Blaine council candidates share visions for improvements

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 14, 2013 

MCT

BLAINE - Incumbent Charlie Hawkins and challenger Brian Thomasson are facing off in the Nov. 5 general election for a Ward 2 seat on the Blaine City Council.

Hawkins, a 67-year-old bus driver for Blaine School District, is seeking his third term. Thomasson, a 27-year-old real estate broker, is running for public office for the first time.

Candidates addressed issues facing Blaine through a questionnaire from The Bellingham Herald. Most of the questions were the same ones asked and answered during a questionnaire and follow-up interview for the August primary.

Their answers were excerpted from those sources.

Question: Why are you running?

Hawkins: "Blaine is a wonderful place to live and I want to keep it that way. Blaine needs moderate voices that are focused solely on doing what's best for the community. I am committed to representing the city as a whole, as well as my constituents."

Thomasson: "I value my community and I want to see it flourish. I have a lot of leadership experience in bringing people together and believe my sense of entrepreneurship has a lot to offer our city."

Q: What would you do to spark economic development in Blaine?

Hawkins: "With the ... reopening of the Semiahmoo Resort, the shipping and receiving warehouses, and the numerous cross-border related businesses, which have become our largest sales tax provider, I believe we are seeing a time of steady growth here. Of course, I wish there were more high-paying jobs in the city, but for the size of town we are, I think we're doing better than most during these difficult economic times."

Thomasson: "Blaine has great potential to grow its industrial footprint and is in a position to feasibly do so. We already have multiple Canadian companies that have moved their manufacturing into Blaine.

"My first role would be to interview and listen; I want to meet the faces behind these companies and find out why they moved here and what's keeping them here. Secondly, I want to get back to the drawing board on revitalizing downtown."

Q: What is your vision for Gateway Business Park, the former Blaine Airport site? What kind of businesses would you like to see there?

Hawkins: "I would like to see the former airport property used by small manufacturing companies, cross-border businesses, and any other business that would be beneficial for the city of Blaine.

"The city has created an environment for future businesses by improving access, with new roads, and infrastructure improvements."

Thomasson: "The Gateway Business Park is ideally set up for industrial and manufacturing use. It is a perfect location for truck access, whether drivers are headed north or south and could be marketed to local or international companies."

MORE CANDIDATE ANSWERS

To see answers to more questions from these candidates plus their biographical information, go to our online Voter Guide and look for the Election '13 Voter Guide. You'll also find information about other candidates on the November ballot.

This is one in a series of articles on races in the November general election. Read other articles at our Local Elections webpage. Ballots are scheduled to arrive in mailboxes by Oct. 21.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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