While political watchers keep their eyes on the woodwork, to see if anyone’s coming out to challenge incumbents Jack Louws (Whatcom County executive), Kelli Linville (Bellingham mayor), Bill Elfo (sheriff), and three incumbent Bellingham council members, a familiar conservative name has made one county race interesting.
Kathy Kershner, a County Council member from 2010-13, waited until the last day of filing week to announce her bid for Satpal Sidhu’s seat on the council. Sidhu, who was appointed by the other six council members in a 5-1 vote on March 17, replaced 15-year member Sam Crawford. He resigned to take on more responsibilities at his job.
The appointment of Sidhu, a centrist supported by Democrats, rankled conservatives in the county, who backed Kershner. She also applied to the council to get the appointment in March, as did Jim Cozad. Cozad got the only vote that didn’t go to Sidhu. Council member Barbara Brenner voted for him because he vowed to not run for the office in this year’s election.
Some argued that replacing Crawford with Kershner would be replacing like for like; Crawford was the last bona fide conservative on the council.
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Sidhu was the overwhelming choice, council members said, because of his resume — multiple degrees, business owner and a former dean at Bellingham Technical College.
“He has a rich experience in business development, higher education and engineering. His resume dwarfs the rest of us altogether,” council Chairman Carl Weimer has said.
Kershner will have fervent support from county conservatives.
“I will provide leadership and a point of view not often acknowledged by our current council,” Kershner said in her campaign announcement.
Sidhu, who has been assertive in council discussions in less than two months on the council, will have barely established a record before voters have their ballots. (That said, he, along with the rest of the sitting council, will cast major votes on the proposed jail between now and then.) Sidhu may continue to say he abhors political labels, but he will surely be backed by Whatcom Democrats this summer and fall.
I’m already looking forward to the forums.
Kershner’s announcement is linked here.
For those who missed it when I posted it on Monday, May 11, here is Sidhu’s statement:
Satpal Sidhu to run for the Whatcom County Council position for District 2
Satpal Sidhu, current member of Whatcom County Council is running for position for 2nd district. He was recently nominated to this position vacated by Sam Crawford.
Mr. Sidhu said, “I am running to build upon the commitment to the community I demonstrated in my 2014 campaign. The enthusiasm of my supporters and volunteers is awesome. I look forward to careful listening and healthy debate on countywide issues”.
Mr. Sidhu states, “My values are the American ideals of hard work, strong ethics and community service. I believe in civil dialogue, vigorous discussion and making tough decisions.”
He has proven record of working collaboratively with diverse groups. He believes that compromise is not a bad word and being an engineer, he relies on facts and data to base his decisions.
He abhors political labels. “In the realm of real life, we all are progressive, conservative and liberal at different times, 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,” he stated.
Mr. Satpal Sidhu is an active citizen serving on the boards of NW Agricultural Business Center, Whatcom Community College Foundation and PeaceHealth Citizen Advisory Council. In the past he has served on Lynden School District Levy Committee, Bellingham Police Diversity Committee; NW Clean Air Agency; Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic; and Meridian School Foundation. He holds a degree in Math & Physics, Electrical Engineering and an MBA.