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Issues 

Here's a deeper dive on some of the things that are important to me, possibly you as well, and may help you get to know me better. It's also the outline of my goals to serve you as your next Commissioner for Walla Walla County. I hope to earn your trust, and your vote. Feel free to let me know what you think, and make a contribution to my campaign if you believe I will work for you. I appreciate your support. 

Wayne Langford Commissioner for Walla Walla County

Taxes

Taxes, a 5 letter word that sounds like a 4 letter word. Everyone complains about them, including myself, yet a certain amount of them are necessary to provide the essential services people expect from government. Health, Safety and Transportation are primary among them. My goal is to strike that balance between what we truly need and what we can reasonably afford to provide. Government must always remember tax revenue is not a blank check, and there has to be a limit it assesses. 

The Walla Walla County Assessor's office did a great job of fulfilling their duty, and State law, of assessing each property at 100% of its fair market value. The problem is, market values of properties are rising at a rate far exceeding that of inflation, over 10% a year for the last several years, and tax bills have increased substantially.

To be fair to the people, Levy rates, the dollar amount charged to properties typically listed as an amount per thousand dollars of valuation, need to adjust downward to level the playing field because we're all feeling the pinch. Think about it; if a taxing authority tells you their new levy is the same as before, but your property assessment went up 30% this year, they just conned you into giving them a 30% raise. Budgets need to be closely examined to make sure we're only paying for essential services. I urge everyone to read their tax bill and know where their money goes.

 

Public Safety, Drugs and Crime

If you speak with the Sheriff, he'll tell you that drugs and crime are a big problem in Walla Walla County, and that the Sheriff's office is grossly understaffed and underfunded to handle it. I've been a victim and know how horrible it feels to have burglars invade your privacy and steal possessions valuable to you, only to likely be sold for pennies on the dollar to feed their drug habits. Public Safety is the number one essential service a county must provide for, and is expected by its citizens.

The Sheriff recently reported that last year, our Deputies logged over 2000 hours of overtime due to short staffing. I do not want to see the people sworn to protect us suffer from burnout and fatigue. I've had numerous conversations with Sheriff Crider over the years and highly respect his judgement. I know he has a good, long term plan to add Deputies and improve public safety overall that is doable and makes sense. I wholeheartedly support our Sheriff, the Office, and his plans going forward. My pledge to the citizens of Walla Walla County is; I will work with the Sheriff's Office and help find solutions to provide the best possible safety for the people, and the people who protect us.  

 

Commercial and Economic Development

One of the easiest ways to relieve the tax burden on the general citizen is to increase commercial and business opportunity, growth and economic development. The West end of the County (District 3) in particular from Burbank to Wallula Gap is ripe for commercial and industrial growth. The Port of Walla Walla has been doing a great job of developing and promoting their Burbank, Dodd and Wallula Gap Business and Industrial Parks. The potential is there to bring in millions of dollars of added revenue to the County and lower property tax rates to the citizens. If we can accomplish this, we'll be able to provide the critical services Walla Walla County so desperately needs without raising taxes.

I am the one candidate who lives in the area and can see, first hand, the tremendous potential we hold to benefit all of Walla Walla County. The one candidate who has a background and experience in real estate, community, and economic development. I can "speak the language" and be an Ambassador for the County with potential corporate investors. I can and will work hand-in-hand with the Port to capitalize on our investment and help make sure that businesses looking at Walla Walla County choose to do business in Walla Walla County.   

https://www.portwallawalla.com/images/pdf/port_information/Dodd-Wallula_Service_Area.pdf

 

Roads and Transportation/ Highway 12

Given the importance of agriculture in Walla Walla County, a good transportation system and high quality roads are imperative to get our goods to market. Maintaining and improving our roads and highways, including the Clinton St. interchange, will be a top priority. 

The completion of the Highway 12 project is taking way too long, over 20 years, and according to the state DOT website the final 10 miles to replace the most dangerous section is not on the schedule for completion.  I don't believe the County and the Commissioners have done enough to lobby for the project and pressure DOT to complete it faster. It took the tragic death of a Deputy Sheriff to get the improvements done in Burbank, 5 years later. The work needs to be done if we're to be successful in reaching our goals of bringing new industry to the County.

