Aberdeen mayoral candidates discuss why they should win

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The Aberdeen mayoral race is nearing the finish line as there is a little more than two weeks away before the General Election on Nov. 7.

So with that comes the question of why people should vote for either Debi Ann Pieraccini or Doug Orr? Here’s what the candidates had to say.

Doug Orr

What makes you the best option for Aberdeen mayor? Why?

“I believe that what I bring to the table is change,” Orr said. “All my life I have been training for this very job. I bring 30 years of lived experience in taking depressed places and, using my unique talents, bring them back to not only life, but also back to economic health. Aberdeen has seen more than its fair share of ‘the same old politics’ and with me that cycle would end. I’ve been through a 100 towns that were just like Aberdeen and moved on from what was and became something even better and I believe that I know what it is that makes them work. I have always been in leadership positions throughout my entire adult life. I’ve led with compassion and dedication and have always left places better off than when I started.”

Orr said his love for Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis and all of Grays Harbor means he’ll “always work as hard” as he can to make the area better for the people who live here.

“I brought the Rain Glow Festival to Aberdeen because when I grew up here there was nothing like that and I believe that these kinds of things need to be done more often so our children grow up and have reasons to stay here,” Orr said.

Orr said he’ll try as hard as he can to “add as much opportunity as possible for our kids,” so they stay on the Harbor instead of leave it.

He said he will “guard and celebrate our history and at the same time honor our future by helping to guide it to economic success.”

Orr said he’s able to see problems differently than most and he’s able to figure out “unique, out of the box solutions to solve the problems.” Orr said it’s worked in other places and it will work in Aberdeen.

“Why should I be mayor? Because I will never work for a political party,” Orr said. “I’ll only work for what’s best for the city and all of its residents.

How specifically do you think your past experience will help you as Aberdeen’s mayor?

Orr leaned on what he did in two years as Grays Harbor College’s student body president, where, in a laundry list of accolades, “led the college’s effort to build the Lake Swano Trail, led a team and spoke to the legislators to raise the initial $500,000 to build the Lady Washington,” and “had our class pave the gravel parking lot at the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts,” and both started and was president of the Grays Harbor College Art Society.

“That was just two years,” Orr said. “Imagine what I could do in four years as Aberdeen’s mayor? I’m not afraid to ask for help to get a project done. I’m not afraid to take on any task if I believe in it and I have and always will believe in Aberdeen.”

What are two issues you aim to work on should you become the city’s next mayor? Why?

“My number one issue will be to grow my community’s pride in itself,” Orr said. “This issue has many facets including taking better care of our unhoused, mentally ill and drug addicted residents. Working with our city department heads and downtown association to find ways to fill both floors of the buildings downtown. Add more access to our waterfront, bring flowers back to our city entrances and a central park downtown with a bandstand.”

Orr wants to “stop the negative talk about Aberdeen.”

“Our kids need to live in a community that is proud of itself and offers them hope and opportunity,” Orr said. “The No. 2 issue is to repeat No. 1.”

Debi Ann Pieraccini

What makes you the best option for Aberdeen mayor? Why?

“I am currently on the city council and not only did I attend meetings for four years prior to my election to become familiar with the operations, I have now served on the council for nearly two years,” Pieraccini said.

Pieraccini serves the city as its finance chair, Homelessness Response Committee chair, Fire Pension Committee member, Re-zoning Committee member and Personnel Committee member.

Pieraccini said she was recently awarded the Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities. To earn that, she had to complete more than 60 hours of training in five areas of city leadership and demonstrated local community service.

Pieraccini is also an Aberdeen Police Department Volunteer in Police Service.

How specifically do you think your past experience will help you as Aberdeen’s mayor?

“Being the chair of the Finance Committee gives a great insight into our overall budget and what it takes to financially operate our city,” Pieraccini said. “ We recently accomplished a clear financial audit report, so we’re doing a great job.”

Pieraccini said she’s learned first hand by auditing the roles and responsibilities of the mayor, as well as by participating as a city councilor the last two years. Pieraccini said how she’s interviewed other mayors through the last year and gained an insight from different points of view.

She also touted her “strong management skills,” which she sees as the “job of the mayor.”

Pieraccini championed her standing as a business owner.

“My salon now supports seven families so I know what it takes to run and operate a successful business,” Pieraccini said. “The city is a large business on a greater scale. I have the ability to prioritize what is important and what can wait.”

Pieraccini said she’s also learned “compromise is our friend and that working across the table helps to get more things accomplished.”

What are two issues you aim to work on should you become the city’s next mayor?

“Public safety is of the utmost importance,” Pieraccini said. “Our downtown and all public areas should be safe and clean for all.”

As chair of the Homelessness Response Committee she said the city is “near a solution for a permanent shelter for the unhoused with the help of our partners in the county.”

Pieraccini’s goal is to be a “leader in solutions instead of kicking the can to the neighbors.”

“If we are going to tackle the burden, then we need to be leaders at resolving it,” Pieraccini said. “Getting services to help those in need and a central location for them to organize a plan of action will be central to helping solve much of the problems we see today.”

She said Aberdeen has an amazing opportunity to transition from being a “drive-through” city to a “drive-to” city. With that, she’ll focus on following through with the large-scale projects, such as the North Shore Levee project and replacing the Young Street Bridge. She said how the museum, once it’s built, will be a “great attraction.”

In addition to that, she’d love to see a small amphitheater with a covered bench and table area and some food trucks, plus a coffee stand positioned at the entrance of town.

“Local musicians could schedule times to perform, which would draw attention to the travelers entering the city and give people a reason for them to stop,” Pieraccini said. “It would chime in with the artsy music theme that we’ve been creating for the last few years and would benefit the whole community.”

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.

Clayton Franke / The Daily World
Campaign sings for mayor of Aberdeen are posted in the downtown core.

Clayton Franke / The Daily World Campaign sings for mayor of Aberdeen are posted in the downtown core.