Since I started work at a young age, I have had the pleasure of working in the vacation rental, movie and fast food industries; the medical field – both at a nursing home and an orthopedic office; the non-profit sector as well as in the school district. I believe that my work experience has given me a unique skill set when it comes to economic development.
Many feel strongly about tourism, some with an anti-growth mindset and others, growth at any cost. I fall somewhere in the middle. While I support growth, I do not believe it should happen at any cost. I moved back to the area to raise my family in a small town and I don’t want to lose its charm. If you live or have lived in a small town, you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t lived in a small, tight-knit community, I don’t know that having a tribe of people can be explained.
Infrastructure has to be taken into account. Do we have the services to be able to host tens of thousands of visitors in the summer months? What impact do short-term rentals have on residents that call the Lake Chelan Valley their home? How does an increase in visitors affect Lake Chelan when it comes to roads, invasive species and law enforcement?
On the other hand, growth is inevitable. Since 2005, I have worked hand-in-hand with local business owners who rely on tourism to keep their doors open year-round. Should houses sit empty for 9 months out of the year? How many visitors turn into year-round residents? Should we stop marketing the Lake Chelan Valley? Even if we stop marketing, does that mean people will stop coming?
All of these questions need to be asked regularly. I am excited to discuss these issues with you and if elected, I very much look forward to being an integral part of the Lodging Tax Advisory and the Washington’s Playground Committees.