I decided to run for state representative because I think that my experience, service and leadership opportunities have prepared me to be an effective legislator.
As your representative, I will focus on "quality of life" issues like education, jobs and farmland. I will work to help improve economic vitality in Whatcom County to create more jobs. I will work to make sure education resources are allocated so every student can reach their full potential, and I will work to protect our local farmers and farmland.
I was born and raised in Whatcom County and am the fourth generation of my family to live, work and play in Whatcom County. After going off to college, I returned home to Whatcom and married my husband, Larry.
Like many women, my priorities changed when I had kids. It was my children who propelled me into serving my community.
I got my start in community service in the 1990s when the mayor of Lynden appointed me to the Whatcom County Youth Advisory Committee. The committee was tasked with identifying ways to improve services to the youth in our community. This experience taught me the value of prioritizing funding for the benefit of at-risk youth.
Prioritizing funding is also important for our schools. I believe our top priority should be sending money to the classroom to the benefit our students, not to a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy.
I recognize that local districts need the flexibility to provide an appropriate education for our students and communities. At the same time I understand the importance of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I believe we need to craft laws that free local districts to set high standards, seek innovative solutions and be accountable for results. With these core values in mind I will work for effective solutions for education in our schools.
My husband and I have four children and five grandchildren. Our family has lived the American dream right here in Whatcom County. I am proud of how my husband and his parents built a thriving and successful business, proving that hard work pays off.
However, through the years I have seen how the ever-increasing burden of regulation has made it more difficult to grow, expand and create jobs. When our family business first started, there were a handful of agencies, all of whom were helpful and interested in our success. Today, that number has grown to countless agencies, and the relationships are sometimes hostile and strained.
It does not have to be that way! No government regulation ever created a job; entrepreneurs create jobs. Our leaders should make job creation easier, not harder.
My dad was a milk truck driver for Milky Way and picked up milk at many of the county dairies. My dad came home every day with stories about the local farmers. I know them by name, how hard they work to provide for their families, and I value their contributions to our community.
I appreciate that Whatcom County farmers are responsible stewards of the land. They are continually developing innovative advances for protecting our environment.
The Vander Haak Dairy built the first manure digester in Washington State and now manure waste has become a renewable energy solution. Another local dairy digester adds a valuable innovation by piping part of the waste heat from the digester to the nearby Van Wingerden greenhouse complex to grow vegetables year-around.
Even if you don't work in the agricultural industry, we all still understand that farming is a major part of our identity here in Whatcom County. I will fight to protect it.
I have spent the last 20 years working on issues important to our county, state and nation. Through the years I've worked to elect people who will defend our liberty and work for our community, now it is my name on the ballot and I'm excited to serve!
If I am elected as your next state representative I will work for budgets that spend our dollars wisely without raising taxes. I will work to break the regulatory stranglehold that state government has on our economy and job creators. I am a principled leader who will work to improve our Whatcom County quality of life.
I hope I can earn your vote.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Luanne Van Werven, R., is a candidate for State Representative Position 1 in the state 42nd Legislative District. Incumbent Jason Overstreet, R., is not running for re-election. The top two vote getters in the primary will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The 42nd District includes all of Whatcom County except south Bellingham and southwest Whatcom County.
The description of 42nd District was corrected July 21, 2014.