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Water Issues for Our County

Water use,availability and quality are the major issues facing our County right now. The new Supreme Court decision (Hirst Decision) has brought in new complexities for the Whatcom County (and many other counties) to manage the water issues, whereas it was primarily handled at the State level by Dept. of Ecology and State Legislature. Water is the essence of life and it impacts rural housing, farming, tribal rights, aqua culture and drinking water quality as well as wild life and our environment. We need long term policies through prudent planning for sustainable farming, dairies, aqua culture, tribal rights, cattle, drinking water, and industry. The issues in Whatcom County are unique and need local solutions.This will take all the stakeholders working together to resolve this important issue by sitting around a table, not expensive legal proceedings.

County Jail Project

I believe that new jail infrastructure is needed. More we wait more expensive it will become. The current jail is inhumane, inadequate and unsafe. It is also a distressing workplace for all the Deputies and other jail employees who work there every day. We cannot continue to operate in this manner and keep spending tax money for in-sustainable maintenance and upgrade projects.
I am very encouraged by current work being accomplished by the Incarceration Prevention Reduction Task Force and the County Jail Stakeholders Workgroup. We, collectively, as citizens of Whatcom County, need these open and transparent conversations to find most suitable solutions that meet the current and future needs of the Law and Justice Department. I know whatever decisions we make will not satisfy everyone, but we do need to move forward. No action is very expensive.
I would also like people to know that cost of Jail Operations and Sheriff’s department will cost us over a billion dollar in next 30 years. A new jail and the associated costs should not be taken lightly and we need to be as transparent as possible.

Family Wage Jobs

I have a proven record of facilitating local students to get over a thousand family wage jobs at local businesses of Whatcom and Skagit Counties. As a Dean at Bellingham Tech, I created the Process Technology and Electro Mechanical Technology Degree Programs, which have been very successful The employment rate is 95% and starting wage is $25 per hour. I envision that our region with highest berry production can create value-added processing and export local products in Asia in big way. I have the vision and ability to make this happen.

Affordable Housing

I am convinced that we must bring fresh and innovative ideas to reduce the housing costs, which are affecting the lower half of income earners of our population. We cannot keep tinkering with the 100 year old land use land zoning laws to meet the economic realities of 21st century. I challenge the realtors, developers, planners and all politician (City and County) to listen to the pay attention to the future needs and make drastic changes to zoning and land use. Just putting tax money aside for low income housing is not the solution. We must make policy decision, which market place can sustain and provide affordable housing for all people.
What good is the slogan ” Whatcom County is the best place to live” if average wage earner family cannot afford a home in Whatcom County. We need a new Housing Commission (All Cities and County) representing all stakeholders from housing industry, realtors, government bodies and citizen groups to create better policies for economic development, land use and zoning and create opportunities for our kids to have family wage jobs to afford homes in this County. These are not partisan issues and need cooperation from all citizens and parties to come together to create better living opportunities for our future generations. That will be the legacy of our generation.

Protecting 100,000 Acres of Agricultural Land:

I come from a generational farming family and have a special affinity for farmers and farmland. I believe that we must support sustainable farming for current and future farmers by creating value added processing locally for our berries and dairies. I would like to see Whatcom County to be showcased as The Highest Berry Producing County in the United States.

Protecting the Watershed for our Lakes

Whatcom County is a beautiful area that we are blessed to call home. It is our collective responsibility to the future generations to preserve and protect the natural environment, availability of clean water, healthy lakes and secure clean watershed. I voted for a $50 million joint program between Whatcom County and City of Bellingham to preserve and improve the Lake Whatcom Watershed. I pledge to work my best to handover these natural assets to our kids and grandkids in the same pristine conditions, if not better, than we received from our grandparents.