(By Brandon Hansen/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
With the primary over and the field narrowed down in races for local positions, lets keep the eye on the prize: electing people that will continue to improve our area or come in with new ideas.
Politics has a tendency to meander, and to focus on items that only focus on a small portion of the population or create a tent pole around an issue that is very specialized.
The candidates forum was very heartening to see candidates and elected officials understand what the stakes are for Chewelah and the county: we need a better economy.
As we round into the homestretch for this year’s November election, I would implore our area leaders to really lay out a plan with specifics of how they feel Chewelah can achieve economic growth.
There was a common thread of some leaders at the candidates forum at the golf course that young people have stopped coming back to Chewelah after they graduate, going to “greener” pastures in bigger cities and bigger markets.
Yet, in just the past two weeks I’ve talked with three people in that young demographic range that have floated the idea of moving back “if only there were more jobs.”
So, while things like the pool, a pot shop, the use of Narcan by police, and what we’re going to do with the Chewelah airport are all nice pieces to the puzzle, the real economic engine does not rest on those issues.
Colville just 20 minutes north of us has very real industry within their city limits. They have a larger tax base. They have created jobs for younger people.
Is Colville perfect? HA! You try turning out of Walmart on a busy summer afternoon.
If I said Colville was perfect as the editor of the Chewelah newspaper, I would no doubt be tarred and feathered just in time for the Chewelah-Colville football game. But you have to admit they have more light industry.
We need to start looking at why businesses are setting down an industrial base up there and not 20 minutes closer to Spokane.
The economic situation in Spokane right now is one of a boom. The city is getting bigger, as many cities are getting bigger around the country. Chewelah is already a bit of a bedroom community for Spokane but has yet to reap the economic rewards from it.
We need to change that.
If the economy does not take a different turn, then these other issues for city and local government really don’t amount to a whole lot of beans.
I do think we have a good batch of elected officials and candidates, and hope that they can continue to communicate their idea of where Chewelah should go in the future. Not just pie-in-the-sky ideals like “bring in business” and “provide jobs for our young people” lip service terms, but actual ideas with actual businesses and industries mentioned.
So, as entertaining as it was to hear what books our candidates were reading at the local forum (Payton Norvell has very good taste in books), I hope we don’t get too distracted by little things about candidates and elect or re-elect the people that have our best economic interests in mind.
Too often we just complain about the things that Chewelah doesn’t have. What I would suggest is we start talking about the things the town does have, and then work tirelessly to bring in the things it needs.
We won’t turn into Portland overnight, or ever, but if you brought two 30-job companies into town imagine what that would do to Chewelah?
My hope is our leaders will continue – or will start – to knock on doors, make phone calls and push the town of Chewelah as a possible business relocation point. As many of you can attest to, the quality of life here is fantastic. We just need to throw a few more jobs around.
So, lets not get side-tracked on smaller issues when the real question is: what can you bring economically to the town of Chewelah?
We had a recent Letter to the Editor that painted divorce in a very negative light. I agree that people should get married and stick to it as much as they can. It should be a sacred bond between two people. However, people shouldn’t be shamed for divorce. There’s plenty of reasons to call it quits, including domestic violence, being unfaithful, being controlling and many other issues. In the past, the attitude that divorce is a sin kept many people in relationships that were harmful to them.
I would hope Dr. Houk follows up with a letter about the evils of domestic violence.