Opinion

A community moving forward | Guest column

Rick Hughes - Contributed photo
Rick Hughes
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Rick Hughes

I would like to thank the voters of Orcas West for their amazing support in the recent November election. With over 68 percent of the vote, I feel confident that Orcas Island champions forward thinking vision, from locally involved, dedicated and passionate leaders.

Orcas Island and San Juan County are my passion. My 8-year-old son is sixth generation Orcas Islander on his mother’s side and a fourth generation islander on my side.

Since first filing for election last May, I have attended more than 25 county council meetings and held countless meetings with county department heads, county staff, union leaders, community groups and diverse individuals to insure my efforts will meet their varied and crucial concerns.

We need to be able to live together, even when we disagree, to settle arguments with civility, to strip away the anger and repair our amazing spirit of community.

My pledge to this community is to engage in fair, honest and transparent government, to strive for better communications and interaction between county employees and the public, and to ensure county government functions as an aid to the populace – in short, to return government to the people.

From day one I will focus on:

Community – solving difficult problems in a civilized fashion

Sustainability – maintain our fragile environment, help our island residences become more self-sufficient and promote the long-term growth of agricultural business

Infrastructure – long-term, reliable ferry service, international port of entry on Orcas Island, high speed internet and EMS coverage countywide

Financial Responsibility – operate a balanced budget, fund a reliable reserve, limit taxation and control overall spending

Economic Development – embrace fully our tourist economy, provide locals and visitors alike with the best facilities, explore new sources of income for our islands, support local business and continue to invest in our community to create better opportunities for sustained employment

With over 20 years of business experience working with national companies like ESPN and Walt Disney to six years of operational experience running Ray’s Pharmacy, I feel the desire to give back and help serve our community’s progress.

It would be naïve to think this will be an easy job or to think that everyone will agree with my views, but I promise to listen, learn, be fair, honest and to act in the best interest of Orcas Island and San Juan County.

I will begin serving on the San Juan County Council as of January 1st, representing District #4 Orcas West. My wife and I manage Ray’s Pharmacy and Templin’s Center, I serve on the Farmers Market Association, Eastsound Planning and Review Committee, Co-Chair of the PTSA and Little League Rookie Baseball coach.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve our wonderful community.

The secret to the long-term success of the San Juan Islands lies in all of us … and the re-establishment of small-town community values. The future will be bright for our wonderful island home if we all reach inside deep and work together to move community forward.

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