I'm running to be the next Public Utility District commissioner to bring new ideas and a fresh approach. The incumbent has been serving in this office for 32 years and it is time for new energy and innovative thinking. I bring a background as a general contractor and leadership experience on other community boards including the Sunnyland Elementary School PTA.
My wife, Hannah, and I moved to Whatcom County for a higher quality of life for our family. We love this community and believe that it is important to give back to ensure that the blessings we enjoy are passed on to our children. The Public Utility District is a little-known, but crucial player in our community's economic and sustainable development. The Public Utility District provides water and electricity to some of the largest companies in Whatcom County. As a businessperson, I understand the needs of industry and the importance of the jobs that it provides.
The Public Utility District also plays an important role in planning for water allocation countywide. Many of the farmers in Whatcom County live in uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to draw water for crops next year. In some cases this uncertainty has lasted for decades. Growing up in an agricultural state, I understand the needs of farmers and the resources that need to be made available to them.
And at the same time, the Public Utility District is also responsible for providing drinking water to several communities in Whatcom County. Recently, the City of Ferndale had to leave the Public Utility District system because of high costs. Switching to groundwater from the Public Utility District surface water supply has come with significant challenges, including concerns about the taste and quality of hard water.
I believe that with a more proactive approach to water rates, these challenges can be addressed. Our community can meet all of these needs with careful planning. I will work with farmers, tribes and industry alike to arrive at a clear, sensible and fair water policy, while still protecting the resources we hold so dear.
I also believe that the Public Utility District can be a more effective agent for economic growth and job creation. For example, we have an opportunity to increase jobs in Whatcom County through renewable energy development. By working with stakeholders including local businesses, the energy company and the industries that the Public Utility District provides power to, we can support the development of clean energy sources which will provide jobs right now and provide affordable energy for the long term. These are the kinds of innovations that I would like to bring to the Public Utility District if you will vote for me.
The current commissioner, Paul Kenner, was first appointed to office in 1980, the same year that Ronald Regan became president. I'll be the first to thank him for his service to the community. But the county and the Public Utility District have changed dramatically in the last three decades. It is time for new ideas and a fresh approach.
Brad L. Stone is a candidate for District 2 commissioner for Whatcom County Public Utility District No. 1. The district has countywide authority to supply electric and water services. It is governed by a three-member nonpartisan board of commissioners who serve staggered six-year terms. Commissioners are paid $1,300 a month, as set by state law based on water sales. District 2 covers northeast Whatcom County with boundaries that match those for the Whatcom County Council. One candidate will win election in the Nov. 6 general election.