Longtime Fire Commissioner Ron Schmidt isn’t getting a free pass in 2013, getting a challenge from former Spokane Valley Mayor and Council Member Mike DeVleming.
Family/How long living in the Spokane Valley Fire District: Wife Pennie and two children (18 and 20). We have lived in the Spokane Valley for 23 years
Why did you want to file for candidacy? There were two reasons I filed. The first is that I enjoy serving my community. I believe that is evident in the years I spent on the Spokane Valley City Council. The second is I believe it is healthy for boards to have some turn over once in a while. Fresh views and opinions are important and better reflect our changing community.
What are your goals for the fire board? Spokane Valley Fire is a top-notch organization. But I don’t think the organization is doing its best to communicate with its citizens (customers?) that message. It’s not explaining the changes demands for service it is experiencing. As a fire commissioner, I would feel responsible to help get that message out to the voters.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the district in the immediate future? Challenges facing the Spokane Valley Fire District are an aging work force, unstable economy and the changing role of the fire department: Specifically, the ever-increasing demand for medical response as opposed to fire suppression. All of this has to be balanced with the resources the taxpayers approve.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? They have no idea who our fire commissioners are.
Web site? No web site
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I am proud to serve the SVFD as a fire commissioner. We have developed a strong relationship between administration and firefighters and I would like to continue to be involved in this team-building effort.
What are your goals for the fire board? My goals are to continue working toward lower taxes, no bonds, continue our team-building effort and delivering ultimate services to our citizens. We are a premium district and very proud of it.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the district in the immediate future? We need to prepare for an ever-growing population, new businesses and industry which will require additional employees, equipment and fire stations as needed.
I also feel we need to continue working toward lowering our insurance rating from a No. 3 to No. 2 rating. This is a very difficult task but it can be accomplished. By moving from a No. 3 designation to a No. 2 designation will lower insurance ratings and be a significant savings for industry, large and small businesses and home owners. Our goal is to have this accomplished by 2016.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? The people with whom I have been in contact are amazed to know we are such an aggressive organization. Being told of our international certification and the fact that our Spokane Valley Fire Department is debt-free makes our citizens extremely proud of their fire department. I have also talked to a number of people who have spoken very highly of the services they have received from our paramedics and firemen.