2021 IN REVIEW: Aloha commissioner sways Washington…


Newly elected Nafisa Fai gained majority help for stricter measures to restrict tobacco gross sales.

She’s been on the Washington County fee for lower than a 12 months, however Nafisa Fai is not ready round to make her mark in county authorities.

Fai ran for county commissioner final 12 months, after incumbent Dick Schouten selected to run for a seat within the Oregon Senate quite than search re-election. On the time, Fai, an Aloha resident, touted her background in public well being and neighborhood work — amongst different endeavors, she was one in all Gov. Kate Brown’s appointees to an advisory committee for the Oregon Well being Authority’s public well being division — and mentioned she wished to use that background as an elected county commissioner.

The composition of the county fee has shifted dramatically over the previous two election cycles, swinging from an all-male board dominated by rural conservatives to a majority-female board led by suburban liberals. That offers a commissioner like Fai a level of affect that her predecessor, Schouten, lacked for a lot of his time on the board.

In September and October, the county fee thought of a proposal by anti-tobacco advocates to limit the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping merchandise to companies like liquor shops that do not serve clients underneath age 21. That pitch was extensively panned by comfort retailer homeowners and others who argued that their companies could be negatively affected — the ordinance would merely drive their clients to liquor shops, with whom they may now not compete.

The board’s two conservative commissioners, Roy Rogers and Jerry Willey, had reservations in regards to the draft ordinance, on the grounds that telling sure companies they could not promote sure merchandise could be unfair.

Fai supplied a special resolution: broaden the ban to incorporate age-restricted companies as effectively, so no retailer in Washington County might legally promote flavored tobacco and vaping merchandise.

“This may actually assist reposition Washington County (with) daring commissioners, as a daring board that basically modifications the trajectory of Oregon,” Fai mentioned, including: “It is a onerous determination, however we’re in the end defending our neighborhood and our youth.”

What would have probably been a 3-2 vote on the county fee to limit the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping merchandise as a substitute turned a 3-2 vote to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping merchandise outright. Fai was joined by frequent allies Kathryn Harrington and Pam Treece in voting to amend, then move, the ordinance in November. Washington County turned the primary county in Oregon to undertake such a ban.

“This assists in discouraging youth entry and initiation, in addition to de-normalizes the usage of tobacco in our communities,” Harrington mentioned, explaining her determination to help Fai’s amendments.

Willey was notably pissed off by what he referred to as a “bait-and-switch.”

“We must always be capable to discover one thing that works for everyone,” Willey protested earlier than the board voted to undertake Fai’s amendments. “It is a unhealthy concept.”

The ordinance took impact earlier this month, though it should formally be enforced within the New Yr.

A Washington County spokesperson mentioned that by June, the Oregon Well being Authority will “concentrate on schooling” to carry shops into compliance with the ban. After that, the OHA will conduct unannounced inspections and cite violators.

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