Citizens need to have a rural voice on the Whatcom County Council. Theresa Sygitowicz is that voice. I’m a fourth-generation, lifelong county resident and a graduate of Mount Baker High School. I was raised in rural Whatcom County and owned a small business for over 20 years in Bellingham. At the age of 40, I went back to school, attending Whatcom Community College, majoring in bookkeeping and general office management skills. I have worked at Peacehealth Medical Center, St Joseph hospital for over 25 years. Currently, the land that I am living on was a part of my Grandfather Sygitowicz’s homestead.
I have a long history of practical agriculture experience, and in 2011 was elected by my fellow farmers to represent them on the USDA Farm Service board. I served as the chairman during part of my term in office. I will always remember what my father told me: “We may have the deed to the land, but we are just stewards of the land during our ownership. Always treat the land respectfully for the future.” Although we need to protect our natural resources, we must also have the ability to use them responsibly, now and in the years to come.
With over 40 years of local public service, I have been involved in an extensive list of community organizations. I was proud to volunteer and serve on my local fire department. I was a Whatcom County Fire Department No. 16 firefighter/EMT for many years. I have the utmost respect for all our county volunteer firefighters. We thank you.
One of my main goals has always been care for kids at risk. Children are one of our most precious resources in Whatcom County. We need to protect and encourage them to succeed in life. They all have special gifts that will enrich our future. Maybe we need to have an option of some parenting classes available.
I am up-to-date on numerous local issues currently debated at the County Council level. In the next year, one of the highest priorities is the review of the comprehensive plan. We need to both preserve and protect our local water/property rights.
I am in favor of the citizens of Whatcom County having the opportunity to vote on the new jail. Another law-and-justice issue that is equally important is making sure that our sheriff’s deputies have the necessary equipment and level of staffing to do their job in a safe manner. When I call 911 from my east county home the Sheriff’s Department responds, not someone from the Bellingham or small cities police departments. I personally think that one of the main responsibilities of the County Council is to make sure that all county employees return home safely at the end of each and every day. Let us join together and have a safe and secure community.
We need to strive to have an open, transparent government that respects both civil and individual rights. We need to look at county advisory committee and boards now filled with mainly special interest group members and representatives of local non-profit organizations. Every committee, board and taskforce should have diverse representation, the input of private citizens in unaffiliated positions. If the county is spending your hard-earned tax dollars, then taxpayers have a right to have a voice on what it is being spent. When proponents say, “It is only grant money” I ask, “Where do they think that grant money comes from?” Grant money is distributed from state and federal taxes; it comes from us, the citizens.
As a former caregiver to my parents, another of my goals is to support both senior and at-risk citizens. The caregivers for our elderly are truly a wonderful treasure and we need to make sure that our senior centers are adequately funded and staffed. We need to honor our seniors and help to keep them in their homes as long as possible. We need to ensure and support their quality of life.
In conclusion, it is important to me to protect our quality of life by ensuring our community is safe, secure and economically sound.
Please Vote Theresa Sygitowicz for the Whatcom County Council District 1Position B.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 4 primary election. Theresa Sygitowicz is a candidate in the non-partisan election for a 4-year term for Whatcom County Council District 1, Position B. District 1 includes south Bellingham and south Whatcom County. Incumbent Pete Kremen is not seeking re-election.