Felicita Monteblanco, THPRD Pos. 1 – Candidate Interview
WCD: What first inspired you to run for office?
FM: My decision to run for office evolved over time. I participated in the Emerge Oregon program. I volunteered on campaigns. I also interacted with numerous elected officials through my work with Vision Action Network. It was actually Lacey Beaty, who is now the Mayor of Beaverton, who encouraged me to run for the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District.
I’ve always been passionate about parks and my community. My first job was a camp counselor at THPRD when I was 15. In 2016, however, the District’s Board of Directors was comprised of people who were very different from me in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, lived experience, and values. So, I decided to run for the Board in order to bring a new perspective.
WCD: What accomplishment are you most proud of during your first term?
FM: I am very proud of the work we’ve done in regard to affordable housing. We’re facing an affordable housing crisis in Oregon. The THPRD Board is doing its part to help alleviate the problem by waiving system development charges for 632 affordable housing units over the next five years.
WCD: What is one specific goal you most want to accomplish in your next term?
FM: Over the past three years, THPRD engaged with over 10,000 community members to formulate a Community Vision. The plan focuses on making our parks more welcoming, inclusive, accessible, and safe while also preserving the natural environment. In light of pandemic-related budget shortfalls, however, our Board is going to have to make some tough decisions in the months ahead. I want to ensure that, as we tackle these challenges, we stay true to our community-led plan.
WCD: What are the biggest challenges facing the THPRD and how do you plan to address
FM: The biggest challenge is the budget impact of COVID-19. As you can imagine, summer programming in 2020 looked very different than what we had planned for. We’ve had to lay-off staff and many of our facilities remain closed. And, while some programming has been cut back, I want to highlight the innovation of the team at THPRD: from talking walls, to online programming and more!
Once we start to re-open, communication with the public is going to be key. This can be challenging because everyone communicates differently. Some of our patrons prefer social media. Others want to receive a paper catalog. Making sure that we are meeting the needs of, and communicating effectively with, all our community members is going to be a priority as we move forward.
WCD: How do your values and those of the Democratic party align?
FM: Among other things, I believe in climate change, racial equity, and workers’ rights. I think that our governmental institutions should open opportunities for everyone to participate and feel included. I am also committed to diversity in all its forms. These beliefs shape my values and my values guide my decision-making.
WCD: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you want voters to know about you?
FM: Elections for special districts are very important. It is vital to have progressive voices on our park, water, and fire district boards. That is why I am running on a slate with two other candidates for the THPRD – Barbie Minor and Alfredo Moreno. We need everyone who shares our values to vote! I will also be the emcee at the upcoming Washington County Democrats’ “SpringFest 2021 – Winds of Change” fundraiser on April 3rd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. It will be a great opportunity for us to come together and kick off the work for the new year. I hope everyone can attend.
Learn more about Felicita Monteblanco, Candidate for THPRD Position 1, at her campaign website.