By Tori Benavente, Post-Record staff writer
Camas City Council candidate Emilia Brasier has developed a love for the city of Camas by participating in local city events and spending storytime at the Camas Library with her children. She said she loves Camas’ small-town feel and the easy access to Lacamas and Round lakes and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Braiser has a bachelor’s degree from Lewis & Clark College and did graduate studies in clinical psychology at Alliant International University. Currently, she is the director of online development and outreach for Brasier Law, her husband’s law firm.
The couple moved to Camas in 2009, before having their first child. Now they have three children; a 10-year-old son and two daughters, one 7 years old and the other 6 months old.
Brasier is running for Camas City Council’s Ward 1, Position No. 2, and said she believes strongly that elected officials represent the people and should listen to their concerns.
“I think that right now, our city is about to go through a large growth spurt, that in a way almost makes it (feel) like we’re creating a new city,” Brasier said. “I’d really like to just be involved to make sure that we’re doing that in a thoughtful manner that maintains the feel that we’ve had in our city, because I love our city, and I want it to be something that my children grow up and love.”
Brasier and her family have enjoyed the school system in Camas; however, she said she has concerns about how Camas High School is growing in population.
“(Camas High School) is already at such a huge capacity, and there is concern of how it is going to maintain the level that it’s at while it’s growing so much,” Brasier said. “It’s already kind of bursting at the seams.”
Brasier is aware of strategies in place to help with the growth, but said she thinks it’s going to take a lot of work to ensure the school maintains the level of quality it’s already achieved.
If elected, Brasier plans to strategize ways to make sure that the school can grow efficiently, or look into a way that the city could be happy with facilitating the creation of a second school.
“I love having one school, and I’m one of the people that would really rather see it stay with one,” Brasier said. “But I hear so many people expressing concern about it that I think we need to look at what the town prefers.”
To address the issue, Brasier said she’d like to do an open survey to collect the concerns of the community. The survey would also bring to light the benefits and negatives of each option.
If elected to council, Brasier would like to serve as the city’s liaison to the school district. As a city leader, Brasier would love to talk with school district administrators about adding mental health programs that help students cope with rigorous academics and challenges.
Brasier said many people have spoken to her about having children with high anxiety or depression who feel unable to live up to the standards set at school.
Brasier said she feels the schools could put more mental health training in place to help the students cope, and also to let them know that there are other routes to get through high school, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
“I think that the concern of children who have committed suicide in the last couple years is at the forefront of my mind, especially with my background in psychology, and having my own children who are going to go through (the Camas school system),” Brasier said.
In her free time, Brasier said she loves taking her children to the various playgrounds and parks around Camas and kayaking on the lakes.
Brasier said that in this time of growth, preserving the small-town feel and historic effects of Camas in important to her.
“I think that in order to maintain the feel that we have, we need to be trying to attract a diverse group of people to Camas to live here, including people that are past their family-rearing ages,” Brasier said. “That’s something I’ve heard is a little harder because we do have so many taxes going towards schools, so some of the thoughtfulness that needs to happen is what is it that’s attracting people here that are not coming for the schools.”
The other attractions to Camas are the natural spaces and downtown, and so finding ways to maintain and continue those areas is really important, Brasier said.