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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Whatcom County Council District 3

Term: 4 yrSalary: $30,660The county council is the legislative branch of government, and it enacts ordinances, adopts the budget, and exercises oversight of the administration. The council can override a veto by the executive with a two-thirds majority vote or greater. Its role is similar to the role of a city council in a mayor-council city. Whatcom has a seven-member nonpartisan council.The County Council exercises its legislative power by adoption and enactment of ordinances and resolutions. The Council is elected to adopt plans for the present and future development of the county; conduct public hearings on matters of public concern; create county government policy; create land use rules; enact public safety laws; establish the compensation for all county officers and employees and provide for the reimbursement of expenses; establish, combine, and abolish non-elective administrative offices and executive departments and establish their powers and responsibilities, except as otherwise provided for in the Whatcom County Home Rule Charter; levy taxes, appropriate revenue, and adopt the county budget; set speed limits, no-shooting zones, and animal control regulations.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Rebecca Boonstra (NP) Executive Director, Mt. Baker Chamber of Commerce

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    Tyler Byrd (NP) Business Owner

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for the council?

What are three major issues facing your county?

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

What are the issues surrounding your county's infrastructure?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your county should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How do you think your county could best respond to homelessness?

Phone (360) 305-5351
Email rebeccaboonstra4whatcom@gmail.com
Town where you live Maple Falls
Experience (300 characters max) Executive Director, Mt. Baker Chamber of Commerce. Marketing Committee, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. Commissioner, Columbia Valley Parks & Recreation District. Board of Directors, Opportunity Council. Chair, East Whatcom Community Council. Volunteer, East Whatcom Mobile Food Pantry.
I’ve spent years working in the community, both paid and as a volunteer. My first leadership opportunity was as PTA president at Kendall Elementary School. This was my starting point, since then I’ve been working toward a position on the County Council. I supported the change from 3 council districts to 5 fair and equal districts because I want to see authentic representation from each district. I’ve been impressed by the current council and have cheered on many of their actions.
The three major issues facing my county are: jobs, water and housing.
Jobs. When I reach out to my neighbors in District 3 I hear a plea for living wage jobs more than anything else. We must to find ways to increase jobs. I will work with high schools and other organizations to create apprenticeship programs. Additionally, we must protect jobs at Cherry Point. I am concerned that if Whatcom County exports unrefined fossil fuels that we will export many living wage jobs right along with it.
Improvements must be made to our county’s high speed internet and cell phone services. Visitors are often surprised that their GPS has stopped working or that their cell phone has no service. This a problem for students and small businesses. Law enforcement has reduced access to their technology in rural areas. Geography does play a significant role in this lack of service, we need to find ways to increase access.
I know that good support and care of senior citizens is sometimes overlooked in our community. I plan to work alongside the Northwest Regional Council to learn about the specific needs of our aging neighbors. As a council member it is important to me to support these members of our community.
Whatcom County continues to be a place where many workers, both documented and undocumented, are employed. We should follow the city of Bellingham’s lead with regard to federal immigration laws. We should make sure that a path to citizenship is clearly identified and that people have the support they need to become citizens. People must feel comfortable reporting crime. I don’t want criminals to be overlooked because victims and witnesses may fear revealing their citizenship status.
There are many moving parts in any program to alleviate and end homelessness. I believe that safe, affordable housing is a human right. I will not support measures that will criminalize homelessness. I will continue to work with Opportunity Council to learn the causes of homelessness and find ways to provide a safety net. We need to increase housing opportunities throughout Whatcom County in addition to the services provided in Bellingham.
Phone (360) 527-6345
Email Tyler@VoteTylerByrd.com
Town where you live District 3, Whatcom County
Experience (300 characters max) President/CEO, Red Rokk Interactive (2008-current); Owner/Business Mentor, Invent Coworking/Incubator (2014-current); Director of Commercial Lending, Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union (2007-2009); Co-Founder, Monster Pod Technologies (2005-2007); Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley (2005-2006)
I’m running to provide a perspective that is missing from the current County Council. I believe all people in Whatcom County should feel heard and valued. The issues in District 3 are different than other more urban areas of our community but no less important. I believe my unique mix of skills -- financial and budget management, job and business creation, innovative problem solving, and relationship development – will allow me to best represent the people in District 3.
1) The assault on our industrial and resource-based economy, with job loss potential hurting families across the county while increasing the cost of living for all of us. 2) The lack of a safe jail facility sized to current population needs and built with space designated for alternative services to reduce recidivism. 3) Unbalanced water regulation and lack of leadership by the County Council to work with landowners to develop a solution for those affected by the Hirst decision.
No one is more important than another. They are all equally critical.
I’ve already mentioned the crumbling county jail; the obvious need to build a new facility is long overdue. The county’s largest infrastructure is its 1,000-mile road system, to which I’m committed to providing excellent maintenance and improvement where needed.
Whatcom County has maintained a long-standing commitment to seniors through its Parks Department management of Senior Centers. I want to see services provided through these facilities that assure in-home assistance (Meals On Wheels), as well as counseling and assistance regarding access to state and federal senior programs.
I believe we should provide compassion at the community level for refugees and immigrants, while upholding all laws and regulations.
The Whatcom County Health Department should remain integrated with social service agencies, service and treatment providers, and other agencies to address individual needs in a way that is simultaneously compassionate while requiring individual accountability for people accessing social service programs. Publicly funded “Housing First” programs can be supported as long as there are sideboards that create incentives for self-sustaining behaviors and decisions.

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