A Safe and Healthy Whatcom County for All
FOCUS ON WHATCOM COUNTY YOUTH
As members of the Whatcom County Health Board, the Whatcom County Council is focusing on the health and well-being of children from birth to age eight and their families. By putting our resources into building a solid foundation for young children in our community, we are committing to their healthy development through programs in nutrition, education, and the environment.
DEVELOPING A MORE EQUITABLE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The people of Whatcom County value treatment over incarceration. As a member of the Criminal Justice and Safety Committee, I will continue to work with other public officials to implement programs that will bring about reform instead of incarceration for misdemeanor offenses.
I will continue to work with the county prosecutor, law enforcement agencies, the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, and my County Council colleagues to find alternatives to jail. Increasing access to treatment programs and the drug court will reduce incarceration rates.
SOLUTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS
Bringing about permanent solutions for homelessness requires commitment and resources from our Whatcom County community. I will continue to be involved in the collaboration of our county and city governments, the Port of Bellingham, non-profit agencies, and local businesses to address this issue.
This winter’s severe weather showed elected officials that we need leadership in order to put in place the proper facilities, management and transportation to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Going forward, we can work together to provide emergency and permanent solutions, and can provide protection and housing for all residents.
Many Whatcom County families are having difficulty finding affordable housing. We need to provide solutions for making and keeping housing affordable throughout our county. As a Councilmember, I will support the creative, well-planned-out, fiscally responsible, visionary programs the community brings to the table.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES
While supporting our current agricultural areas, educational institutions, and businesses, we can seek industries that will provide the types of jobs we wish to bring into our county. If we leave development to chance, we run the risk of losing the quality of life we value. Collaborating with local governments, businesses, and community organizations, we can work together to guide Whatcom County’s growth to provide family-wage jobs for ourselves and future generations.
As a member of the Business and Advisory Committee, we strive to create a climate where “new businesses are encouraged to start and existing businesses recognize the value of retaining and expanding, creating jobs, and increasing resources for all members of the community.” As a Council Member, I will listen and seek advice from this committee to learn what we can do as a community to support current businesses and attract innovative new businesses to our county.
By working together with the Port of Bellingham and the Public Utilities District (PUD), the Whatcom County Council can help provide fast, reliable internet service throughout the entire county. Using funds from our Economic Development Investment (EDI) Program will allow us to implement service to farmers using the latest technology and permit more residents to start and maintain businesses by allowing streaming, education, teleconferences, and e-commerce. (This fits directly with the goals of the EDI Program http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/1020/Economic-Development-Investment-Program).
We can work together with individuals, businesses, community organizations and government agencies to set our priorities and plan growth with the goal of a carbon-negative economy as our basis. Educating our community on long-term environmental and economic benefits is crucial.
To move to decarbonized County operations, all future county government buildings should be built with a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and consider incorporating solar power. When purchasing new county vehicles and maintenance equipment, we can seek to purchase the most environmentally-friendly and most durable.
Water is our county’s most valuable commodity. We need to protect Lake Whatcom as the drinking water source for over 100,000 county residents, prevent pollution in our streams, rivers, and bays, and assure an adequate water supply for environmental, agricultural, industrial, and residential needs.
Lake Whatcom is the water supply for Bellingham and part of the county. Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham are partnering to protect this vital resource, and I will support measures for improving the water quality of Lake Whatcom. The protection plan includes public education, stormwater management, and land use and development protections. The Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program (HIP) provides incentives to homeowners to minimize storm runoff. The City and County also partner to purchase and preserve land around the lake with the Lake Whatcom Watershed Land Acquisition Program.
Whatcom County’s public lands and recreational opportunities are an important part for our economy, health, and community. According to the Economic Contribution of Outdoor Recreation to Whatcom County Report, recreation provides an economic contribution of $585 million annually. The more land we preserve now, the more we can maintain the beauty and natural resources before growth and development make the purchase of larger natural areas impossible. Finding creative ways to fund and purchase parkland will help our community, economy, and maintain beautiful outdoor opportunities.