I have served the residents of Ferndale on City Council since January 2012.
I Chair the Council Public Works Committee and represent Ferndale on the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) Board of Directors, where I am the Board Chairperson. I’m also council liaison to the Ferndale Senior Center.
I was elected Mayor Pro Tempore (the councilmember who performs the duties of Mayor in his absence) by my fellow councilmembers in January 2017. I also served as Mayor Pro Tem for two years from Jan. 2014-Dec. 2015.
In 2015, I chose to run for Mayor rather than try to retain my Council seat – I lost the election by 103 votes. In January 2016, Council appointed me to fill the remaining two years of Councilmember Mutchler’s term. In November 2016, I won reelection to Council for another four-year term.
Being on Council is about working with people who have very different views from your own and being able to set aside your personal desires to create the best possible solution for the majority of our citizens. This is why I always work to bring Ferndale residents into the decision-making process by thoroughly explaining the situation/problem and our options, as well as the possible effects of any decision(s).
As a non-partisan former scientist, I always make data-driven decisions and am not swayed by any particular political philosophy. My years on City Council are notable for listening to and working with Ferndale citizens, businesses, fellow Councilmembers, and City staff to find solutions to the often-complex problems facing our City.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m the person people call when they want to get something done or just need help navigating the City’s processes. From problems with the roads in front of their homes to dealing with the impacts of a planned trail next to their property, I’ve helped our residents work with City Staff to address and solve their problems.
Though I can’t force my fellow councilmembers to vote in any particular way, I can, and do, strongly advocate for issues and projects I believe will have a positive impact on our residents. For example, Councilmember Brent Goodrich and I fought to add a water softening system to our water treatment plant when it became obvious the hard water from the City’s new well was damaging equipment in our residents’ homes and local businesses.
I fought tirelessly to help the Friends of the Ferndale Library and the Whatcom Community Foundation build a new, modern library for our residents despite several of my fellow councilmembers questioning whether our City needed a new library or a public library at all. Despite many setbacks and roadblocks, the new Ferndale Library was completed in 2014, and it has become a hub of learning and community building for our City. In 2018, myself and Councilmember Keith Olson fought to have an air conditioning system installed in the Ferndale Library to ensure our residents can find relief from our summer hot spells.
My military and NASA experience has shown me that performing annual maintenance saves money, which is why I’m a strong proponent for performing this type of maintenance on the City’s buildings, roads, and water/sewer systems. As Chair of the Public Works Committee, I am able to continue working to increase how often this maintenance occurs and find efficiencies in the related processes. I’m also working to ensure the cost of the Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade is shared between those who live here now and our future residents, and is not paid for solely with rate increases. The ongoing water/sewer/stormwater rate study will help us fairly spread the costs of maintaining all those systems amongst our residents and business owners, ensuring no one pays for more than they use.
Preserving and Creating Jobs
Because I know Ferndale needs to preserve our existing family-wage jobs as well as help create new jobs, I took a lead role in developing the Ferndale Made marketing campaign to entice entrepreneurs searching for a place to take root and businesses looking for a better home to come to Ferndale. I have also lobbied other local elected officials to try to protect the unique family-wage jobs at Cherry Point.
Helping Our Homeless
When a house came up for sale on land the City would one day need for a road project, I asked Staff to reach out to the Interfaith Coalition about using the house for homeless transitional housing. When the home next door also came up for sale the following year, the City bought that one as well. Now both homes, and three others, are being used by Interfaith to help homeless families get their lives back on track and return to the work force.
Working for You, 365 Days a Year
It has been a privilege to serve as your councilmember for more than seven years. During this time, I’ve worked diligently to be your representative in the City’s government, ensuring your concerns and opinions are always heard.
I’ve earned the Association of Washington Cities Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership.
To better serve you, I continue to educate myself on the latest rules, regulations, and best practices for cities and elected officials.