Local Election

Here’s what you need to know about the candidates for Whatcom council’s at-large seat

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.

Three Whatcom County residents are opposing Carol Frazey for the at-large seat she holds on the Whatcom County Council.

Frazey was elected to a partial term in the seat in November 2018, defeating Mike Peetoom 59% to 41%.

Voters approved ballot measures in 2016 that changed districts starting in 2017 that created five districts with one representative elected from each district and two at-large positions elected by voters countywide.

Her challengers are Brett Bonner, Bill LaFreniere and David Ramirez.

Bonner quit actively campaigning in late May, when he admitted that he had sexually harassed a young woman online while “blackout drunk.” It was too late for him to remove his name from the ballot.

The non-partisan, part-time position pays $31,867 annually during the four-year term.

The top two 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 the at-large Whatcom County Council position:

Carol Frazey

Frazey, 50, is a member of the Whatcom County Council and president of Fit School Inc. an online coaching site for women runners that also offers in-person classes and coaching.

Bio: Married with two children, one at Sehome High and the other at the University of Washington, she and her husband have lived in Whatcom County for two decades. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Penn State University and a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Colorado. Frazey is a past board member of the Whatcom County Childhood Obesity Task Force, Run Like a Girl, and Assumption Catholic Church Pastoral Care Commission. Frazey serves on the County Council’s Finance and Administrative Services, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and Public Works and Health committees. She is a member of the Business and Commerce Advisory Committee, Council of Governments, Intergovernmental Tribal Relations Committee, and Northwest Regional Council.

Neighborhood: Whatcom Falls in Bellingham.

Funds raised: $8,344, through July 2, including funds left from her 2018 campaign. Almost all her contributions are from individual donors in amounts less than $750.

Funds spent: $534 through July 2.

Largest contributors: Claudia Wagner of Bellingham $750; Eric Hirst of Bellingham, $250.

Frazey says: Her focus is on creating a healthy Whatcom County. “By focusing on the health of individuals, the environment, and our economy, we can build a solid foundation for a healthy community.”

Endorsements: Riveters Collective; Whatcom Democrats; 42nd District Democrats; International Order of Fire Fighters Local 106, Bellingham/Whatcom County Professional Firefighters; Bellingham residents Jenn Gallant and Carrie Blackwood.

Website: Vote Carol Frazey on Facebook.

Bill LaFreniere

LaFreniere, 61, owns a trucking company.

Bio: He was born in Bellingham, but spent his first 17 years on South Whidbey. He moved to Bellingham to graduate from Bellingham High in 1976. He has worked in many professions, including as a general contractor. He’s now constructing a lowboy trailer for hauling trucks and boats.

Neighborhood: Between Laurel and Van Wyck.

Funds raised: No reports filed. LaFreniere selected the “mini-reporting option” with the state Public Disclosure Commission, which exempts candidates from filing campaign finance reports if they don’t exceed $5,000 in contributions and take no individual donations greater than $500. He reports no funds raised or spent and no contributors.

He says: “Too many elected representatives sell themselves out to union interests. Union operatives control both political parties and nearly all elected offices. I want to expose that corruption and offer my non-union approach to dealing with the problems caused by the union monopoly. Housing scarcity, destruction of heavy industry, government sector over-employment, theft of private property and resources, general over-regulation of our lives and business.”

Website: LaFreniere said general questions can be sent to elderladbill@outlook.com.

David Ramirez

Ramirez, 47, is district manager for Clean Harbors Environmental Services.

Bio: He is married with nine children and four grandchildren. He was born in Washington and lived in several areas of the state before settling in Bellingham in 2012. He studied environmental management and chemistry at Brigham Young University. Ramirez volunteers with the Boy Scouts and has served as a Scout leader for nearly 30 years. He has served as treasurer and board president of Whatcom Family Community Network to support children, youth and families.

Neighborhood: Everson.

Funds raised: Ramiez selected the “mini-reporting option” with the state Public Disclosure Commission. He reported raising $1,501 through July 2 with no expenses. Ramirez gave $166 to his own campaign and he received $1,000 from Phillip 66 Company. His other funds were from individual contributors.

He says: “My primary reason for running is to bring balance back to our County Council. I believe we can foster a healthy relationship between business and our County Council. We can protect our environment while allowing businesses to thrive.”

Endorsements: Republican Party.

Website: David Ramirez for County 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.