provide leadership to a school board that will not have extensive experience, monitoring our construction bond projects to ensure they provide the voter approved benefit for students and our community, and continuing to raise student growth outcomes for all students in our district.

  6. I think the three main challenges are these: 1) The uncertainty of K-12 funding in Oregon makes it extremely difficult to plan and create budgets that can support programs that will improve outcomes for kids. 2) Locally, the uncertainty around population growth in the Hood River Valley and what that will mean for the student population that the districts will have to serve is challenging. 3) We must remain focused on using proven strategies to close the achievement gap among the student groups that we serve.

  7. I think the main challenge for the local area is what kind of community will Hood River become as we grow in numbers and attract new residents.

Port of Cascade Locks

Jess Groves

  1. I spent a career working as a public safety officer and I’m now retiring. I have 20 years as a port commissioner, 12 of those years in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and over the years I’ve served on numerous committees pertaining to economic development, planning, recreation, budget, sailing and marketing. Currently I’m serving on the county energy committee, two economic development committees, ODOT region one ACT, NOAA Columbia River Basin partnership on salmon sustainability and the board of directors of the Pacific Northwest Water Ways, where I’ve lobbied on Capitol Hill and Salem for Cascade Locks and the Gorge. I am 66 years old and have lived in Cascade Locks and the Gorge for 56 years.

  2. “The Majestic Columbia River,” Publisher Xibris.

  3. The Port of Cascade Locks by Oregon Statute is an economic creator. My community has been suffering serious unemployment at historic high rates, the loss of our identity as a community when we lost our school along with our community spirit, but over the last few years, the port and city has managed to bring in a few new businesses that finally created some jobs. I want to continue to help lead the port and community in a positive direction by creating more family wage job opportunities to help get our spirit and school back along with economic balance.

  4. Years of networking, building key relationships, community minded decision making, experience and dedication.

  5. Continue to help with economic recovery, continue to maintain the Bridge of the Gods, help with Fire and EMS and infrastructure needs of our city and fix our cold-water refuge for salmon. Continue to create more family wage jobs for my community.

  6. Funding for transportation infrastructure, permitting processes, and railroad right of ways, getting our schools back and work force and retirement housing.

David Lipps

  1. In 2013, I moved to Cascade Locks, where I founded Thunder Island Brewing Co. I currently run the business with my partner, and I spend my time outside of work serving my community in varying capacities. I previously served as a Port of Cascade Locks Commissioner and I have also served on the City of Cascade Locks Tourism Committee. A lot of my time is spent advocating for recreation, particularly hiking and cycling. I come from a large family — I’m the third of 10 children. We grew up in Menlo Park, Calif. I attended Bethany University near Santa Cruz, where I studied communications. Before moving to Cascade Locks, I lived and worked in Portland. But my heart is in the Gorge, and the rest is history.

  2. I’m a big sci-fi fan. I just finished Pierce Brown’s “Red Rising” series.

  3. As a homeowner, a business owner and an advocate for Cascade Locks, I am running for port to ensure Cascade Locks is a great place for all of our current and future residents. I may not have grown up here, but I am growing roots here and I’m excited with the direction that our community is going and the opportunities ahead of us.

  4. As an entrepreneur, I will bring a much-needed perspective to the port. I know what it takes to start a business in Cascade Locks and I see an opportunity to make that process more transparent and more business-friendly. I hope that my background and success in business can help facilitate the introduction of more business and positive development here.

  5. 1) The port needs to invest in the future of our community. We cannot continue to depend on the Bridge of the Gods as our main revenue source. We need to invest in additional infrastructure on port property, and we cannot wait for a knight in shining armor to do this. New move-in ready buildings would attract new businesses, create jobs and create more diversified income for the port. It’s a win-win. 2) A pedestrian crossing on the bridge would be an incredible asset. As more people cross the bridge on foot and bike, we need to provide a safer and more effective way for folks to cross. 3) We need to actively pursue grant funding. The fact that the port has not done this needs to be addressed.

