McCreary challenges Kuest for Port of Quincy seat
In the Port of Quincy race this election season, former Quincy City Councilman Jeremy McCreary is challenging incumbent Brian Kuest for his seat on the port’s board of commissioners.
The candidate selected by voters will fill a six-year term.
Kuest, 63, is a financial consultant in charge of special projects at CliftonLarsonAllen in Quincy. He has served on the port’s three-member governing board for 16 years.
Kuest also is the president of the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce and a past president of the Grant County Economic Development Council. He has served on the boards of various community organizations.
McCreary, 33, is a lifelong Quincy resident who has owned his own real estate company for nine years. McCreary served a term on the Quincy City Council that ended in 2013.
The candidates were asked for written responses to three questions:
The Quincy area is a poster child for high-tech commerce in rural communities. What other industries would be a good fit for the city’s ag-and-tech business environment?
Kuest: Given that the Port of Quincy is located in the Columbia Basin Project, I strongly believe the consistent supply of water, relative to other areas, is going to be a selling point to attract more high value agricultural crops, such as more apples, wine grapes and cherries, to the
area. Additionally, given the relatively low hydroelectric rates in the Quincy area and Quincy’s close proximity to I-90, Quincy is going to continue to grow as an area that will be cost competitive for companies to locate to process, store and distribute products. As a result, I envision more produce packing, food processing, beverage manufacturers, cold storage and warehousing or distributing companies locating in the area. Lastly, with all of the data centers in the area, computer server manufacturing companies are taking a more serious look at Quincy as the servers could be assembled or built in Quincy for quick installation inside the nearby data centers.
McCreary: The voters want three things when recruiting companies into our community: companies that provide middle class jobs, companies that have tremendous love for our community and push employees to live in our community, and companies that will give more
opportunity for farmers. I would target more companies like Amway. The facility uses raw product grown by local farms and processes it into concentrates for vitamin manufacturing operations around the world. Companies like this are great for our community. I know local farmers who have been able to grow speciality crops like lavender that yield seven times the amount that alfalfa does per acre. Small farmers can thrive off of 5 to 60 acres of speciality crops. These plants provide high numbers of middle class jobs.
Put on your “dreaming cap.” If you could expand or improve on one aspect of Quincy area infrastructure, what would it be and why?
Kuest: Given all of the economic development that has occurred in Quincy in the past few years, there is a great deal more traffic and freight going to and coming from Quincy. Consequently, Highway 281 (from Quincy and I-90 at George) needs to be widened to four lanes. Furthermore, with all of the companies now located in Quincy, and because of Quincy’s proximity between Wenatchee and Moses Lake, more groups need conference and meeting space in Quincy. As a result, it is important that the community center in Quincy be updated and expanded into a conference center-type facility that could accommodate various meetings and events.
McCreary: Obviously all are important. But my pick will be water. More specifically, the wastewater treatment facility. Every day we realize how much more important water is. We will be able to attract any company we desire when the City of Quincy completes the wastewater treatment facility.
More broadly, what are some of the top development issues across Grant County? Can low-cost land and economical power continue to lure cutting edge industries?
Kuest: For the Port of Quincy area (which encompasses much of western Grant County, including George and Quincy, etc.), the top development issue will be to have good planning for economic growth and to make sure that we, in an organized fashion, have enough adequately zoned and permitted properties for companies wanting to locate in the Quincy area to do food processing, warehousing and distribution, beverage manufacturing, produce packing, nutraceutical manufacturing, or high-tech (data centers and server manufacturing).
McCreary: Low-cost land and cheap power. What company wouldn’t love that? That’s why we can be selective in what companies we should attract. Because we offer things no other communities can offer we can be more selective in recruiting companies. We should try to find companies that have a strong desire for employees to live in our community. When a community helps put food on your family’s table, you should be living in the community. Forty percent of people working in Quincy don’t live here. How would local businesses be doing if we had 400 more families in the area?