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Bremerton City Council Candidate Profile: Jerry McDonald
Tell us about your background and how it qualifies you to serve on the city council.
I have a very broad background. I have a communications degree from the UW. I am a retired Air Force pilot, American Airlines pilot, I’ve owned my own plastic lumber business, I’ve worked for a company that manufactured products for the fire industry and another company that built training packages and videos for the fire industry. My aviation experience relates directly to the SKIA (South Kitsap Industrial Area) property that the City of Bremerton has recently annexed. No one on the present/future council know much about airports or airplanes. My background certainly sets me apart. I have been assisting in the marketing for the City of Bremerton for the past four years … tours for the Seattle Hotel Concierges Association members, tours for the ladies from the Coleman Dock Information Booth, educating them on our area and I brought Roger Brooks to Bremerton twice. Roger is a noted expert on branding, way finding, tourist and economic development, business development and marketing.
What is the single most pressing issue in your district? What have you done, and what will you do, to address that issue?
Not enough businesses in my district...and many of the other districts as well…and hence, not enough tax base for our city. Too many empty buildings!
We need an anchor tenant in Bremerton. A store that will be open seven days a week, open after 6 p.m., until 8 or 9 p.m. (Think a food coop grocery store) More people downtown, the more stores and restaurants. I have been encouraging tourism. They bring more money than they go home with. Please don’t think that this is only for the downtown. This activity will spread to our other city districts as well.
If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a member of the city council?
a) Encourage more businesses to move to Bremerton to increase city funding…without raising taxes.
b) Annex the Box Stores on the north side of Riddell Road and eliminate the B & O tax…in that order…increasing out tax base without raising taxes.
c) Work more closely with the Port of Bremerton to expedite completion of the SKIA properties and Bremerton MotorSports Park. More opportunity…More jobs!
Why are you the better candidate in this election? Why should voters choose you?
My knowledge base is much broader than my opponent’s. I’m a retired US Air Force pilot with 20 years service and a retired American Airlines pilot with 13 years service. I have a solid background in aviation, safety, management and training. I’ve owned my own plastic lumber business. I have experience in marketing. I’ve been a landlord and a contractor. I know a little about a lot. Experience that is invaluable to a Bremerton City Council person.
I have more time to devote to this position. My opponent has a full time job…I’m retired. As mentioned above, I bring a broad background of experiences and perspectives that my fellow council persons won’t have.
If you could change one thing about the City of Bremerton with the flick of a switch, what would it be and why?
I would eliminate the B & O (Business and Occupation Tax) Tax, annex the box stores past our city limits north of Riddell Road and fund the SKIA roads and infrastructure. The annexation would allow us to eliminate the B & O Tax which in itself would make it much easier to recruit businesses to Bremerton. The SKIA roads and infrastructure would make it much easier to market the SKIA properties and create more market wage jobs for our area.
What would your pitch be to a business owner considering a move to Bremerton?
We are working very hard to eliminate the B & O tax and should be gone in just a few short years. We have a very skilled work force … those leaving the Navy, Army and/or Air Force…plus Olympic College has many programs that provide the skilled workforce for businesses in our community and is partnering with other four-year institutions for degrees in engineering and certificate programs in composite manufacturing. Bremerton is working hard to meet your needs! Bremerton is a great place to raise family and the Kitsap Peninsula has wonderful outdoors adventures. Why would REI add a store if it wasn’t that good?
What is your position on the proposed charter amendment that would allow the council to meet in Kitsap County, but outside of the Bremerton city limits?
I’m in favor of the proposed charter amendment. For example, I believe that the Bremerton City Council should be able to meet outside the city limits. With approval, they could meet and coordinate with the Port Orchard City Council. Our end of the Bremerton Ferry Route should be a destination for Seattle visitors. Bremerton should work with Port Orchard to co-market our end of the route. Sharing the costs makes it more economical for both cities and gives the visitor more reason to get onto the Bremerton Ferry. We are directly competing against Bainbridge Island for the Seattle tourist…and we aren’t spending much (if any) money for marketing. The nye sayers will be protected, anytime the Council meets with more than four members (if I’m not mistaken), the public is informed. I think this will be a positive!