  6. The economic impact of losing the industries and jobs of the past hurts our town. As the largest economic development agency in Cascade Locks, the port needs to do more to bring diverse jobs to our community. We need to embrace our future opportunities for growth and change. We cannot fear it. We need to be strategic and realistic about the future of Cascade Locks. In order to do this, we need to ensure that we have the appropriate structure and capacity in port staff operations in partnership with the commission to see this through.

  7. We need to focus on responsible growth, and we can’t fixate on the past. As port commissioner, I want to lead us forward in a positive direction.

Hood River County Transportation District

Marbe Cook

  1. I am a long-time resident of Hood River, arriving in 1967 with the Teacher Corps. I taught first grade through college courses, much of my career with Hood River County School District. During my tenure, my positions included elementary principal, librarian, and program coordinator in the area. I retired as a district level program administrator. Previously I served as a member of the city budget committee, as well as a library board member, working to develop Gorge Link online library catalog. Most recently, I organized and was the first president of the now 10-year-old Columbia Gorge Quilters Guild. My husband, Kerry, and I have four daughters and are fortunate that two continue to live in the Gorge. I finally admit to being a senior citizen at age 71.

  2. I am currently reading the Hood River County Reads book, “Ordinary Grace,” by William Kent Krueger.

  3. I believe the Hood River County Transportation District, known as CAT, is an outstanding resource to our community and totally underutilized. For the month of March 2017, the CAT bus rider count was 2,524, of which over half were elderly or disabled. This is a limited use of public transportation. I am running to bring our service forward to include a more diverse ridership.

  4. I believe my professional experience with strategic planning, organization, and strong leadership skills are well suited to this position. With the transportation district in midst of a new development phase, I feel that my ability to focus on long term goals will help shape the CAT future.

  5. My three goals for this position begin with greater public participation. I call your attention to the Master Plan now under review. Public input is needed, so please check the CAT website and voice your opinion. Followed by extended auxiliary services, such as a late-night shuttle loop, and extra services on event weekends for safety. Lastly, I believe that we need more diverse ridership. By extending service hours and areas, I support commuter service for morning and evening commutes throughout the valley.

  6. First, the district is challenged by operating a viable transportation system within the rules and regulations set out by federal, state and safety requirements. Secondly, the CAT service must work to meet the needs of upper valley commuters by addressing work day transportation issues, focusing on commute times and business hours. The third challenge, and most important, is making the CAT bus the transportation choice for all — youth who need a ride to the swimming pool, mothers who take kids to the waterfront park, tourists, bikers who need a one-way ride, and commuters to town.

  7. The greatest challenge I see in our area is traffic flow and parking shortage created by the increase in people. The growth of family neighborhoods, tourist population, parking issue for workers, are all challenges solvable by an outstanding, well utilized transportation system.

As a board member, I will be open to citizens input and will work to solve the area’s transportation issues.

Leanne Hogie

  1. In my professional past, I have a M.S. in agricultural economics and worked for over 20 years for the USDA, analyzing international agricultural production, supply, demand and trade flows and disputes. After I retired from the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service, I moved to the Gorge in 2010. I’ve been on the boards of the Gorge Grown Food Network and MCUUF, and on the advisory committee to OSU Extension Service. I’ve volunteered with Central Gorge Master Gardeners, the History Museum, the SMART program and the Hukari Animal Shelter. I’m fluent in Spanish.

  2. I’m reading “Mozart in the Jungle” by oboist Blair Tindall, which I purchased after I heard her perform in a CGOA concert.

  3. I think we have reached a point in the valley where, due to increased population and tourism, more public transportation is not only needed, but also can be very effective. I’ve traveled on the CAT buses to Portland and The Dalles and have ideas for new routes.

