Forum features two MAC Recreation District Board candidates
Two Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District candidates shared their vision and purpose for running during a candidate forum last week.
The Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce facilitated a MAC Board candidate virtual forum Thursday evening, April 22. It was livestreamed from the Performing Arts Center.
The parks and recreation district serves approximately 14,000 residents within district boundaries, offering swimming and sports classes and teams.
Jillisa Suppah and Amy DeChamplain are vying for position 3 on the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District Board, a position Board Chair Taylor Lark currently holds. Incumbent Deanna Seibold is running for position 4, and Teresa Baggett is running for position 5, the position Martti Rahi currently holds. Lindsay Foster-Drago and Jinnell Lewis are also on the board.
The candidate forum featured Suppah and DeChamplain.
Suppah is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, where she was born and raised and currently resides. She graduated from Madras High School in 2010 and earned a degree in social work. She works as a prevention coordinator for the Warm Springs Health and Human Services branch, where she coordinates a drop-out prevention and college and career readiness program and strives to increase community engagement. She is very close to her young niece and nephew, who are involved in Madras activities and MAC programs.
"I'm highly engaged in the community, and I'm interested in running for the MAC Board because the MAC is important to me, and I know we have a lot of families in Warm Springs that utilize the services and activities at the MAC as well," Suppah said.
She would like to focus efforts on MAC programs and services and to partner with the health community to provide more services for building a stronger community. She would like to help build a greater partnership and collaboration with the Warm Springs community and be able to offer more opportunities for Warm Springs youth, families and seniors and for those who may not be privileged enough to drive to Madras for programs.
"I know the importance of making sure our community is healthy and making sure there's opportunities available for everybody," she said.
Suppah would like to build relationships with the Latino community and hear what services they would like the MAC to offer.
"I bring a very unique perspective, a voice and a perspective that this board hasn't heard from in the past," Suppah said. "I am a young woman of color, a tribal member, and I think I would be a great voice for our families in Warm Springs."
DeChamplain's family moved to Jefferson County in 1981. She graduated from Madras High School in 1989 and earned a degree in social sciences. She has worked at Bright Wood and Les Schwab Tires and now works for the Jefferson County School District. She has experience in accounts payable, budgeting, purchasing and human resources. She says her work experience has given her the insight to keep a tight line on the budget while looking for ways to bring new revenue into the program.
She and her husband raised their family in Madras, and all have enjoyed the opportunities the MAC has provided.
"The community needs to have a person who is wholeheartedly behind the vision of the MAC district of providing a fun, affordable and safe aquatic fitness, sport, health and recreation district," DeChamplain said. "Raising a family while living in a lower income rural district provides an opportunity to become skilled at finding creative solutions to funding challenges."
She believes the district needs to have a better facility maintenance budget and leaders who have the experience and the drive to create revenue streams. She said there are lots of opportunities in the community for the MAC to be more visible.
"The MAC has had something of a bad reputation for money management," DeChamplain said. "Perception of the district within the community is definitely a number one priority to address and make sure that when the levy does come up on the election that we have a good chance of getting it passed."
She said this community is ready to get out, and the MAC needs to be ready. Ideas include more out-of-water activities for adults and approaching donors to support swim lesson and swim team for kids.
"I bring experience in finding solutions, crisis management skills, and the willingness to say no when necessary," she said.
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