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.

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!