First elected in 2008, Lovel Pratt is running for re-election to the County Council in District 1. After moving to San Juan Island in 1991, she has served as a volunteer firefighter, executive director of the San Juan Community Home Trust, project director of the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild, volunteer with the San Juan Public Schools Foundation, and member of the San Juan Island Community Foundation Critical Needs Task Force. Pratt and her husband Boyd own and operate the Mulno Cove Farm, and have three children.
Journal: Are there issues or concerns unique to your legislative district, District 1? If so, what are they?
LP: The Cattle Point Road Realignment Project is the most important major capital project within District 1. The Environmental Impact Statement has finally been finalized and the “Record of Decision” is due soon. These major milestones will hopefully make future applications for project funding more competitive. There is upcoming federal transportation funding that the state will administer that is tailor made for this project — the Federal Lands Access Program. I will work with our state representatives and agency officials and make a strong case for the funding needed to complete the Cattle Point Road realignment.
District 1 includes a significant amount of shoreline along Haro Strait. I will continue to advocate for improved oil spill prevention, readiness, and response, especially in light of the existing and proposed increased shipping traffic from Kinder Morgan’s increased Alberta Tar Sands products exports out of Canada, and the proposed 1,000 bulk carrier transits to and from the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal.
Are you satisfied with the relationship between the county legislative branch, the council, and its executive branch, the administrator? Any changes that you would like to see?
LP: For the most part, I think that during my tenure the council has had a good working relationship with the former county administrator and also the current county administrator pro tem.
I support Charter proposition 2 that would require the county council to develop a job description for a county manager. It will be important to be able to be able to develop a job description while taking into account the resources available, the current county priorities, and the potential for more collaboration, and, more importantly, economic efficiencies, among the other elected departments.
The county administrator’s job description is imbedded in the current charter. The former county administrator frequently raised the issue of the lack of resources for him to accomplish his job. The charter as it now exists gives a future county administrator the basis to demand a larger share of county resources in order to comply with the powers and duties specified in the current charter. This will not necessarily be in the best interests of San Juan County given our limited resources and other county priorities.
What are your thoughts about the update of the county critical areas ordinance?
LP: The council is on track to adopt the updated Critical Areas Ordinance. I am committed to seeing this through to comply with the law and to provide certainty to property owners and the community at large. The CAO update is more complicated than it needs to be, but this is because it provides a site-specific, tailored approach to the regulations that many have advocated for.
I do not support a re-set of the ordinance adoption process which would require yet more scarce county resources and would prolong the uncertainty for property owners. I do not see how there could be a more broadly supported outcome that still complies with state law.
I look forward to the council’s adoption of the CAO so that we can devote the extensive staff resources and council agenda time that has been dedicated to the CAO over the past several years to other priorities. High on my list is economic development.
What is your view about county spending and revenue, and balancing the annual budget?
LP: The economy has changed dramatically since I first filed to run for office in early June of 2008. As hard as it has been to address this recession with budget cuts, workforce reductions and concessions, and the requests to voters for additional revenues, it will be much harder to exercise the discipline that will be required to maintain a sustainable budget when the economy improves and to appropriately allocate any additional revenues. I am committed to identifying and implementing a long-term, sustainable budget and maintaining it into the future.
If elected, what would be your top priorities?
LP: Implementation of a long-term, sustainable budget; economic development; completion of the Cattle Point Road realignment project; continued state-wide and regional representation of San Juan County and advocacy for legislative priorities
What public official, either local, state or national, past or present, most closely reflects your view on how government should operate, and why?
LP: Abraham Lincoln: for his intelligence and communication skills, for the way he sought out diverse perspectives and synthesized the best components of even conflicting viewpoints in his decision-making process, and for his ability to make difficult decisions and carry them out.
Admiring Abraham Lincoln from afar, I work hard and study the issues from as many perspectives as possible. I strive to be accessible, responsive, and accountable to my constituents; to be decisive when the time is right; and to follow through.
Lovel Pratt campaign website, http://reelectlovel.com/