Local Election

Here’s what to know before you vote for a Ward 5 Bellingham Council candidate

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.

Two residents are seeking to replace Ward 5 Bellingham City Council member Terry Bornemann, who is leaving the council after nearly 20 years.

Ward 5 includes the neighborhoods of Sehome, South Hill, Western Washington University, and parts of Happy Valley, Puget and York.

Lisa Anderson is a member of the Planning Commission and was a finalist for the at-large position now held by Hannah Stone.

Chanan Suarez is a decorated Iraq War veteran and a Democratic Socialist.

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 5 City Council member:

Lisa Anderson

Anderson, 54, is a program specialist in testing services at Whatcom Community College and a member of the Bellingham Planning and Community Development Commission Bio: She is a 30-year resident of Bellingham who is married with three children and seven grandchildren. Anderson has a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and master’s of education and higher education administration from WWU, where she worked for 10 years. She has served on Bellingham’s Shoreline Committee, the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the GED Advisory Committee, the York Neighborhood Association Board, and is a member of The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1060. She formed the Samish Way Task Force with former state Rep. Harriet Spaniel in an effort to close Mac’s and the Aloha — motels that were linked to crime and neighborhood blight.

Neighborhood: York.

Funds raised: $4,131 plus a $3,000 loan through June 12, almost all from individual contributions. Funds spent: $3,857 through June 12.

Largest contributors: Danny Anderson of Bellingham gave $400, Richard Conoboy of Bellingham gave $300 and Anne Mackie of Bellingham offered an in-kind donation of $528.88.

She says: “I am committed to working for all members of our community in a respectful, authentic manner. The future of my children, your children, our grandchildren and youth, must be considered with every policy our government makes. My top priorities will be addressing our housing needs, preventing homelessness by increasing our safety net for those living on the margin, investing in our infrastructure to attract living wage jobs, creating a safe community for all, reducing incarceration by expanding mental health and drug treatment access, protecting immigrant rights, and strengthening our environmental and water protection.”

Endorsements: Mount Baker Sierra Club, Bellingham Police Guild, National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, Bellingham City Council members Terry Bornemann and Gene Knutson, former City Council member Louise Bjornson and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Website: Lisa Anderson for Bellingham City Council Ward 5 on Facebook.

Chanan Suarez

Suarez, 34, is a bilingual customer service representative for the Social Security Administration.

Bio: He is an Iraq War veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with the rank of petty officer 3rd class. He served two years as a hospital corpsman in Okinawa, and three years with an infantry unit — where he was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, a Purple Heart and the Navy Commendation Medal for saving his platoon sergeant’s life. A six-year resident of Bellingham he earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Western Washington University. He is an active member of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3937.

Neighborhood: Sehome.

Funds raised: $2,563 through June 12, about $1,700 from individual contributions.

Funds spent: $742 through June 12.

Largest contributors: Eric Lewis of Blaine gave $405, Celia Baker of Ferndale gave an in-kind donation of $250, and Hannah Fishman of Bellingham made an in-kind donation of $185.

He says: “Housing for all. I am specifically calling for 3,500 units of social housing, which means it’s city-owned, tenant-managed affordable housing for all. I will immediately create a task force to create short-term and long-term housing solutions.”

Endorsements: Riveters Collective, Whatcom County Democratic Socialists of America.

Website: Chanan Suarez for Bellingham City Council 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.