SANDPOINT — For the first time in six years, voters will have the opportunity to elect a Democratic county commissioner for District 3.
The candidate who represents that opportunity is Melissa “Mel” Davis, who was motivated to run for office after becoming involved in a grassroots effort that helped keep Northside Elementary School from being mothballed.
“I realized that just standing up for what you believe in can make a big difference,” said Davis, a resident of the Gold Creek area.
Davis, 41, ran unopposed for her party’s nomination in last spring’s primary. Her opponent in the general election is incumbent Republican Lewis Rich, who withstood heavy competition for the GOP nod for the District 3.
Davis, a wife and mother of two preteen children, said she wants to actively participate in building a better community through a common sense approach to government and long-range planning.
“We seriously need to start focusing on the future,” she said.
Davis graduated from the University of Idaho in 1995 with double degrees in advertising and visual communications. She was a production and graphic designer for Coldwater Creek from 1996 to 2004 and now works as a professional freelance graphic designer, website developer and photographer.
A self-described fiscal conservative, Davis worked while earning her two bachelor of science degrees, runs her own business and is her family’s budget officer. She said she learned the value of money and hard work from her parents at an early age.
Davis pledges to thoroughly research an issue before making any decisions and vows not to let rumor and innuendo influence her decision-making process.
Davis also wants to see less trash enter the waste stream through waste-to-energy and innovative recycling technologies. She also supports a watershed overlay ordinance aimed at protecting Bonner County’s water resources.
“Clean water is the oil of the future. It’s an opportunity to take care of the future,” she said.
The current county commission takes pride in engaging the public more than is required under Idaho Code, although Davis contends yet more needs to be done to reach out to residents and keep them abreast of pressing issues. She advocates the use of newsletters, e-mail and press releases so the public can help guide policies and decisions.
Davis said she supports the current EMS system in Bonner County and its leadership, in addition to efforts to establish a new juvenile detention center. She would also take a voluntary pay cut before cutting loose county employees.
Davis said the worst thing she’s heard about herself on the campaign trail is that she’s not ready to hold office. She, however, views her novice as a politician as a plus.
“I’d say that’s a positive. You can do anything,” she said.