News of the past week’s outreach in the County!

Last week’s outreach included another visit to San Juan Island on Wednesday during which I attended 4 meetings and the Annual Luncheon of the Economic Development Council. My first meeting of the day was with the Friday Harbor Town Administrator, Denise Kulseth. We discussed her role as Town Administrator, a job she assumed in February of this year, and the distinct yet overlapping mandates of Friday Harbor Town and San Juan County.

The Annual Luncheon hosted by the Economic Development Council was well-attended and included a representative of the County Council (Cindy Wolf), the Friday Harbor Town mayor Raymond Jackson, WA State representatives, and the Community Liaison from Rick Larsen’s Office. The theme of the event was ‘Resiliency’ and how San Juan County can move beyond the significant impacts experienced from the COVID pandemic, to recovery and renewal, as well as addressing bigger challenges including affordable housing, sustainable economic growth, lack of childcare, and viable local career opportunities for young people who live here. It was a stimulating discussion and a good opportunity to share information, resources and contacts.

Later in the afternoon I was able to meet with the Director of the Department of Community Development, David Williams, and the Director of Health and Community Services, Mark Tompkins. Those meetings were an opportunity to learn about their departmental priorities moving into 2023 and to gain an understanding of the functions of their departments.

My final meeting of the day was with Council Member Christine Minney. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with her for the first time and gain some perspective on her experience of the first two years in office.

Also last week I had the opportunity to meet with the Executive Directors of the Family Resource Centers located on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands via Zoom. It was an informative discussion of the challenges they are faced with as they function as a critical extension and partner of County departments including Health and Community Services. The work these organizations do to support our island communities is invaluable!

So, my learning journey continues as I move into the last few weeks before the November 8th elections. My local conversations with constituents also continue from which I am gaining valuable insights. I am looking forward to more meetings with people across the County in the coming weeks.

With thanks again to all who are taking the time to meet with me and share their experience and knowledge!

Coming home to Lopez on the ‘on time’ Yakima.