Time to let the winners hear from business

John McDonagh


If you missed our endorsements, I’ll make it easy for you: we were zero for four. Just to be clear, we weren’t forecasting the result. Rather, we were saying if you believe business needs are important, you’ll want to consider these folks when you vote.

First, our congratulations to Washington Governor elect Inslee, Clark County Commissioner Milke, Clark County Commissioner-elect Madore and Clark Public Utilities Commissioner-elect Malinowski. We respect your decision to seek your respective position and look forward to open and frank dialogue about the needs of business while you hold office.

An interesting aspect of this past election is that in the governor and county commission races, all the candidates spoke about the importance of business growth in the creation of jobs, detailing plans to help bolster the business sector. We made our choices based on which of those plans we thought were the most likely to be effective and have the fewest unintended consequences on business in the end.

Make no mistake, the needs of business are still present regardless of who the winners are. Now it is imperative we share with these newly and re-elected officials the issues making it difficult for businesses to grow and expand here, as well as the challenges facing a company wanting to relocate to Clark County.

Continuing to make doing business locally a challenge are a slew of regulations that seem to serve the regulators more than the community. Streamlining project reviews, permitting (and associated activities) and coordinating the needs of various agencies into one process can kick start business expansion activity more rapidly than nearly any other action.

A few short years ago Royce Pollard, then Mayor of “America’s Vancouver,” declared the city open for business. Regardless of the accuracy of his statement at the time, it is time to co-op that statement and sentiment; it’s time to re-align the systems and processes of various jurisdictions throughout the county in order to make Southwest Washington a destination for businesses looking to relocate and to encourage those growing businesses already located here to stay.

One of the underlying advantages of doing business in Clark County, especially for manufacturers, is the low cost of power. We encourage commissioner-elect Malinowski to use his career expertise in a way that protects that competitive advantage, continuing to make it attractive for existing and new companies alike.