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Whatcom County Council At-Large At-Large Position A

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  • Barry Buchanan (NP)

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    Mary Kay Robinson (NP) Real Estate Broker

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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?

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Phone 360-303-1911
Email familiesformarykay@gmail.com
YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL-xJL7FRK4
Town where you live Bellingham
Experience (300 characters max) 25+ years bank management/real estate experience, advocate for affordable housing, appointed by Pete Kremen & reappointed by Jack Louws to the Whatcom County Ethics Commission, founding board member of Communities in Schools, City Club board member, 2016 President WCAR, LAW Advocates board member
After years of testifying before council on affordable housing issues and land use issues, I decided that I could have a greater positive impact on the daily lives of community members by running for County Council At-Large position. I believe strongly in the American Dream of home-ownership. Homeowners are vested in the community and build relationships with neighbors. That kind of communication builds trust within a community, reduces crime and supports the healthy development of our children.
1) Housing - we need a wide variety of housing that is affordable to all. Businesses looking to locate here look at our lack of affordable housing and decide to look elsewhere. This is a problem. 2) Family Wage Jobs - we need to keep the good jobs we have here in our county and look to expand good paying jobs. One way to do that right away is to spur the home building industry with policies that encourage a variety of housing. 3) Balancing economic success with environmental stewardship
A focus on creating more housing supply and a variety of housing options will keep the rapid price increases for rents and homes in check and allow time for wages to catch up in terms of housing affordability. Plus, the housing sector has many good paying jobs from electricians to plumbers to carpenters etc. The lack of land supply drives up land prices and makes it much more difficult for groups like Habitat for Humanity and Kulshan Community Land Trust to do the great work that they do.
One of the biggest issues I see is the seasonal flooding that occurs by Slater Road. I have been diverted many times when traveling in the area due to road closures because of flooding. We could spend money on raising Slater Road OR, we could look at building a reservoir to capture and store that excess water in the winter and spring. Then we could channel that water back to the Nooksack river during the summer months when the in-stream flow is lower. I would advocate that we use the flood taxing authority for just that, flood mitigation and not divert that money to other non-flood related projects. The county could then apply for grants from the Department of Ecology for the reservoir project. This could also help solve the issue with the well moratorium. Providing mitigation to the river during the low in-stream flow months is a central issue in the Hirst decision. Creating a two-fold benefit from one project would be a wise use of tax payer dollars.
Investing in our senior population is just smart business. Programs that maintain the health & fitness of our seniors pay dividends back to the community. Good fitness & health allow seniors to be active, shop at stores, go to restaurants and support a variety of cultural attractions which helps our economy. Strong programs can inspire seniors to take advantage of volunteer opportunities. Survey responses from all of the county's senior centers is overwhelming positive. Hard to beat those result
I have heard Sheriff Elfo speak on their approach to immigration issues. He talks about how there are plenty of border patrol agents in our area and that his department doesn't need to take on that issue. The Sheriff's department cooperates with immigration officials but lets them do their job so that his deputies can do their job. This issue was recently brought up at a council meeting and the council agreed the Sheriff was doing a good job in that area. We should continue that same approach.
Providing services to break the cycle of homelessness is key. That's why I support the Light House Mission and that's why I am proud to be a board member of LAW Advocates which has the Access ID program. ID is a simple thing for us but for the homeless it is a huge obstacle. Volunteers get the appropriate paperwork complete to get a state ID. That ID allows the homeless person to cash their check, open a bank account and access services and begin the process of putting their life back in order.

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