Politics Blog

No new applicants yet for open Whatcom Council seat — just Kershner and Sidhu

The deadline is a little more than 48 hours away, and Kathy Kershner and Satpal Sidhu remain the only two applicants to throw their hats into the ring in an attempt to win Sam Crawford’s seat on the Whatcom County Council.

The next two days will tell whether anyone wants to challenge these two heavyweights. Deadline for applications is 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Council Office.

Sidhu, in a phone interview today, Tuesday, Feb. 17, said he is interested in running for the office this fall, to hold it for a full four-year term, if he is appointed next month. (In fact, he didn’t distinguish between running if he is appointed and running if he doesn’t get the nod; it could be that he runs either way.) Kershner could not immediately be reached on Tuesday afternoon.

Sidhu made a name for himself in Whatcom County as a college dean and a business owner before running unsuccessfully in 2014 as a Democrat for a House seat in the conservative 42nd Legislative District, comprised of north Whatcom County. Kershner was council member from 2010 to 2013, losing in her bid for a second term to Barry Buchanan.

Kershner and Sidhu were quick to announce their intentions to replace Crawford, whose 15 years on the council ends March 1. The two applicants are scheduled to give five-minute presentations at a public council meeting on March 3. Council has left open the possibility of starting the 7 p.m. meeting sooner, depending on the number of applicants.

So far, it doesn’t appear that the meeting time needs to be changed.

Council is scheduled to make its decision at its March 17 meeting. An applicant must get the votes of four of the six remaining council members to be appointed. If four council members can’t agree on an appointee by the end of March, Executive Jack Louws will make the choice.

At 12:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Council Office confirmed that so far only the two applications had been turned in.

Under “explain why you wish to serve on the County Council,” Kershner wrote, “I believe my recent experience could add value to the work on the council over the next several months until a replacement can be elected, and I enjoyed serving and would like to positively contribute to my community.”

Answering the same question, Sidhu re-emphasized his centrism. It may not be a coincidence that the Democratic candidate in the 42nd District who least identified as a Democrat fared the best in last year’s elections.

After a pitched partisan battle for the 42nd, which saw the Republicans sweep, Sidhu said the nonpartisan County Council appealed to him.

“The current media and public fascination with political labels is often a big diversion for the elected bodies and individuals,” Sidhu wrote in his application. “In the realm of real life, we all are progressive, conservative and liberal at different times, (given) different issues and different decisions on hand. It is unreal to confine the intellect and truth into some preconceived cubby holes and reflect false allegiance to ‘labels’ over the public good. I like the nonpartisan character and role of the County Council.”

We’ll see in a month who the nonpartisan characters on the County Council like for Crawford’s replacement. And we’ll see in two days if the council has more than a nominal Democrat and a onetime Republican officer to choose from.