Larry’s responses to League of Women Voters Questionnaire

Why did you decide to run for this position?

As a 42 year homeowner and a full-timer since 2010, I’m very concerned about the future of our wonderful Lopez community. Our population of twenty- to forty-year-olds is shrinking dramatically because of the lack of good jobs and affordable housing. My wife, as a trustee, and I, as a legal/financial consultant to The Lopez Hamlet, have experienced this directly as the Hamlet House has struggled to maintain adequate professional staffing. Our amazing island cannot remain vibrant if it consists only of retirees, vacationers, and transient workers. Our airport is in great condition and must remain our first priority, but it’s time to broaden our Port’s vision and address the needs of the entire community. Port districts are the only public agency whose primary, state-mandated mission is to promote economic development – to create new businesses and jobs to attract and retain young people. Ports similar in size to Lopez have done this and have reinvigorated their communities, without raising taxes. Why not Lopez?

I have negotiated and contracted with Washington ports for over 25 years and have extensive knowledge of their powers, operations, and capabilities.

I believe I have the right vision, experience, and skills to transform our Port into a valuable resource for the entire community.

What are three major issues facing the port ?

  1. Expanding Port activities to fully use its powers to address the needs of the entire Lopez community,without raising taxes.
  2. Accessing FAA grants /selling non-essential assets to reduce Port bond debt and redirect tax levies to community projects.
  3. Ensuring the final Airport Master Plan encompasses all potential community needs, including EMS, without raising taxes and avoiding expensive,divisive options like eminent domain and clear-cutting properties of neighbors.

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

The most urgent issue is expanding the vision of the Port to use its powers to address the needs of the entire Lopez community. Since the Port’s creation, approximately 98% of its expenditures have been on the Airport. The Port has no history, experience or detailed knowledge of economic development (employment/job creation). The Port’s 1st priority always has to be a safe airport; our commissioners have done a great job and that mission has been accomplished. Now, we need to expand our vision, engage the community, and plan and implement a program of creating jobs and increasing year-around employment.

What is your primary interest in the operation of the Port ?

My primary interest is creating the framework for planning, funding,and executing economic development (employment/job creation).

I also have special interest in bringing in voices from local businesses and local special purpose districts, to help the Port run more efficiently; and helping local businesses recruit and retain local talent.