I've lived in Whatcom County 21 years and raised my kids here on a small working farm. I have devoted my professional life to big causes. First as an engineer but now as a policy leader.
I’ve wanted to serve in local government my whole life. My Dad suggested I work in the ‘real world’ first so I worked in big and small companies as: manager, salesman, engineer, and entrepreneur. About 7 years ago I started by applying for and being appointed as a County Planning Commissioner. Then I ran for and was elected as a Public Utility District Commissioner (PUD). I’ve been learning how to serve the community better and better. I want to continue doing this. I want to get greater County support for broadband and clean energy that I initiated at the PUD. I want to improve how advisory committees work so that they actually capture the wants and needs of the community. Both commissions I have served on are running significantly better than when I joined them.
I've worked with our local governments and leaders to implement new policies. I have: spearheaded Whatcom PUD's adoption of countywide broadband; re-envisioned and established new Cherry Point land use practices that protected the environment and jobs; and prioritized and passed new Wind Energy Codes. I have done the work and earned the trust of our leaders and organizations and will leverage that trust for all of you.
Whatcom County homelessness and our approach to the justice system are the top two issues our community is facing. I have spent many hours with people working on the front lines with these vulnerable populations. I have also personally experienced violence on the street and provided aid to individuals on the street. Some community members are feeling less safe in the last few years. Many community leaders are struggling for solutions and saying that “we have to do something”. Right now the approach Whatcom County is taking is to embrace more incarceration and more sweeps.
I have published plans in two documents: “The Big Lift” and “Reimagining Public Safety”. These documents are linked off of my policy website VoteAtul.info. I welcome input on all my policy ideas. I am not trying to be right. I am trying to do my job. These ideas are bold but we need bold action. The core of the “Big Lift” is a guarantee of shelter. Why guarantee shelter? Because letting people squander on the street costs us more money and trauma. You simply cannot throw people away. I want to “Reimagine Public Safety” by respecting our first responders needs (Police, Emergency, Social Workers, etc…). They need a place to take people that provides a ‘warm handoff’. We need minimum security facilities to contain and redirect people into services (cost less, faster).
On the County Council I will have three areas of focus: Resilience, Livability, and Safety. Our community is in a crisis around housing, homelessness, and our justice system. We are facing a water adjudication. Our climate is changing. Whatcom needs seasoned leaders demonstrating maturity, dedication, creativity and persistence. I take a collaborative and positive approach but I challenge others when public interest demands.
I have several patents but I still raise my own meat, eggs, and vegetables. I developed electric vehicle and renewable diesel technology but I still bike commute. I like simple solutions. VoteAtul.com.
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