Election View: Kunkel has plan for salmon fisheries to aid economy, schools

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 16, 2014 

Salmon mean business! I am confident that when we restore our salmon fisheries we can get our kids outside enjoying the world and off video games, bring high-quality employment to our economy, keep our friends and families home so that they don't have to travel to work in Alaska every year, and perhaps most importantly help mend state-tribal relations.

My plan for restoring Washington's salmon fisheries is to model our own production off the success of Alaska's private, nonprofit salmon production organizations. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has not met the needs of tribal and non-tribal commercial fishermen and state-run production of commercial salmon needs to end to make way for those with incentive to get the job done right. This will free up millions of dollars currently being wasted at WDFW, these dollars will go toward fully funding education in Washington. The increase in employment at every level of the economy will bring more than enough dollars to education. We can fully fund education without raising taxes!

With fishing pressure directed toward nonprofit produced salmon, wild salmon will have more opportunity to thrive! Raising pink and chum salmon will build the base of the food web in the marine ecology and assist in recovering hundreds of species from our resident Orca pods to endangered South Fork Nooksack Spring Chinook. Our family and friends can come home every day at the end of a hard, honest day's work harvesting the surplus from Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia rather than missing their children grow up while fishing in the rough seas of Alaska.

With regard to my esteemed opponents in this vital struggle for liberty, personal growth and the return to honest representation: Satpal is a friendly man, but he is a corporate businessman first and foremost. Bill is great at navigating the political process, but it is because he is a politician and a salesman. Luanne would serve her party bosses well, but what about her constituents, you, the people?

I can't and will never promise you the moon, but I will promise to represent you and only you to the best of my ability, never will I take donations or favors from corporations, special interest groups, PACs, or unions. I promise to fight for the cause of salmon restoration in Washington State! We can all come together around the central cultural and economic resource of Washington salmon! As a former salmon biologist for the Lummi Nation, hatchery cultrist, and NSEA volunteer who has experience in both Alaska and Washington I hope you trust that I am the right candidate who has a plan to change things for the better in Whatcom County and Washington State.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Nicholas Kunkel, L., 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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