County Commissioner - District 1
City of residence: Cocolalla
Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: We moved back to Bonner County 4 years ago after living in Alaska and overseas. However, we have been around Bonner County most of our lives.
My great-grandparents came to Dover in the 1920s and founded the Williams Brothers seed potato farm. My family has been here ever since. My mother was born here, but I grew up near the farming community of Freeman, WA – just across the state line from Plummer. I have spent much of my childhood and adult life in Bonner County and have always considered it home.
My wife, Debbie Fields Crossett, grew up in Cocolalla and played state championship volleyball at Sandpoint High. After college, she taught school and coached here – like her parents. She now practices massage therapy.
Marital status/family: Married to Deborah Fields Crossett, 9 years; two children - Story, 6, and Sandra, 8
- Master's Degree in International Management, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA
- Bachelor’s Degree in English Pre-law, Business Minor, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Recent or pertinent employment history:
- Small business owner, 9 years: founding partner and acting CEO of an international consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, business development, and project management in the Russian Far East. Clients include international companies and the US government.
- Director: US Dept. of Commerce trade development program in the Russian Far East.
- I have also worked as a: citizen diplomacy liaison, adjunct college instructor, writer, publisher/editor, remote access core driller, cement finisher, commercial fisherman, fisheries foreman, ski coach, swim coach, and ski boot fitter.
Public offices held: This is my first campaign for public office.
Nonprofit groups or service organizations to which candidate belongs:
- Bonner County/North Idaho Healthcare Task Force. Among other things, my work in Russia involved me in healthcare strategy - working with international businesses, local government officials, and healthcare providers to improve access to quality healthcare. I am now a member of a local healthcare task force working to identify and implement affordable healthcare options in Bonner County through community partnerships.
- Sakhalin-Alaska Working Group (by appointment of the governor of Alaska)
- US West Coast/Russian Far East Ad Hoc Working Group of the former Gore Chernomyrdin Commission
- I understand small business and know the challenges faced by the majority of us who either run or work for a small business.
- I am a conservative fiscal manager who believes in smart, investment-minded budgeting.
- I have a background (and believe strongly) in managing with accountability and transparency.
- I am a “team builder” and understand that it takes good people to run a strong organization and to provide good service. I also understand that the management sets, by example, the tone of the workplace and the level of service the public receives at the front counter.
- I am a collaborator with the skills and experience to find common cause and to build consensus among groups of people who do not always see eye to eye.
- I am a creative problem solver.
- I am a proven leader.
Why are you running for public office?
I believe our county is at a crossroads. We face many critical decisions that will determine the very nature of our community. I don’t want to see us go the way of Vail and Aspen, where the regular people get shoved out of their own community.
I think it’s time for the people of Bonner County to take charge of their own future and to shape a future we want, not just one that happens to us. And I think we need to be thinking about the Bonner County we are leaving for our children and future generations.
I believe I have the skills to make a difference, and I want to join with my community in doing my part.
If you are elected, how much time will you spend each week in the office?
I will treat the Commissioner’s post as the full time job it is. However, I do not intend to spend the next two years just sitting behind my desk or punching a clock. I think we need to do a better job of getting out into the county and working with our constituents, and I think that includes showing up where and when people are available – not just in the courthouse or during working hours. My focus will be on doing the job, not just putting in my time.
Describe the top three to five issues you believe are most important, why you consider them most important, and your position on these issues.
- Open, accountable government that works for all of Bonner County. We need:
- to post meeting agendas early and keep to published schedules.
- transparency and acceptance of responsibility.
- friendly county departments and fair access.
- Planning for sustainability and protection of individual rights. We need:
- the people of Bonner County to take charge of their own destiny.
- long term, sustainable solutions that work for our great grandchildren as well as ourselves.
- to preserve small government, “do it yourself” Bonner County values.
- reasonable, balanced, thoughtful solutions.
- Control the mil rate to reign in property taxes. We need:
- to make sure our neighbors and families don’t get taxed out of Bonner County.
- smart, investment-minded budget management with zero waste tolerance.
- implement impact fees and airport landing fees so that development pays its share of increased infrastructure and services costs.
- to fund and work with the assessors office to ensure new construction is added to tax roles in a timely manner.
- to advocate at state level for fundamental property tax reform.
- Broader community engagement. We need:
- to improve communications.
- departments and taxing districts.
- to engage community members and a wide range of viewpoints.
- to address hot-button issues early to identify common cause and “win-win” solutions.
- Build opportunity while preserving lifestyle. We need:
- to educate our children to succeed here and in the wider world.
- to support creative initiatives to help our small businesses develop the knowledge to thrive.
- to identify affordable healthcare solutions through community partnerships.
- to protect our public lands and waterways as shared community resources.
- to preserve our unique, rural character.
- to maintain our clean air and water.
What differentiates you from other candidates? Why should people vote for you?
I know how to listen and bridge differences. I am motivated by character, ideas and community spirit, not influence, ideology or partisanship. I do not represent any one group of people or political agenda.
As a commissioner, I will work to re-engage our community, to foster and implement thoughtful solutions, and to be mindful of serving all of Bonner County – both those of us here now and those generations still to come.