Tillamook County native and current Wheeler Mayor, Stevie Stephens Burden brings her considerable knowledge, skills, resources and expertise to the Tillamook County Commissioners Board as a candidate for Position #2. Burden is currently serving her fifth term as the Mayor of Wheeler. With over 30 years of leadership experience in facilitating community mobilization, policy development, conflict resolution, strategic planning, prevention and treatment, community and state corrections, public health, mental health, and fiscal management, she is preparing to put these professional skills to use as an effective County Commissioner. She is a nationally-recognized, award-winning substance abuse prevention and treatment specialist with a focus on Native American populations.
“I was born and raised in Tillamook County by hard-working people to have a strong sense of public service and I have dedicated my career and volunteer time to what I believe is essential, especially in rural areas, and that is, giving back to my community and recognizing that everyone deserves to be represented and have a voice,” said Stevie Stephens Burden. “My professional experience and public service have given me skills that easily transfer to the job of County Commissioner.”
She continued, “But what really galvanized my decision to run was the realization that we’re not going to have the statesmanship that Mark Labhart has provided for many years. I can bring that kind of leadership to the table and provide a smooth transition that will help us continue the important work being done, and strengthen our position in the region and state, as well as, continuing our dialog with our federal partners and elected officials. I have been working with our local County Commissioners and other cities, as well as our state elected officials and congressional delegation for many years. I have built the relationships and have the understanding of what this position entails and what it takes to get the job done.”
She went on to say, “I think we have important issues to address, but we also have a lot of big opportunities that will need stewardship, like expanding our economic development base and supporting our current businesses, and mindful use of our natural resources. The county needs someone who understands policy development and decision making, budgeting, administration and management, and has the ability to move projects forward in an impactful way. As the Mayor, I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of important issues such as the development and implementation of our regional water distribution system, revising our City Charter and Comprehensive Plan for Land Use, and developing our city’s vision. Working through difficult conversations or complex problems to find a solution that the community supports is something that I have been able to do well and my record shows that.”
With five terms as Mayor and throughout her sucessful professional career, Burden understands objective listening and how to make decisions that are based on the greater good and consensus building. She has experience in areas that include everything from economic development to health and welfare issues to public safety and land-use planning.
“But what it really comes down to for me is that I love Tillamook County and want to see us prosper. It is all about making sure everyone’s voice is heard throughout our strong, unique communities and helping to continue the movement of our county in a positive direction. I have shown that I am willing to put in the effort and hard work that it will take to get there,” she said.
Stevie ‘s roots run deep in Tillamook County, her family tree includes Tillamook County pioneers, and both she and her son were born in Tillamook. “I have often said that I am so local that when my son was born, I was in the same hospital and had the same nurse that my Mom did when I was born — Martha Hayes, RN, for you old timers.”
Stevie resides in Wheeler with her husband of 30 years, Alan Burden, on the property her parents bought when she was seven. They have two grown children and five grandchildren, that she considers to be her best “work”. She concluded, “Like those that came before me, what I really want, is to do my part to help ensure that Tillamook County can provide a happy, healthy, prosperous environment for my children, grandchildren and for the generations of our children to come.”
For more information about Stevie Stephens Burden, like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SSB4BOC/ or follow her on Instagram, #SSB4BOC.