Goehner legislative aid Brandt Cappell runs for Chelan County Commissioner, Position 3


Brandt Cappell, wife Brittney and daughter Savannah. / Courtesy photo
WENATCHEE - Senior legislative staffer to Rep. Keith Goehner Brandt Cappell, has joined the race for Chelan County Board of Commissioners, Position 3.
Cappell, a Republican, is in the middle of his second year as a staffer to State Rep. Keith Goehner and previously worked for former State Rep. Cary Condotta for nine years.
NCW Media interviewed Cappell last week about his ideas on how to best serve the people of Chelan County. Here is the Q&A:
NCW Media: How do you feel about lifting the moratorium on new marijuana grows – both outdoor & indoor?
Brandt Cappell: Although the LCB has no plans on opening up the application window for new licensing, I think that at the county level this issue has been largely settled. From my experience, most growers have moved on and have little interest in coming back. Chelan County has minimal available land so it makes it difficult to site operations, especially outdoor production, without affecting neighbors. That said, I do think that with the right sideboards limited indoor production could have a place in Chelan County. 
NCW Media: What is the biggest issue you feel Chelan County residents face?
Cappell: Before the last few weeks, I would have said the issues surrounding our affordable housing crisis.  We have a need for more developable land, infrastructure to incentivize builders to build, and efficient and timely permitting. In more recent times, I think folks are concerned about just getting by, keeping the roof over their head and providing for their families. Of course, these are priorities no matter what the conditions are, but we are truly in unprecedented times. I do find comfort in knowing that our communities in Chelan County are no stranger to adverse conditions. We have such a great sense of togetherness that I know we are better positioned to support our neighbors in this time of need than many regions. When we do come out on the other side we will be ready to get going again.
NCW Media: Tourism and agriculture are our biggest money makers, but both industries rely heavily on so-called H2A guest workers. Governor Inslee wants to make Washington a “sanctuary state” so how will this be good – or bad – for Chelan County?
Cappell: I think these sanctuary policies are much more about political grandstanding than sound policymaking. I think this just further divides us. What I would rather see the governor focus on is lobbying for a fix to the immigration program. We have neighbors and friends here that would love to become citizens if given a chance. Enforcement should focus on the small portion of those that are criminals.
NCW Media: Being a legislative assistant was a great government job, but what can you bring to the table in regards to understanding complex issues like housing, hydropower and other infrastructure?
Cappell: I am a bit of a policy nerd. I really like to deep dive into complex topics. My decade of experience in the legislature has really strengthened my understanding that the details matter. Especially when it comes to policy writing. My passion might be in natural resources, which is important to our county, but we are much more than that. 
Blanket policies in our state can have direct ramifications for Chelan County residents that Olympia doesn’t understand. A struggling orchard can’t just subdivide and put in much-needed housing. The Growth Management Act dictates what can be done with the property. The greenest power source we have must compete with the subsidies handed out to wind and solar. Our roads compete for dollars spent on mass transit in Seattle and mega projects along I-5. 
I think my experience brings a unique perspective to the table for our county.
NCW Media: What else would you like readers to know about you and your experience?
Cappell: I was always interested in how our government functioned. I wrote my first letter to the editor when I was seven-years-old or so. I found myself wondering why there were still political signs posted in yards two weeks after an election, so I wrote the paper about it! In college, I interned in the legislature and caught the bug for service. I think that public service is a calling and when folks starting asking “when are you going to run?” it gave me pause to say, “God is this the direction I am to go?”
After two sessions with Goehner, a former commissioner himself, I found that the role of a commissioner would allow me to still use my knowledge and skills of the legislature while being here at home serving closer to our constituents. 
I found out last fall that the seat I live in was probably going to open and after prayerful consideration, my wife and I decided it was time. And if you ask my wife, she would probably mention that she wouldn’t mind if I lived full time at home instead of part of the year in Olympia. 
NCW Media: What are your passions, hobbies, etc.?
Cappell: My family and I spend our summertime either in the backyard getting our hands dirty in the vegetable garden, on Lake Chelan fishing for Kokanee or the Columbia River fishing for salmon. We love being outdoors. It’s one of the many things that makes us so happy to call Chelan County home. 
In summary: The 33-year-old Cappell grew up in North Central Washington, graduated from Wenatchee High School and now lives in the Sunnyslope area of Wenatchee with his wife, Brittney and daughter, Savannah. He grew a passion for FFA in high school sparking his appreciation for agriculture after spending entire summers working in orchards and raising livestock for the fair. That FFA experience drove him to pursue a degree in natural resource policy from Washington State University, graduating in 2009. His legislative experience opened his eyes to unfunded mandates and overbearing regulations from Olympia that challenge local government’s ability to serve its citizens.
Cappell: Housing affordability is front and center with so many, but I also know there are concerns around wildfire prevention, property rights, public safety, and taxes. Our county has an amazing mix of agriculture, natural resources, and public lands. Through thoughtful land use planning, we can find a balance between supporting agriculture, the open spaces we all enjoy and developing areas to grow our community and economy.
He is a member of his church’s leadership team, chairs its community outreach committee, and also leads small groups teaching personal finance besides being a member of the Wenatchee Confluence Rotary Club. For more information go to: Cappell4Commissioner.com and facebook.com/Cappell4Commissioner.vv

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