By JESSE BURKHARDT
He's in. Ending weeks of speculation and rumors, White Salmon Mayor David Poucher said last week that he has decided to seek a second four-year term as mayor.
On May 4, Poucher told The Enterprise that he believes there is unfinished work to take care of.
"It was a hard decision," Poucher said. "I've been weighing it back and forth, but felt like there were some things I wanted to finish and finish strongly."
The city's finances is one area Poucher says needs a lot of attention.
"One major item is that I want to get our books straight," Poucher explained. "Our fiscal reporting has to be top notch, and I think we're on the road to doing that. That is my absolute top priority. There is still going to be budget tightening. I don't foresee an increase in revenue, so we'll have to make changes and modify the way we do business. We have to make the city more efficient."
Poucher said annexing more land into the city is another top concern.
"We need to get our borders blocked up so they're more realistic and not snaking around," said Poucher. "I'd like the city to take whole sections and bring them in, with the cooperation of homeowners."
Poucher, 64, recently retired from the U.S. Forest Service after a 37-year career as a forester and district ranger. He was elected to his first term as mayor in November 2007.
"It's a lot of work to be mayor. It takes hours and dedication and meetings, and sometimes you'd like to do something else," Poucher said. "Hey, I'm retired and want to have fun and play. But at the same time, serving as mayor is enjoyable. I've learned a lot and met a lot of interesting people. Sometimes it's hot and heavy, but that's what politics is. You win some and lose some, and move on to the next item."
Poucher said he was especially proud of the city's progress in securing new water rights and being able to lift the lengthy moratorium on new water hookups.
"Look at where we were four years ago and were we are today. We've doubled our water rights for the city. We're back on Buck Creek and saving $50,000 a year on electricity costs alone because the water from Buck Creek is gravity-fed," Poucher explained. "Those are some really big changes that, 50 years from now, are still going to matter."
The filing deadline to run for political office this year comes in the week of June 6-10. During that week, prospective candidates can visit the Klickitat County Auditor's Office, fill out the form for a specific position, and pay the filing fee. The filing period ends at 5 p.m. on June 10.
Poucher said he is running for office to serve the citizens.
"I come in with the attitude that you're here to do what's best for the citizens of White Salmon. You have to leave your own agenda behind," he said. "People want the city to take care of their basic needs. They want to turn their water on and not have a problem, have the garbage picked up, and have their roads plowed in the winter. It's about serving the citizens as consistently as I can."