Jeanne E. Stewart

Jeanne Stewart ReflectorThe Reflector

Stewart Continued from page A1

she became one of three members of the current council running for the chair position in the Aug. 4 Primary Election. In addition to her time on the council, Stewart is also a former member of the Vancouver City Council (2001-2013), the C-TRAN Board of Directors (six years), Columbia River Economic Development Council (six years) and the Regional Transportation Council (two years). “What I bring best is experience and from that experience I’ve learned that we need to work together as a team,’’ Stewart said. “We need to have our own team working together, but we also need a more extended team for the county. “There are big initiatives, big problems that need to be solved and the county alone as an entity can’t solve all of them,’’ Stewart added. “We need respectful relationships outside of the council so we can have a broader team that works together to solve larger problems and completes key initiatives. I have that broader understanding and that is crucial for this chair position.’’ One of those areas that Stewart believes Clark County needs to foster relationships in the region is transportation. “I think we need to look at transportation within Clark County and then transportation in the broader sense in our region,’’ Stewart said. “We are part of an economic region. I think Clark County has some important, exciting differences about our thinking and how we do business than there is necessarily in Portland. Just the same, we are connected so we need to find some agreeable ways to operate and make decisions for our benefit. “We need at least a third bridge crossing (the Columbia River) and we probably need a fourth river crossing,’’ Stewart said. “I don’t purport to know where those locations should be for those crossings. I’m opposed to reconstructing the existing bridges. “If we have a transit capacity, we can get federal assistance,’’ Stewart said. “It does not have to be light rail. It does not have to be the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). It just has to have a transit capacity. I don’t want light rail. I don’t want it to have tolls. I want a free flow of goods and services.’’ Stewart said that she has already prepared for her potential role as county chair by establishing relationships with elected officials in municipalities in Clark County. “I’ve been working on that since the day I came to the county (council),’’ she said. “I’ve had meetings with Ridgefield leaders, some have been formal, some less formal. I have routine meetings with leadership in Battle Ground. Those conversations are so useful and helpful for me.’’ Stewart is not only focused on job growth for Clark County, but she also wants to narrow that focus to include specific jobs. “Our Fee Waiver Program was very innovative and appropriate at the time,’’ Stewart said. “But, a lot of the jobs that have been created from that have been parttime jobs, or in many cases, entry-level jobs. Jobs that may have some health benefits, but maybe not so much. “Now we need to think about the quality of jobs that we create,’’ Stewart said. “Initially, you’re thinking volume because we had so many people unemployed. That focus was brilliant. Now we need to shift the gage to higher-paying jobs, more longterm jobs, jobs that are more permanent, more steady and more reliable and better paying.’’ Stewart’s vision for the update to Clark County’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan is a compromise of the four proposals. “I have concerns about Alternative 4 and I have concerns about how Alternative 4 was proposed,’’ Stewart said. “We just received part of the review from the experts who are reviewing this for the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). I will be looking very carefully at this EIS that we are getting from the experts that we are paying a tremendous amount of money to to advise us on how this will fly. “My experience tells me that Alternative 4 may be too ambitious to be able to get by without major lawsuits and I would question whether we could win those lawsuits or not,’’ Stewart said. For more information, visit