  4. My analytical and problem solving skills from my professional experience, and personal experience of using public transportation systems across the United States and internationally. And long ago I had a college summer job at the Urban Mass Transit Administration.

  5. Help CAT move to a more efficient system with fixed routes. Make information about the current public transit options more available to the public and promote their use. Include public transit as one of the ways of reducing congestion downtown, particularly during the summer.

  6. Lack of knowledge of transit services currently available. A smooth transition from mainly dial-a-ride services to more fixed routes. Funding, always funding.

  7. Travel patterns and habits can be very difficult to change. Getting people out of their cars and on buses is a perennial challenge for public transit. Increased traffic congestion in the Gorge makes now an important time to create new transit options.

Mark Reynolds

  1. I’m a retired teacher and taught at Cascade Locks High School and Hood River Valley High School for 12 years. I also worked in The Dalles as the Wasco County migrant education coordinator and the afterschool coordinator. Currently, I am interested in becoming more involved in my local community. I ran for House District 52 state representative during the 2016 election and I want to continue to be involved by running for the Columbia Area Transit board. I’m 61 years old and except for travel have lived in the Columbia Gorge all of my life.

  2. Right now, I’m re-reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

  3. There is a great need for public transit in our rural areas. I want to be involved in helping to develop fixed route service in the mid and upper valley of Hood River and building services to address our transportation needs throughout the Gorge.

  4. I will bring my practical background as a teacher and program coordinator to the work of the board. I am collaborative, flexible, and I want to work to expand transportation options in the Gorge.

  5. Three goals for me, should I be elected, are to increase public awareness of public transit, seek funding for expanded services, and connect CAT to current needs, such as access to the Gorge for visitors, reducing car traffic in high density areas, and providing service for people without driver’s licenses.

  6. The three biggest challenges we face in public transit are a lack of fixed routes, low ridership, and necessary funding to serve current and future demand for transportation options.

  7. The greatest challenge I see is changing perceptions of public transit from a call-in service to one that provides dependable, regular service that fits people’s needs for transportation to shopping, schools, visitor destinations, and medical services.

Bobbi Reisner

My name is Louise Roberta Reisner. Many people I know call me Bobbi. I grew up in Mosier. Since there was no local transportation where I could work in Hood River or The Dalles, I moved to Portland, where I went to business school and worked for US Bank. There I met and married Kenneth Reisner. Ken was in the U.S. Army and we lived in many places. Upon Ken’s retirement, we moved back to the Columbia Gorge, where our three children graduated from Hood River Valley High School.

For over 28 years I drove a school bus and worked in the Hood River Valley High School cafeteria. I love living in Hood River and want it to be efficient in all parts of government services. I feel that being on the CAT board would be a way that I could serve the citizens of the area.

I am running for the Columbia Area Transit. I believe the CAT could be more efficient while being a good service to Hood River area residents.

I think the biggest challenge is trying to serve more people while trying to keep the cost down. I see many of the large buses with one customer when they could try and coordinate the runs for more than one wheelchair customer or run smaller buses instead of having two large buses pick up one customer each at the same time at the same place. It would take the customer working with their doctor’s offices in scheduling their appointments.

They should be able to have more stops where people that don’t or can’t drive would be able to get a ride. How many residents of the Hood River Valley need rides but have to call on neighbors or friends to take them places because there is no bus system within walking distance of their homes? They could have more stops a different places in the valley. Can we interest more people to ride the bus instead of driving? I see a lot of the buses running without anyone but the driver in them. Is that because we really only need them for people who can drive to a pick-up point? Or is it because we don’t have a good schedule. Could we use smaller buses that take less gas?

How about trips to Portland? Do we go at the best hours? Do we just stop at the airport? What about Oregon Health Sciences University? I believe that we need to do some research work to see what best helps our valley. That means Hood River, Parkdale, Odell, Pine Grove, Mosier and maybe Bingen. These are just a few of the challenges that we have serving the people of the Hood River Valley.

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