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Lisa Des Jardins: Stephanie O'Day has specific experience for the  challenging tasks ahead. 

  • Written by Lisa Des Jardins

I have known and been friends with Stephanie O’Day since she moved to the island 33 years  ago. She has been immersed in living, working, and volunteering on San Juan Island the entire  time and, in my estimation, is a true Islander. As an Islander and an attorney, she has become  acutely aware of the challenges we face as a community; affordable housing, daycare,  economic development, tourism and lodging, and transportation.  

Through her work, as a land use attorney, she has dealt with almost every department in San  Juan County. I, having worked at the County, first as Public Hearings Specialist for the County  Council from 2007-2009, then Office Manager of the Department of Community Development from 2010-2021, also know Stephanie on a professional level. She has become a master at  navigating San Juan County's cumbersome land use development regulations and is aware of the impact it has on the construction trades and individuals trying to develop their land. The  environmental protection regulations currently in the San Juan County Code are extensive, and  sometimes overlapping and contradictory, which is taxing on staff to interpret, maintain, and  regulate and taxing on the people trying to develop their land in that they need the help of an  attorney or land use professional to navigate the process. I can also state, for the record, that  Stephanie is not anti-environmental or anti-Land Bank, she seeks the appropriate balance for  quality of life for our human population and our precious environment. 

Stephanie has assisted land use clients with building permitting for many, many years and has  personally built five tiny homes to help address the housing crisis issue on the island. 

Tourism depends on a beautiful environment, as well as providing lodging, goods and services,  and travel. Those businesses providing these amenities need to employ people to deliver them,  and those employees require housing, which in turn requires development; and, as Stephanie  has promoted, carefully planned development within the comprehensive plan.  

The reason my vote is for Stephanie is because she has a thorough understanding of local  government and the legislative process and in my professional opinion, is the only candidate  qualified for this position. In this arena, our county is broken and is in great need of help, and I  believe Stephanie is the only candidate that will successfully navigate the nuances of the position of County Council and be the strong voice of reason we desperately need here and in  Olympia.

Lisa Des Jardins

 

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