Election View: Todd Donovan seeks sustainable planning, responsible spending

For two decades, I have worked outside of government to promote healthy communities. It would be a privilege to serve as your representative on County Council to continue that work.

Consider what you want things to be like here 20 years from now. There will be more people, and more jobs. What will it take to make Whatcom County even better than it is now? What quality of life will our children and new neighbors enjoy? That is what service on County Council is about. It’s about representing your values when asking those questions.

Whether you live in a small city, on a farm, or in Bellingham, we share many things: a responsible approach to tax dollars and an appreciation of work that supports our families. My wife and I raised our family here. I have spent the last 24 years teaching and doing research at Western Washington University. My job requires looking at things objectively, and making decision based on evidence, not ideology. I’ll bring that perspective to the County Council.

Our County Council is about providing public safety and getting important services to people in need. It’s about asking when, where and how we build, maintain and operate roads, bridges, parks, bus service, a jail, and so on. It’s about planning for new housing and 21st century jobs while promoting agriculture and fishing. When serving as your County Council member, I’ll ask tough questions about how we should do all of this, how we can do it better and about how we pay for it in a manner that is fair.

My priorities for the next four years are to move Whatcom County forward on these issues:

A strong local economy: I will work to keep Whatcom County a desirable place to live so we can continue to attract new business and new employers. We need to grow the 21st century economy here with new jobs and new, sustainable, clean industries.

Whatcom County is home to Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Technical College and Western Washington University. Our skilled, educated and creative workforce, our proximity to the border and our spectacular natural setting make this a destination for new businesses. We need to promote that.

A healthy environment: The reconveyance of 8,800 acres of forestland to parkland was a huge step forward for protecting Lake Whatcom. More needs to be done. I will push to finally clean up the lake. I will make sure the park is accessible to everyone and that it has the least possible impact on the lake.

I will work to protect marine life that is threatened in Drayton Harbor, the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Bellingham Bay. I will also ensure that as our towns and cities grow we have reliable public transit and that people can choose to live near where they work, shop and play.

Sound fiscal policy: You can count on me to be careful with your tax dollars. I support a safe, new jail and I’ll work to make sure we move forward with strategies for pre-trail alternatives to jail. I will advocate for treatment for those who are mentally ill and chemically dependent. Forward-thinking policies that divert some people from jail mean that we will spend less of your money while making our community safer.

We can also save money with better planning for growth. It costs more to provide public services to new, far-off development than it does to serve new development in towns, cities and urban growth areas. I will work to save your tax dollars by supporting responsible growth.

Twenty years ago, people tried to divide Whatcom County. They spent decades fighting attempts at planning our future and protecting our drinking water. I worked for years, successfully, to defeat those efforts so we could move forward. Last year you elected me to the Charter Review Commission. My experience there taught me that people with political differences can work together because we agree on far more things than we disagree about. It’s time to move forward. I would be honored to have your vote. For more information, go to donovanforwhatcom.org.


This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 4 primary election. Todd Donovan is a candidate in the non-partisan election for a 4-year term for Whatcom Couny Council District 1, Position B. District 1 includes south Bellingham and south Whatcom County. Incumbant Pete Kremen is not seeking re-election.