Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why run for County Commissioner?

To be a great commissioner, one must possess a wide variety of skills and the desire to make Tillamook County a better place to live.  That is why I am running for Tillamook County Commissioner #3.

Growing up in Tillamook County, I was raised in Nehalem, Oregon and attended Nehalem Elementary and Neah-Kah-Nie Jr./High School.  There I graduated as a Valedictorian of my class. My mother raised me along with my brother as a single parent after my dad, a US Navy disabled veteran, suffered a traumatic brain injury. I became actively involved with the community events, participating in sports, and volunteering for the food drives.  I valued my time spent being a member of 4-H as well as FBLA.  As a 4-H member, I had the pleasure to represent Oregon and Tillamook County in the role of an Oregon 4-H Ambassador.  This culminated in my attendance at the National 4-H convention in Memphis Tennessee. I applied my gained knowledge to obtain numerous local scholarships.  This gave me the ability to be the first in my family to obtain a college degree.

Moving on from Nehalem, I chose to attend Southern Oregon University.  During my freshman year, I met my husband, Steele Fleisher.  After four years at SOU, I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Chemistry.  I also earned a Certificate in Applied Finance and Economics in Applied Finance.

Afterwards, we moved to San Marcos, California.  This allowed us to be closer to Steele's family.  It also offered an opportunity to spread our wings as a young couple. We made many life-long friends.  I began as a Quality Control Manager for an Organic Spice Company.  It became apparent early on that the cost of living required sacrifices that I could not afford.  It was time to come return home.

Once back home, I began the search for a new career that might give me the opportunity to live and be able to give back to the community that gave me such support as a youth.  I was fortunate to land a job in the County Assessor's Office as a Property Appraiser Trainee.  In four years, I was promoted multiple times.  That is how I arrived at the position I hold today, Property Appraiser 3/Commercial Industrial Appraiser.

During this time, I have gained so much knowledge of the inner workings of the county as well seeing it first hand.  Seeing when things go well, and those times that don’t, for the employees, public, or individuals.  I have been a member of the AFSCME Local #2734 representing Tillamook County over fourteen years. I have also served as the President of AFSCME local #2734 for 2 years.  As a member of the union, I have been on the negotiating committee representing the employees of Tillamook County for five years. I have had the opportunity to moderate an AFSCME candidate forum during the 2016 election.  I also delivered testimony at the Oregon Board of Forestry, assisting to ensure a more reliable funding stream for Tillamook County's General Fund.  Recently I have tried a new experience, being active in our local theater through the Tillamook Association of Performing Arts (TAPA) and Rising Tide Productions.  It has been a great joy to add to my life.

I have also been able to gain government experience having served on the Port of Garibaldi Budget Committee since 2010.  I also proudly served as a City Councilor for City of Bay City since Nov 2011 through August of 2017.  When I departed due to moving out of the city, I had been the President for four years.  During that time, I learned that it takes a community to establish change, and that same community should be entitled to involvement throughout the process.

One of my goals is to continue being involved and keep Tillamook County a safe place to raise children.  Creating more living wage jobs with economic incentives that currently exist is a first step.  I also plan to find an improved solution to the housing shortage.  This should be not only for some, but for all, including working individuals with pets or poor credit.  I also believe that Tillamook County has a vested interest in improving mental health services for all.

I am passionate about our community, and would appreciate your support to be the next County Commissioner for Position #3.  Please vote for Kari Mattson Fleisher for Tillamook County Commissioner #3.


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