Majority of Council Endorses Watson for Mayor

Release Date: Sept. 17, 2015
(Updated Oct. 8 to include quote from Teamsters Union)

Ferndale City Councilmembers Endorse Watson for Mayor

The majority of Ferndale City Council announced today they are endorsing fellow councilmember Cathy Watson to be the next Mayor of Ferndale. Councilmembers Mel Hansen, Brent Goodrich, Keith Olson, and Paul Ingram believe Watson is the best person to lead Ferndale into the future.

“I am pleased to endorse Cathy for the position of Ferndale Mayor,” said councilmember Mel Hansen. “I have served with Cathy for the last four years and have found her to be always prepared, and her decision making is always what is best for the City of Ferndale.”

“During her four years on Council, Cathy has earned my trust and respect,” added Councilmember Brent Goodrich. “I trust her to be Ferndale’s next mayor and to lead our city with dignity and respect for others.”

“I am very proud to endorse Cathy Watson for Mayor of Ferndale,” Councilmember Keith Olson said. “Cathy works hard to find common ground with the six other councilmembers and always finds a way to make it happen. That’s the kind of mayor Ferndale has had for the last eight years and the kind we need now. I also commend her on not accepting a single penny to finance her campaign.”

“It has been my great pleasure to serve on this council with Cathy,” said Councilmember Paul Ingram. “She is the only candidate with the integrity, honesty, leadership and proven problem solving experience we need to move Ferndale forward. Cathy is a brilliant, proven administrator I am proud to endorse.”

“I’m so honored to have the support of my peers on Council,” Watson responded. “Though we may occasionally disagree on policy and solutions, we always find a way to move forward together and do what’s best for the people of Ferndale.

Watson has also been endorsed by the Teamsters Union, which represents more than half of Ferndale City staff, and the Whatcom County Association of Realtors, a 500-member nonprofit organization founded in 1908 to serve the real estate community of Whatcom County.

“With Cathy Watson, the voters have a unique opportunity to elect an intelligent, dynamic mayor who will work diligently to represent all the citizens of Ferndale,” said Rich Ewing, Secretary/Treasurer of Teamsters Local 231.

Watson has served on Council since January 2012 and was chosen by her fellow councilmembers to be Mayor Pro Tempore in January 2014 after only two years on Council. The Mayor Pro Tempore stands in for the Mayor whenever he is absent.

In addition to being Mayor Pro Tempore, Watson is Chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee and a member of the Public Works Committee. She is also Council liaison to the Ferndale Arts Commission and the Ferndale Service Cooperative Board. Watson is also committed to community service, volunteering with the American Red Cross; Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service, Boys & Girls Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Kiwanis Club; Friends of the Ferndale Library; Ferndale School District Graduation Advisory Committee and Vista Middle School Girls Robotics Club; and the Whatcom Unified Emergency Management Team.

Before moving to Ferndale, Watson worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she managed nine space shuttle and space station experiment teams helping scientists determine how living in space affected astronauts’ physical and mental health. Watson is also a veteran of the Coast Guard (active duty and reserves) and Navy reserves; a former NASA scientist, public affairs officer, and Webmaster; and middle school math and science teacher.

More information on Watson’s skills and experience is available on her campaign Web site,


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Adapt or Die

I just returned from the annual conference of the Association of Washington Cities and came away with many good ideas for revitalizing Ferndale and preparing us for the future. If there was an overall theme to the presentations, though, it was that cities must be prepared to adapt to a world that’s evolving at an exponential pace.

Think about how much and how fast the world changed during your grandparents’ lives. Now imagine how much and how fast the world will change for a child born today. The babies of 2015 will have jobs that don’t exist now and they’ll have dozens of them in their lifetimes. To successfully compete in the 21st century global economy, Ferndale’s children will need to be comfortable with a pace of change that would have brought their great grandparents to their knees.

So how do we prepare them and ourselves to thrive in this rapidly changing world? We can start by thinking regionally as a County, using the methodology of Economic Gardening. Economic gardening is premised on the idea that entrepreneurs drive the economy, e.g., Steve Jobs at Apple, Elon Musk at Tesla and SpaceX. Though it is not a panacea that will solve all our problems, economic gardening engenders a problem-solving mindset and a level of risk taking essential for fact-based solutions.

I believe the economic survival, indeed the physical survival of our Nation, will require all of us to think more like entrepreneurs, constantly reinventing ourselves and our communities to quickly adapt to global economic trends. We must be willing to take the initiative to solve our problems locally with little or no help from the State or Federal governments, create jobs using our own local strengths and talents, and build community and a sense of place for our residents, all while taking risks some will be uncomfortable with.

And when I say risk, I don’t mean skiing in avalanche prone back country, but rather the risk of taking on debt to build a library when many people said such facilities were no longer necessary. The Ferndale Public Library is now the center of learning and continuing education in our community, and will serve the educational needs of all our residents for the next 30 years. But what if we had listened to the naysayers and not built the library?

Risk means be willing to solve problems by taking actions that would have been unheard of a decade ago, such as upgrading our wastewater treatment plant to turn its output into drinking water rather than piping it into the Nooksack as we’ve always done. Risk means be willing to invest time and money in an entrepreneur’s idea so they stay in Whatcom County, creating jobs and economic growth here rather than taking their idea elsewhere.

Overall, we must become more willing to accept change. I know that’s hard, but only those cities, indeed nations, best able to adapt to the tremendous changes coming to our world will survive and thrive. Ferndale, Whatcom County, Washington and the United States of America will either adapt or we will simply fade away. The speaker from the National League of Cities said it best – “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Learn More About What Others are Doing:

Center for Advanced Manufacturing (Puget Sound)

Community Resources for Business (Bellingham)

Economic Gardening

Kauffman Foundation One Million Cups Initiative

National League of Cities

Palouse Knowledge Corridor

WWU Small Business Development Center

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