Why are you running for office and why are you the best candidate for the position?
I am proud of the work the Evergreen Fire/Rescue board has done to maintain the budget, save money and keep the district out of the red. The board and this district have been dear to me for the last 15 years.
What are the three biggest challenges facing Evergreen Fire/Rescue?
I believe the three biggest challenges are keeping a balanced budget with the economy we know is coming up, trying to build the best facilities we can to support the entire community and response times; and retaining the volunteers and the paid staff.
How do you propose tackling those challenges?
We keep an eye on the budget, on the economy and on our pension plan, and make adjustments as needed. We need build infrastructure such as Station 1 and put the right equipment where it needs to be. We need to improve morale, so we don’t have disgruntled volunteers or staff, and we have made a lot of changes to improve response times, to improve crewing and to improve recruitment.
What experience or expertise would you bring to the Evergreen Fire board?
I spent 19 years as a volunteer firefighter, I have lived 57 years in this community, and I worked to build infrastructure in this community. I own commercial property in this community. I have that old common sense of Evergreen and that goes a long way, and I bring native intelligence to the district.
What would you do to promote openness and transparency in government?
I feel this district board is far more open than other EFR boards in the past. We should promote more people coming to the meetings and getting involved with the district, so the openness we have is shared. The district also should post fire board meeting minutes on the website.
How can Evergreen Fire/Rescue better educate residents about fire mitigation?
The plans we have put in place are important, and we have hired specialists to help educate residents about fire mitigation. We’re going to continue getting out in front of people, giving them a place to get information, and helping with grants to better see more mitigation.
Who is responsible for writing grant applications to help with fire mitigation? Why?
Grant writing lies with the homeowners. It is not the responsibility of EFR to maintain people’s personal trees. Grant applications take a lot of time to write and to administer once they are attained. EFR doesn’t have the staff to do that work.
Evergreen Fire/Rescue has embarked on a new recruitment/training program this year. Is the department moving in the right direction? Why or why not?
I’m looking forward to see how the new program works. I have always been in favor of having personnel living at Station 1 to help with response times to emergency calls. That has done nothing but pay off, so I have high hopes for the new program.
Station 1 is set to be built on Highway 73 south of Buffalo Park Road. What do you envision for that station, and is now the right time to start construction?
I think the district needs to keep up with the construction rate we’re going at now; I don’t think we should slow that down. I envision a firehouse that houses EMS with crew quarters and the apparatus that needs to be in the central part of the district to be housed there so it’s in the middle of the district that we cannot do now.
How can Evergreen Fire/Rescue improve communication with constituents?
We have made changes to the website, though we should do more to keep them up to date with information on current fire danger, burn restrictions and more. We could get more information in the Canyon Courier. We have to do more with social media.
Is there anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I’m a dedicated volunteer of this fire department. It is near and dear to my heart, and I will do anything in my power to protect it.