Hello Northwest Citizen Readers,
Since NWCitizen was one of the first places that gave me room to grow here in Whatcom County, I figured it was only fair that I return to your pages this year as a candidate.
For those of you just meeting me, hello! My name is Riley Sweeney. For many years, I was a political journalist here on NWCitizen and then on my own site, The Political Junkie. However, if your last memory of me was as an occasionally humorous blogger, let me update you on the last eight years of my life. As they say in the movie business - cue the montage music!
In 2015, I was hired by the City of Ferndale as their communication officer which I took to like a duck to water. I wrote plenty of press releases, answered resident concerns, and tackled big projects. I recruited and coordinated volunteers for the construction of Star Park, the largest volunteer project in the history of Ferndale. I built a parks and recreation program from the ground up that now boasts over 5,000 attendees a year and features such unique events as Mystery in the Park and Operation Splashmob. I spearheaded the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force that developed boots-on-the-ground policy solutions for protecting our most vulnerable community members and I continue to serve with all the energy, enthusiasm, and whimsy you have come to expect.
Steady employment with the city of Ferndale allowed me to buy a house out in the county next to some gorgeous raspberry fields where my wife and I are now raising our two beautiful children and semi-successfully growing vegetables in our garden. Our eldest just started at Irene Reither Elementary in 2022 and we love our new school community.
Okay, so why are you running for School Board?
As a proud Meridian parent, I'm impressed by the district’s dedicated staff and teachers who give it their all despite difficult budgets, a global shutdown, and the growing impacts of tough economic times. But they need our help and I am ready to fight for the health and well-being of our schools and children.
Our teachers are hanging on by their fingertips right now. Schools should be places where individuals are respected and creativity nurtured; where teachers are able to encourage inquisitive minds; where facts and science prevail - and the partisan politics dividing our country are not invited to the table. Schools should be safe places to learn, share, create, and build success without fear.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case, which is why I am running for Meridian School Board.
I will advocate for the salaries, support staff, and equipment our schools desperately need so we can recruit and retain quality educators. I will fight for arts, theater, and enrichment programs that engage our children and inspire the next generation. I will fight for robust school libraries that provide the wide range of information our growing youth require.
As Ferndale’s recreation coordinator, I create quality experiences for communities to come together. As a communication professional and former journalist, I've been facilitating difficult conversations in the public eye for over 15 years. I will bring these skills, passion, and commitment to the school board.
With your help, we can make Meridian a place where ALL students and families are welcome, now and into the future.
Please vote for me, J. Riley Sweeney, for Meridian School Board, Position 5. More about my experience and values, and how you can get involved at www.sweeneyforschoolboard.com.
Thank you for reading and see you on the campaign trail this year!
Editor note: All candidates for elective public office in Whatcom County are invited to submit a statement for posting on NW Citizen. Statements can be up to 600 words and include a photo of the candidate. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org