Why am I running?
Bremerton is my home. I grew up on Sylvan Way, went to Bremerton School District, and I remember the days of Downtown Bremerton bustling, and being a successful city. I bought my home in Bremerton because I recognized the efforts of city leaders to revitalize the city and wanted to be part of the process. It takes people willing to volunteer their time and be dedicated to revitalization to make change happen. I want to leave my city a better place for my son and future generations.
I offer a unique perspective to the office. I have spent my entire career in customer service, helping and connecting people. I learned a long time ago that people, by nature, don’t like to be told what they need to buy, or how they need to do things. The greatest way to problem solve is to listen, figure out where the need is and then find the solution to that need. As a lifelong resident of Kitsap County, I have made thousands of connections. As a marketing representative for Costco Wholesale, I was tasked with walking into every business in the county and find a way to help them succeed. This skill has translated perfectly into my role as the President/CEO at the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce. I connect people to find solutions. I have a finger on the pulse of the businesses in Bremerton. This makes me uniquely qualified to help Bremerton become more business-friendly. My passion for the city motivates me to keep it a beautiful place to live and raise a family.
Biography, Education, and Work Experience
From an early age, I have found myself in leadership positions. I was my senior class Vice-President at Bremerton High and was one of the speakers at my graduation ceremony.
I worked several part time jobs throughout high school, and while taking some courses at Olympic College, I worked my way from being a part time busser to eventually taking over as the daytime restaurant manager at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.
I have always worked to learn more and grow at every position I have taken. Realizing I had reached my peak at the restaurant, I applied for a position at Costco Wholesale in Silverdale. I very quickly became a full time employee. I was promoted to cashier and spent many years in the electronics department becoming their top sales representative. I completed the supervisor training program, became forklift certified and merchandised the store. I then applied for the outside marketing position. After 5 years of marketing, and 19 years at the company I realized I wanted even more.
While serving on the board of directors for the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, I was able to get a handle on the business needs of our community. When the Bremerton Chamber was hiring a new marketing director, I applied and was hired. I was chosen for this position because of my connections in our community. I was promoted to the role of Executive Director, and with the help of my Board of Directors, restructured the organization to add value to our membership, be fiscally sustainable, and my title is now President/CEO.
My role as President/CEO of the Chamber has many aspects, the Chamber has a visitor center in Downtown Bremerton, and we receive dozens of phone calls, emails, and in-person tourist every week looking for services in Bremerton. A large portion of my job is connecting people, and my connections that I have made over the years serves me well. I also work with other Chambers in the area to promote businesses, and with Visit Kitsap to promote tourism.
One of the projects that I am proud of was the launch of the “Bremerton” mobile app for Apple and Android devices, which is a very user friendly and visually appealing mobile directory of services and parks in Bremerton. We have seen hundreds of downloads since the launch.
I have become very well acquainted with all of our city, county, state, and federal legislators, working with them closely to serve our mission, “To create a positive business environment for Bremerton”
My numerous roles on committees and boards of directors has also given me phenomenal experience in working with other leaders to make projects happen.
Board and Organizational Experience, awards, and service organizations
- President of the Board of directors- Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce (2009-2010)
- Port Orchard Chamber Board of Directors (2007-2010)
- Salvation Army Bremerton Advisory Board (2008- present)
- Bremerton Rotary (2012- present)
- Kitsap Home Builders Association Golf Tournament co-chair (2009)
- Silverdale Chamber of Commerce Military Appreciation Day/ Military Fall Festival Chairman (2007-2010)
- Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee Chairman (2008-2009)
- Silverdale Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee (2007-2010)
- Bremerton Armed Forces Festival Committee (2007-2010)
- Bremerton Concierge Tour Committee (2012)
- 40 under Forty Recipient (2008)
- West Sound Business Expo Committee (2008-present)
- Kitsap Harbor Festival Planning Committee (2011-12)
- Bremerton “Ad-hoc” Parking Committee (2011-present)
- Bremerton Blackberry Festival Committee (2012-present)
- City of Bremerton Planning Commission (2013-present)
Goals as a Councilman
My goals as a City Councilman are simple and straightforward.
- To find common sense solutions to our cities challenges. For example, as a member of the parking committee, one of my suggestions was to be consistent with the time restrictions. Three hour instead of two hour parking zones, and first time warnings for over time violators, with a note thanking them for visiting the city, and a map of parking lots where they can park for extended times to avoid violations. One parking ticket for a tourist will guarantee that person will never visit again.
- To continue to wean the city off of the business-restrictive B&O Tax. While progress has been made by the city by raising the 2013 exemption level to $80,000, it will take 30 years to eliminate the tax. Our citizens deserve to have their sales tax dollars go back to the city for services, not to fund the county coffers. Bremerton is seriously lacking in retail options, and it is our job to change that.
- The City of Bremerton Comprehensive Plan is 10 years old. While certain aspects of it have worked, there are others that haven’t. The Sub Area plans on some of our districts need reviewing and updating to reflect the economy we are dealing with now. 2003 was a much different world. We can’t continue to allow sub area plans on Wheaton Way and Kitsap Way to close down businesses. As a member of the Planning Commission, I have been reviewing those plans.
- To make Bremerton an attractive place to live and work. Bremerton needs a comprehensive marketing and tourism strategy, to show to other communities that this is a strong and vibrant community that we should all be proud of. We simply can not depend on ferry tourism as our only transient income. Kitsap County alone has over 250,000 residents. We need to show our Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson County neighbors that Bremerton is a fantastic place to visit with our unique museums, dining, and world-class entertainment at the Admiral Theatre.
- To find sustainable solutions to protect our environment, while keeping our city friendly to businesses.
- To encourage our residents to be proud of our city, and continue to be a strong ambassador for Bremerton. Encourage younger generations to join service organizations, who have historically been great partners with the city for park improvement.
- To make decisions that benefit the entire city. Of course I will be available for citizens of District 3 to approach me with their concerns and receive a prompt response. But council decisions affect the entire city, and my goal is to be a proper steward of all our citizens interests.
To summarize, my connections in the community, my experience, my rational methods of problem solving, and my ability to bring people together to reach common goals are my reasons to ask you for your vote this election season.
Eggs and Issues Debate
In my closing statements, I posed a couple of questions that I thought were relevant to my opponents.
- Mr. McDonald’s claim that “I” brought Roger Brooks to talk about branding and tourism. While he did initiate the conversation and invite Mr. Brooks to present, the $2000 speaking fee was paid for by the community, including the Chamber Board of Directors and city council members. I do appreciate his efforts, but I think it is important to recognize that the business community raised the funds.
- The second question I should have posed a little bit different, but I thought it should have been addressed. Mr. Brockus met with the bridge planners outside of the council, and made changes to the new Manette Bridge that were not in the original plans, and were unfunded by the State. This action, not approved by the council, cost the City $75,000. My question should have been “Did you have the authority to add $75,000 to the bridge budget, and was the rest of the council aware of this action before you committed the city to this charge?”
- Bremerton City Councilman McDonald won’t seek re-election (kitsapsun.com)
- Fresh faces to fill ballots for Bremerton City Council, mayor (kitsapsun.com)
- Challenger to Bremerton Mayor Lent emerges on final day of filing (kitsapsun.com)
- Economic development ideas separate Bremerton council candidates (kitsapsun.com)
- Gloves come off in Bremerton City Council race (kitsapsun.com)