Election View: Sidhu advocates for education, training for careers

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 14, 2014 

I'm Satpal Sidhu, and I am running to be your new voice in Olympia. I come from a farming family and have lived in Lynden for past 28 years. I am a proud citizen of United States, an engineer, a successful businessman and an active citizen in Whatcom County community. For more information, visit VoteSatpalSidhu.com and facebook page.

My life may have a familiar American ring to it: young, ambitious guy from a faraway country gets an opportunity through the Rotary Foundation to visit the United States and explore its business, public policy, social and cultural life. I recognized the American ethic of hard work and seized the opportunity to build a better life here.

Education and creating good jobs: I know firsthand that the right education can really change the life of a person. I immigrated with five dollars and my education has been my biggest asset in building my life and raising my family in United States. Good education can benefit the lives of three generations for the better: yourself, your parents and your children. I am not only a strong advocate for good educational opportunities for our kids, but have put this into practice.

I have a proven record of taking on new challenges others would not. As dean at Bellingham Technical College, I recognized that over 1,500 highly paid and skilled baby boomers at all four local refineries and other manufacturing businesses would retire over the next decade. Those jobs were going to be recruited from California or Texas. Realizing this tremendous opportunity, I created an alliance of all four refineries to support a new degree program in less than a year at BTC to train local students with proper technical skills. Today there are several hundred local kids who have taken up these premier jobs and it will continue for years to come. I was commended by Gov. Locke and Gov. Gregoire for my contributions to workforce education.

Since moving to Whatcom County, I have been active in serving numerous local institutions as my civic duty. Currently, I am serving on the PeaceHealth Citizen Advisory Council and Whatcom Community College Foundation. In the past I have served on the PeaceHealth Ethics Committee, the Lynden School District Levy Committee, the Bellingham Police Diversity Committee; Northwest Clean Air Agency, Whatcom Counseling And Psychiatric Clinic, the Meridian School Foundation and other organizations.

My political mission is to create opportunities for success of our children. I am not a career politician and not running to add to the rhetoric, but to tackle real issues facing our children and to get things done. I have a proven track record of focusing on the common grounds among diverse viewpoints to reach win /win decisions. I promise to work as a team player in Olympia to find solutions that benefit of my community and my state rather than to act as a roadblock to our collective future.

My career has taken diverse pathways as an engineer, businessman, college dean, solar energy environmental entrepreneur, and now exporter of blueberries and raspberries. My wife, Mundir, followed her passion to open Spice Hut, a quality tea and spice retail business 10 years ago, which has been voted twice as the best teahouse in the Pacific Northwest. I also helped build a place of worship for the local Sikh community. Together we raised three fabulous sons who attended Meridian schools, one is an engineer at Boeing, one is an engineer at BP Cherry Point and one manages the Spice Hut business. I am a Fulbright Scholar and hold a master's degree in businesss and bachelor of science degrees in engineering and math.

I have worked with integrity as an employee, employer and entrepreneur for past 30 years. My life has been about living the principles of fairness, and I will not ask others to do what I won't. I will work to create opportunities for our children to get a great education and make sure they have meaningful jobs in Whatcom County. I'm a new voice and will bring fresh ideas and hard work to Olympia to make all our lives better.

I'm Satpal Sidhu (pronounced sat-paal sid-hoo); I have the right experience and am the right choice for Whatcom County. I am asking for your support - and your vote. Thank you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Satpal Sidhu, D., 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.

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