When the commissioners don't drive on the same roads as the constituents, it's out of sight, out of mind. Electing me as your next District 3 Walla Walla County Commissioner will change that as this will be my daily commute. For the benefit of all of Walla Walla County, and as a member of the Benton-Franklin-Walla Walla Good Roads and Transportation Association I will push to see the Highway 12 improvements to completion. 

https://wsdot.wa.gov/construction-planning/search-projects/us-12-wallula-nine-mile-hill-build-new-highway 

US Highway 12, MP 313

 

Residential Growth and Affordable Housing

Having worked in the Real Estate industry for 20 years, I understand the best way to increase affordable housing is to build more new homes, adding housing inventory that offer options and opportunities for buyers. Choices for homeowners to move from their existing residence to something that may better fit their current needs and lifestyle will open that existing home up to a new buyer who may not be able to afford new construction. Increasing options and supply will stabilize the housing economy, and the local economy as a whole. We need to do more to encourage housing supply and growth, and I'm willing to do that.

 

Agriculture and Wine Industry

Walla Walla County has a long and proud history as an agricultural provider. We all know there's no finer onion in the world than a Walla Walla Sweet, or rolling hills more beautiful than those covered in golden grain.  The region's wineries are flourishing and bring tourism from all around the world. All of these things bring revenue to the County and contribute greatly to our overall economic well being. Our Ag industry must continue to be encouraged and protected from damaging regulation and roadblocks to success. This is why I lobbied our Legislators to fight HB 1838 earlier this year.  

https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/buffer-bill-is-anti-agriculture

 

Snake River Dams

Over 100 years ago a group of people took a look around Eastern Washington and realized the amazing potential we held with some of the finest natural resources on earth. If we could capture the water and move some of it to the land, we could feed the world. And we did. The Columbia Basin Project turned a desolate desert into some of the richest farmland anywhere. The dams built on the Columbia and Snake rivers provide water for irrigation, cheap and clean electricity for our homes and industry, barge transportation for our crops, not to mention amazing recreation opportunities. They make our region special. Billions of dollars have been spent to improve fish habitat and mobility. A good chunk of our electric bills help pay for it. I will fight with all my being to keep the Snake River Dams in place and working for us. 

https://www.bpa.gov/news/newsroom/Pages/Lower-Snake-River-dams-help-region-power-through-recent-heatwave.aspx

https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Locations/District-Locks-and-Dams/Ice-Harbor-Lock-and-Dam/

https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/snake-river-spring-chinook-returns-increase-27

 Ice Harbor Dam 

 

Covid

No subject has been more divisive in my lifetime that I can recall. It's a shame a public health issue has been so politicized with fear, fueled by the media and politicians from both sides of the aisle with mandates and rhetoric designed to control our lives rather than protect us. It's been over two years now and much has been learned about the disease, but I believe the biggest thing we should have learned is there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Lockdowns and mandates have proven to be largely ineffective in preventing disease transmission, while being incredibly damaging to people, both economically and psychologically. We now have better ways to control it and mitigate it than we did 2 years ago.  As free Americans, we deserve the opportunity to work with our personal health care providers to make knowledgeable decisions each of us feel are best for ourselves and our families for our own unique situations. The time has come to return to a more normal lifestyle.

Like many, I've had it and I've gotten over it. I feel for those less fortunate and their loved ones. I pray we all remain healthy as we continue research on eradication efforts.

 

What are your issues?

You've read here some things important to me, and hopefully you care about, too. What's on your mind? Do you have thoughts on what the County can or should do better? Is there something I should know or be made aware of that you feel can improve the relationship between the County and its residents? Please send me a message on the contact page and let me know your thoughts on making Walla Walla County a better place. I want to work for you.

Sunset at Wallula Gap

 

Wayne Langford Commissioner for Walla Walla County

 

Please let me know if you'd like a yard sign!


Paid for by the Committee to Elect Wayne Langford for County Commissioner (R)
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