We cannot afford to wait, our city must take the steps necessary to protect our community and our planet.
Thriving Local Economy, I want to see a Bellingham where good jobs are available to those who do the work, where our downtown is filled with life and activity, and where businesses compete to come to our city. Creating a thriving economy requires many hands. It means building on our history, supporting who we already are and growing and promoting it, to bring us all to a thriving future. It means supporting entrepreneurs, new ideas and small businesses.
We must collaborate with the incredible educational institutes we have, to foster innovation and create the skilled labor in the jobs we need. We also need a strong regional economic strategy through partnerships with Whatcom County, the Port of Bellingham, tribal nations, local cities, and our neighbors to the north. Through these partnerships, we can share our resources to build a thriving economy that can support our region from now to generations to come.
We need diversity in higher wages jobs, and value-added jobs that we create by supporting local businesses, education, vocational training and labor for the future of Bellingham. We must invest our money locally, clean up our city, encourage Arts, culture, outdoor recreation and tourism. Let’s leverage our location for business and tourism with access points by air, street and water.
Thriving is more than dollars and cents, it is leading with our community values, and highlighting our local creativity to show off who we are. When we invest in public services like our libraries, recreation centers, greenways and public transit, others are drawn to a location that has a strong sense of place and prioritizes a good quality of life. Bellingham is a place where people are vested in their community are being good stewards of their land, feel safe and have a caring open community. I believe we can all thrive if we embrace our future and work together.
Homelessness and Housing. I’m looking at solving this for the immediate crisis AND the long-term structural issues. Our city has a housing crisis, everyone deserves a home and it’s time to put all options on the table. We are working to update city policies to expand housing options to address homelessness in the long-term. Not only is smart growth the right thing to do, it’s what we have agreed to with the State in our 2016 comprehensive plan.
We need solutions on how to help people sooner and address the social injustices, systemic conditions and policies that are layered in this crisis. Lack of health care and mental health treatment, regressive taxes, inequity, racism, and educational access all contribute to our housing crises. To ignore these issues will only make it worse. To start, I want to use the powers of the city to enact progressive criminal justice reform as a key component of addressing the housing crisis.
Our housing needs to address affordability, accessibility and availability while balancing Neighborhood needs and character. The City of Bellingham has a serious challenge to meet the Growth Management Act commitment to accommodate 36,000 new residents by 2036, but I’ve never walked away from a problem because it was hard. Together, we will work to meet our needs for everyone to have a quality place to call home.
Environmental Solutions. With the incredible work being done by our local non-profits it is past time that the City of Bellingham should be a leader in environmental solutions. We need to address climate change and lead by example on reducing carbon emissions, energy efficiency, renewables, re-use, reducing waste, sustainable packaging, and protecting our land and water quality. Starting with protection and support for the health of Lake Whatcom, which is the source of clean drinking water for over 100,000 people.
Change always begins at the local level, we need to appreciate and promote the bountiful resources we have right here. I’ve dedicated the last 12 years of my career to energy efficiency and conservation and brought that knowledge and experience to my role on city council.