Two weeks until election day (Nov. 8)

Two weeks until election day (Nov. 8)

Two Weeks!

The past week was another very informative one that included attending via Zoom the community outreach sessions of the SJC Ferry Advisory Committee, and discussions with residents of Shaw, Lopez and Orcas Islands about issues that are of interest and concern to them, now and in the future.

As you might appreciate, these issues are big and significant ones we all share, and they are featured on my website: reliable ferry transportation; a viable and sustainable local economy; affordable housing; and environmental sustainability in the midst of climate changes we are experiencing at our doorsteps, among others including care for our SJC senior’s population, and our thriving youth. It is remarkable how unique and yet similar the issues of our islands are in this county we all share as our home. 

The winds of the winter season are coming.

The winds of the winter season are coming

In the two weeks ahead of the elections on November 8th I am looking forward to more conversations with county constituents and elected and appointed officials working for our county government. I will be making my final visit to Friday Harbor before Election Day this Thursday, October 27th.

On Saturday, October 29th I will host an open ‘Meet and Greet’ with constituents of Lopez Island at our local library from 12:00 – 2:00 pm. If you would like a 15-minute session there will be sign-up sheet, or we can make it a free and open-ended discussion for all who show up.

I would like to take this opportunity again to thank all the individuals in San Juan County who encouraged me to run and who are supporting me on the early stages of this journey. This has and does mean so much to me!

See you again at the end of the week for my next ‘Events’ post!

With an abundance of gratitude!

3 weeks until election day!

3 weeks until election day!

More meaningful outreach and news! And only 3 weeks until election day!

This past week of outreach was another busy one!

It was wonderful to attend the Tuesday Seniors Luncheon at Woodman Hall on Lopez to introduce myself and engage in conversation. I look forward to making a strong connection with our seniors’ community across the County.

On Wednesday I was invited to attend the weekly meeting of County Government officials / department heads (elected and appointed). It was great to make this initial introduction and to put names to faces! I look forward to meeting more of them in the weeks ahead.

Later in the week on Friday I had the opportunity to meet with Faith Van de Putte who works for the San Juan County Agricultural Resources.  We had a chance to discuss the work of the Agricultural Resources Committee and its final inputs to the ongoing update of the SJC Comprehensive Plan. I also met with the Director of Public Works, Colin Huntemer and Council Member Cindy Wolf.  Both were visiting  Lopez last Friday to see the sites of prospective public works projects in the coming year.

Celebrating Delores Foss and 43 years as a volunteer with Lopez 4H

Celebrating Delores Foss and 43 years as a volunteer with Lopez 4H

Saturday, as a community volunteer I was very happy to help organize the first visit of the new 4H San Juan County WSU Extension Coordinator, Jennifer Krembs to promote the re-growth of 4H on Lopez Island. We have so much potential to grow 4H on Lopez and across the County after a few difficult years during the COVID-19 pandemic!

By the way, in case you didn’t see it, here is a link to the Seattle Times article on how San Juan County fared across the State and country in its management of COVID-19. We should feel proud of our county government and recognize all that it did to keep us safe!

Finally, I will be on Shaw Island on Sunday, October 23 for a ‘meet and greet’ from 1:30 – 3:00 pm at the Community Building! I’m very much looking forward to this!

Please be in contact if you would like to connect!!!
Four weeks to Election Day!

Four weeks to Election Day!

With every meeting I learn more

4 weeks to election day!

4 weeks to election day!

This past week I had the opportunity to continue conversations with council members Jamie Stephens and Cindy Wolf as well as exchanges with both Lopez and San Juan constituents. With every meeting and conversation, I learn more and appreciate so many points of view.

It is increasingly clear that the four issues I identified on my website: ferries, the local economy, affordable housing, and climate change – link to so many critical local issues at the top of everyone’s minds.

Last week, the Co-Chair of the Ferry Advisory Committee, Jim Corenman, reached out to me to introduce himself and inform me of upcoming FAC meetings Oct. 11, 15 and 18.  The public is encouraged to attend. Information about these meetings is on our county website. Our ferry system is indeed in crisis and there is further work to be done to mobilize our community to advocate with the State for our critical needs for adequate local transportation.
My conversations have been rich with thoughtful ideas, suggestions and concerns that I am registering. I am so grateful for this! An outreach campaign scheduling change for Lopez Islanders to note: due to scheduling conflicts I am re-scheduling the Friday ‘Meet and Greets’ at the Lopez Library I had planned for the next 3 weeks to one only on Saturday, October 29 from 12:00 – 2:00 PM. If needed, I can schedule individual 15-minute time slots or we can meet together as folks come for conversation.
News of the past week’s outreach in the County!

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

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.

Visit to the North Shore property (Glenwood Inn) on Orcas Island

Visit to the North Shore property (Glenwood Inn) on Orcas Island

Since my previous post last week I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion with a member of our diverse and vibrant Lopez Island Latinx community, Karina Cerda. Karina works with the Lopez Island Family Resource Community Center as a Community Supports Associate with our Spanish speaking community. We are making plans for me to have an initial ‘meet and greet’ in October that will be in Spanish (with interpretation) with the Lopez Latinx community to discuss local issues. I am very grateful to Stephanie Cariker who also works with LIFRC for her assistance with interpretation and translation!

On Saturday I attended the public Open House, hosted by the SJC Land Bank Commission and the San Juan Preservation Trust, at the newly acquired North Shore property (Glenwood Inn) on Orcas Island. It was wonderful to be introduced to the vision these two like-minded organizations have for this property and to experience walking on this important land and shoreline that they are helping to preserve. It was a beautiful day!

In the past week I have also been witness to and experienced first hand the enormous frustrations and impacts of the ongoing dysfunction of our WSF system – this is an issue that is at the forefront of my mind going forward and one which I plan on giving much attention to as a staunch advocate for San Juan County in the future.

 

There was a recent opinion piece in the Seattle Times written by Shaw Islander Alex MacLeod that paints a picture of the challenges we are facing .

Please stay tuned for an ‘events’ post this Friday!

 
 
Busy with Outreach to Islanders

Busy with Outreach to Islanders

This past week has been very busy with outreach to islanders and organizations across the county.

Highlights included travelling to San Juan Island on Sept. 14th to meet SJC Land Bank staff and visit three preserves on San Juan, followed by a meeting with a small gathering of San Juan Islanders.

On Sept. 15th I attended the monthly OPALCO Board meeting via Zoom to discuss energy issues in our County. A number of fellow Lopezians have reached out to me to share their issues and concerns prompting a few small gatherings, and I conducted a ‘meet and greet’ at the Lopez Farmers’ Market on Sept. 17th. Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend in person the regular County Council meeting where the Comprehensive Plan updates were discussed, followed by a meeting with the San Juan Island Lions Club, and a one-on-one with the candidate for San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney, Amy Vira.

All of these meetings and interactions are educating me to the wide range of issues that constituents are focused on and concerned about: the enormous challenges with our ferry system, concerns about climate change and sustainability, lack of affordable housing, and accountability in our local government. I am grateful to be able to have these interactions as they inform my understanding of what is expected of the County Council and our local government in the future.

More outreach events are planned in the weeks ahead!