Local Election

2 candidates seek Ward 1 Bellingham council seat. Here’s what to know before you vote

Here’s what you need to know about Whatcom’s 2019 primary election

With 136 public offices on the ballot this August, you’ll want to pay attention to these changes as Election Day approaches.
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With 136 public offices on the ballot this August, you’ll want to pay attention to these changes as Election Day approaches.

Bellingham City Council member Hannah Stone is being challenged by Elizabeth Hartsoch, a co-founder of the Riveters Collective, the local political group that formed after the 2016 presidential election, for the Bellingham City Council Ward 1 seat.

Stone was appointed to the council in October 2018 to fill the vacant at-large seat, but is now running for the Ward 1 seat.

Bellingham City Council Ward 1 includes the Birchwood neighborhood, most of Cordata and Meridian, plus part of Columbia — where both candidates live. It’s now represented by April Barker, whose term is ending and who is running for mayor.

The non-partisan, part-time position pays $26,000 annually during the four-year term.

Both candidates in the Aug. 6 primary will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Primary ballots will be mailed July 17. Ballots don’t need a stamp but must be postmarked by Election Day. Ballot drop boxes open July 17 and close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 6.

These are the candidates for Bellingham’s Ward 1 City Council member:

Elizabeth Hartsoch

Hartsoch, 43, is a research analyst in the Office of Survey Research at Western Washington University.

Bio: She is vice president of the board of Riveters Collective, a progressive political action committee that she co-founded in late 2016. Hartsoch and her children are dedicated bicyclists, riding to school and work. She is founder and project manager for the Viking eBike project, and volunteer for the Community Meal Program, Sterling Bike Works, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, Ride Run and Dig, school bike rodeos, and Walk Bike Bus Bellingham. Four generations of her family live in Ward 1. She holds a master’s degree in geography, government information systems and cartography from the University of Montana and bachelor’s degree in biology from Gonzaga University.

Neighborhood: Columbia.

Funds raised: $2,494 through June 9.

Funds spent: $121 through June 9.

Largest contributors: Hartsoch contributed $270 to her own campaign. Shawn Clarke of Bellingham gave $250, Brian Mulligan of Bellingham gave $110 and County Council member Carol Frazey gave $100. All Hartsoch’s contributions are from private individuals, most in denominations of $100 or less.

She says: “I’m running because I see Bellingham making expensive investments that don’t work and missing opportunities to do simple things that are good for our neighbors, kids, and our seniors. I want Bellingham to listen to community solutions, innovate, be creative, measure our efforts so we know what’s working and communicate and respond to residents using modern tools.”

Endorsements: 42nd District state Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham; Whatcom County Council member Carol Frazey and former Council member Tim Ballew II; and the Riveters Collective.

Website: Beth for Bellingham on Facebook.

Hannah Stone

Stone, 42, is and at-large member of the City Council and an immigration lawyer in private practice.

Bio: She is married with two school-age children and moved to Bellingham with her family in 2005. She has a law degree from the University of North Carolina, and a bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish from Meredith College. She chairs the council’s Justice Committee and serves on the Finance, Personnel and Economic Development and Public Safety committees. She is a liaison with the school district, the Opportunity Council and the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and is a member of the Homeless Strategies Work Group and as a proxy to the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force. She was co-chair of Citizens for Bellingham Schools, which organized to support the passage of a $155 million school bond measure in 2018.

Neighborhood: Columbia.

Funds raised: $1,231 through June 6.

Funds spent: $422 through June 6.

Largest contributors: Stone gave $771 to her own campaign, John Hogue of Mulkilteo gave $100, and Waldo Tyson and Neem Johann of Bellingham each gave $100.

She says: “As Bellingham continues to grow, our community faces difficult decisions that require astute judgment and forethought on issues related to economic development, equity and social justice. The present and future generations are dependent upon us to develop solutions now to reverse the course of climate change, advance diverse housing options, and promote multi-modal transportation. We must envision the community we seek to cultivate because the choices we make today reflect our priorities and define our future.”

Endorsements: Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville; City Council member Gene Knutson; Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson; Sierra Club; Riveters Collective.

Website: Vote Hannah Stone on Facebook.

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Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.