The health crisis which has brought life in Washington State to a standstill over the last few months thankfully is showing signs of leveling off. After many weeks of working with our local health departments to stop the spread of coronavirus, I have begun working with other regional leaders in planning for the economic recovery in our communities.
I brought together an economic recovery task force from across Island County last month to learn more about the impacts of the shutdown, and what needs to be done as we re-open our economies. I invited all Chambers of Commerce, Main Street organizations, the Ports, Mayors, and the Island County Tourism Committee to gather (virtually!) and discuss their activities and options.
Everyone is sharing information about their outreach efforts, and the challenges they are finding with the new emergency state and federal programs. It is a challenge to keep up as things are evolving quickly. It is important to me to keep our communities communicating and to coordinate our efforts across the County.
I want to open up as soon as it is safe to do so. Regional recovery planning is an important part of Island County’s emergency response, and coordinated efforts across our region are important to maximize the recovery of our economy.
Sustained growth will require statewide action and responding to local conditions. We must support our small businesses, our families and our local governments over the next year. This includes addressing the loss of economic security, as well as strengthening our human safety net services such as mental health counseling, and rental assistance. Maintaining a close eye on our public health with ongoing testing is also necessary for us to get through this together.
Getting our communities thriving again – while protecting our public health – is my highest priority right now. We must start to rebuild a strong foundation for our recovery and adjust to the new normal once we can safely get back to work.
-Helen Price Johnson, Candidate for Washington State Senate 10th LD, D