Politics Blog

Ex-Whatcom Dem chair: After child’s hospitalization, ‘not sure how I managed to return’ to 2013 campaign

I asked Mike Estes, until recently the chairman of the Whatcom Democrats, to say why he opted not to seek a leadership position with the county party after more than two years as its chair.

The county party elected new leadership on Jan. 8. Catherine Chambers replaces Estes. I just filed a story about the leadership change that will run in The Bellingham Herald soon.

Estes provided a statement, which makes it clear that “to spend more time with family” is not in this case the tossed-off statement it often is when spoken by people resigning a position. Estes made it clear to me it was OK to post his statement in full. Here it is:

Over the last 3 years my political involvement, career and family life all accelerated at the same time.

My 18 month old daughter Luella is not only the cutest in the whole world, but also has special development needs that we wish to spend extra time working on. Check out my wife’s blog if you are interested in more.

During the heat of the Whatcom Wins campaign in 2013, I spent most of July and August living at Seattle Children's Hospital after her birth. Looking back, I'm not sure how I managed to return to the campaign after all that.

When I started as Chair of the Dems, I was doing web development freelance and working part-time hours. It was pretty easy to commit time to politics. Starting in July this year, a tech startup I'm involved in secured funding and I've since been leading a growing group of developers. Working full-time has it's benefits -- volunteering many hours a week is not one of them.

Last summer I decided I would need to step away from leading the party at the end of the year. I really enjoy doing this work but didn't want to continue if I couldn't honestly give it my full effort. I suspect I won't be a stranger to local politics for very long. For now, a break is in order to focus on important personal areas.