More Housing Options. We need more housing options, with access for everyone. This includes market rate housing, but with more public / private partnerships to build permanently affordable housing. I co-sponsored an ordinance that Council passed in March to direct millions of dollars each year toward affordable housing in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Affordable housing is the key to economic development.
Protecting our Drinking Water. We need to protect Lake Whatcom, Bellingham’s source for dinking water. Phosphorous pollution threatens the lake, and the 50-year plan to fix this was too slow. I led our work that established a new Stormwater Utility that will accelerate our efforts to protect the lake. County residents in the watershed now help Bellingham folks fund this.
Combating Climate Change. Together, we stopped one of the world’s largest bulk coal export facilities from locating in Whatcom County. I’ve proposed changes, vetted by industry and environmentalists, that ban new refineries and require that existing refineries mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. I’m also leading our effort to lower the costs of energy efficiency improvements for businesses.
Alternatives to incarceration: Rather than pursuing a new oversized jail that voters have twice rejected, I’ve worked with our community to open a new Crisis Stabilization Facility. We’re investing in assisting law enforcement to direct people to services rather than jail, and investing in mental health services, drug court. We’re finding alternatives to having only police respond to 911 calls. There are fewer people in jail here now than 4 years ago.