Rud Browne and His Wanderlust

Byy On

Reading Ralph Schwartz’s fine article about the selection process in Mount Vernon on February 5 to appoint Liz Lovelett to the state Senate, Ralph notes the antics of Rud Browne. And it is worth noting how Browne has been acting this past year during his second term on our Whatcom County Council.

Rud Browne was re-elected to the Whatcom County Council in 2017 because he said he wanted to represent us on the council for another four years.

Before the election was even certified in November, Browne was introducing a motion to overturn the voting by district law for county council, with a return to the countywide voting for all council seats. Yes, that very county charter law that we voters approved in 2015 during Browne’s first term on the council. The Charter Review Commission proposed and we voters approved district-only election of council representatives. Browne did not dare show his contempt for the voters before his re-election campaign in 2017. But he lost no time after the votes were in. The rest of the council did not support him and his absurd effort is hardly known about.

But within two months of taking office in January 2018, he announced in March that he would run for the state legislative seat in the 40th district that Kristine Lytton was vacating. She had announced she would not run again. He suddenly forgot his commitment to the voters to represent them for four years on the county council. Here was a higher office opportunity.

He ran a smear campaign and lost out in the August primary, coming in fourth of six candidates. Debra Lekanoff placed first in the primary, and went on to win in November and now serves us in Olympia.

During the primary campaign, he sent out an error-ridden postcard just four days before the election in August, with cherry-picked comparisons that painted his three Democratic Party opponents as poor citizens who violate state election laws, or didn’t live in the district, and other such issues. A smear is an accusation so late in a campaign as to not allow any response from other candidates. Even true facts in a smear may have explanations that diminish or remove any negative impact, but there is no time left before the ballots are in. That is the usefulness of the smear. I wrote about this smear last August.

His post card showed he had more women endorsements than the only woman candidate, Debra Lekanoff. A clumsy attempt to show it is more important for women to support men rather than run for office themselves? Also, Debra Lekanoff, whose family has lived in the Skagit Valley for hundreds of years, if not thousands, was painted as a carpetbagger who had not lived in the district. His card seemed most focused on demeaning Lekanoff, a Native American. In the August 7 primary, he came in fourth of the four Democrats.

Now again, just one year into his four-year term on the county council, he jumped into the race for Kevin Ranker’s abandoned state senate seat. And once again became a poor sport, complaining about the selection process during the weeks of consideration. He claimed the law allowed him, as a sitting elected official, to be considered for this appointment. Well, the law is very clear. The political party of the person resigning, Democrats in this case, get to choose three candidates, however they want. They did not want Browne.

But Browne was not done. Because he is on our county council, he was one of 13 elected officials from the three counties to choose Ranker’s replacement. He was still pouting and let it get in the way of his duty as our representative to that meeting. He spoke out again, very inappropriately, about the selection process and it being unfair to him. And then refused to vote. He abstained. See Ralph Schwartz’s article on the selection of Liz Lovelett and of Browne’s antics during that process.

Perhaps Browne might want to consider actually serving out his three remaining years on our county council. Or, if he is going to again run for the next open higher office, then he might do us the favor of resigning soon enough this year so that state law allows us to elect a replacement to him this November. Then he can charge into any other elective opportunities that come along. He seems to not like being a council member. Am sure he is now eyeing mayor of Bellingham.

Rud Browne has made himself into the poster face of the self-entitled big white male who demeans others, demands he be the exception, pouts when things do not go his way, uses public meetings inappropriately to complain about his hurts, and is a poor loser. We await his next act. Guys like him do not learn.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Michael Riordan

Feb 09, 2019

I hear Jack Louws is stepping down. Maybe Rud will run for that office. He does have a lot of executive experience.


John Servais

Feb 09, 2019

Yes, you can bet your bippy he will.  County Executive  instead of Mayor of Bellingham, for sure.  


Dick Conoboy

Feb 14, 2019

I am not much interested in “executive experience” as I am not sure what the expression means.  If it means having run a business, I am not impressed.  Gov’t isn’t a business.  It is about governing in order to take care of our citizens.   In any event, I am looking for a truly progressive mind-set with actions and policies that match.  Progressive mind-sets in Whatcom County are truly rare.  As I have said before in other venues, a dinner to which true progressives around here would be invited would require a small table. 

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