Election View: Vargas brings problem solving to Bellingham City Council

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 30, 2013 

I am running for City Council because I love Bellingham. I'm motivated by a desire to contribute to this community. I'm not a one-issue candidate. I am a candidate that is motivated by a lifetime desire to make a difference. I'm experienced with large budgets, big projects and working with large groups of people. I'm known as a problem solver who finds a way to yes. In many circles I am considered a connector and I know how to get things done, with projects consistently coming in on time and on budget. But what is best in me I owe to my parents, who taught me that relationships are everything and you get back from life what you put into it. Coming from a larger family, I have 56 first cousins, I learned early on that to be successful everyone needs to work together. It's an approach I want to bring to City Council.

The issues we're facing are serious. The water quality from our drinking source is degrading, the waterfront is languishing and local businesses are hurting. To solve these issues we need to work together. I'm out in the community talking to individuals and business owners every day and I understand the pressures they are under. I will bring my skills with project management, collaboration and communication to help find real solutions that represent all of our community.

I am an advocate for supporting clean water and a steward to the precious reservoir we have in Lake Whatcom. I had an early education on water as a precious resource. I was 11 years old before we had running water. I went to a well every day for our daily use and an outhouse for the expenditures. We all need to recognize our role in protecting Lake Whatcom. Whether you live and play on the lake or not, we all depend on it and need to be responsible for its health. If you value something, you take care of it.

The council has a big challenge in learning all the elements in the waterfront development plan and ensuring we are using our tax dollars wisely. There has been a lot of pressure recently to "just do something." Whatcom County deserves a waterfront that we can be proud of - a draw for visitors and a gem for our residents. It needs to pay for itself through industry and businesses, marine trades, affordable housing, meeting spaces, entertainment venues, parks and waterfront access. While I am all for action on the waterfront, I'm committed to making sure that we are moving in the right direction.

As an energy efficiency outreach manager it's my job to reach the public and share a message. Through that I have the opportunity to provide energy efficiency education and work closely with our local businesses, county and city to finds ways to reduce energy and decrease their bills. They've given me a message as well. The permitting process in the city is unpredictable and unnecessarily painful. I will bring my existing relationship with the business community to improve collaboration. Let's help them do what they do best, run their businesses.

I strive to be a humanitarian and an environmentalist. During the week I am an energy efficiency outreach manager for our local utility. I volunteer on the Greenways Advisory Committee, support our arts community and serve on the board for Center for New Media. I work very hard at protecting and improving our quality of life, both on and off the clock.

Gratefully, I've received an early endorsement from Mayor Kelli Linville and the National Women's Political Caucus. I received endorsements from the Whatcom County Democrats, Whatcom County Democratic Women's Club, Whatcom County Young Democrats, Washington Conservation Voters, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Bellingham/Whatcom County Firefighters Association and Bellingham City Council members Stan Snapp, Cathy Lehman, Gene Knutson, Terry Bornemann and Seth Fleetwood. I've also been endorsed by many other Bellingham business and community leaders and residents.

I am grateful to call Bellingham my home. I ask for your support and your vote in November. Be sure to visit our campaign website, votepinkyvargas.com, and Facebook site, PinkyVargasforBellinghamCityCouncil, below to follow all the action!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pinky Vargas is one of two challengers for Bellingham City Council, Ward 4, which is open with Stan Snapp not seeking re-election. Vote-by-mail ballots will be mailed Oct. 19 and the general election is Nov. 5.

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