Join us on during filing week across Island County.
Wednesday, May 16 11 am Be part of my official filing at the Elections Office-400 North Main Street; Coupeville. After bring your lunch and let's have a picnic and music in the park (behind County offices) with the rock-n-roll of Steve Dehaven.
Wednesday, May 16 5-7 pm Camano Campaign Launch at Hodgepodge in Terry's Corner. Tacos & Tots, music and more.
Saturday, May 19 3-5 pm Meet & Greet in Coupeville; email me for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
For more fun-head out to the Artists Studio Tour on Camano Island. camanostudiotour.com
The South Camano home was lovely, decorated with local art. The host, Rhonda, was an artist in her own right with her quilts displayed prominently. She showed me her grandmother’s quilt, lovingly stitched in a different era. My friend Julie who shares my passion for accessible mental health and support for families brought lemon bars and helped greet the guests. The room was filled. In came ladies from the Mabana Flames, a couple who ran a home care business and advocated for seniors, a new transplant to our Island County who was learning about resources and ways to get involved. We talked about priorities. We talked about the isolation on South Camano and the concerns about protecting their water resources, caring for the integrity of the watershed and preserving the beauty of our shorelines. I talked about a gentleman I met who told me he had to leave his home because he had a stroke and needed to move closer to healthcare. We met at Tyee Grocery where I stopped for a sandwich (great deli tucked away on East Camano) and he struck me as so forlorn.
One woman asked me toward the end of the talk, “We’ve talked about many things. What are your priorities for Island County?” I revisited my commitment to work for a healthy community with affordable housing, access to full, integrated healthcare, supports for seniors and access to parks, beaches and open space. I talked about how we can work together to protect the environment and that our actions and decisions impact the future health of our planet. So I guess that’s it. I will work for healthy families, healthy communities and a healthy planet. I also talked about my commitment to civility, for respectful and inclusive conversations where we all don’t agree, rather we see the value of a conversation where we bring our ideas and differences to the table and we work it out.
“Work it out,” I told my kids when they were growing up. Seems like we adults can learn from the children. I walked beside the kids at Stanwood Camano High School on the Wednesday walk out. It was impressive. I traveled to South Whidbey to attend a forum at WICA (Whidbey Island Center for the Arts) by the local youth about solutions for safe schools. There were kids on both sides of the issue of gun safety, kids with different ideas about how to protect our schools. They spoke and they listened. And when they didn’t understand, they asked questions. It was inspiring and reassuring to know that the future of our community, our state and maybe our nation is in their hands.
Yesterday I was in Langley at the home of Frances Wood and Bill Graves. Hat Island was across the way and I could see the tip of Camano to my left. I watched sailboats and whale watcher boats hustle by and then gather on the North Shore of Hat. I remembered watching the grays tumble and play on the beach there five years ago when I was on a friend’s sailboat. We talked about many of the same issues discussed on Camano. Bob spoke out and asked, “What will you do to help ease the way for affordable housing construction on Whidbey?” Again, we talked about water, planning, reconciliation of building codes and innovative co-housing or accessory dwelling solutions. “We heard you talk about healthcare,” someone said, “What about the environment?” I talked about my belief that climate change is real and not just an episodic chapter in earth’s history. We talked about the value of education to change human behavior and the importance of public policy to protect our planet. “How will you preserve the farms on our Island?” I was asked. I asked in return to be invited to a meeting by a concerned group of citizens gathering to look at how to protect and preserve that legacy and culture.
You see, I’m always learning. That’s why I love being out at “Meet & Greet” house parties. Being in the community allows me to listen and to learn what matters to the people of Island County. I’m not just running for office; I’m preparing to lead. I’m doing all I can to become an effective and responsive Island County Commissioner. That’s what this journey is about for me, walking the trails of stories, watching the vistas of opportunity and inviting the people I meet to join me on the trip. Wanna come along?
Indeed this journey into political life has felt like I’m making friends all along the way. The greatest joy in this process are the times I sit in homes, libraries or in community and meet with people. I’ve met people who care passionately for this place we call home and who know a great deal about the issues that matter here. And so I’ve learned. And when I didn’t know or understand, I’ve reached out to others, asked questions, read reports and done research. I’ve met County staff and other leaders who have graciously shared their knowledge with me.
I’ve also met people who are concerned by these times, many who are tired of the polarizing rhetoric as if our political party is like rooting for your favorite football team and tolerates no opposing viewpoints. Now while I love my Seattle Seahawks, I can imagine myself in conversation with a Green Bay Packers fan or visiting back with my Bay Area buddies who root for the 49ers. You see, we don’t elect leaders to run their colors. We elect leaders to govern, solve problems and listen to their constituents, regardless of whether they identify with elephants or donkeys.
This encourages me as I’ve long realized that solutions are found through dialogue and a shared commitment to common values. As a social worker, we worked from a perspective called “solution-focused therapy.” Raising my children, when they came home upset, I would ask, “Every problem has a solution. What is your solution?” I am running because I want to help find solutions for our community. I don’t want to be part of a rising partisan and disrespectful rhetoric. We can hold our leaders accountable to what they say and do, expecting them to move from problems to solutions. This means engaging in uncomfortable conversation and listening to the real concerns of residents, not dismissing their issues or perceptions.
This week, I met a senior who owns a home on Camano. She asked me questions about her septic system and the rules that protect our waters by requiring regular inspections. I didn't have the answer but promised to get back to her. When I called a few days later, she sounded surprised to hear from me. "What do you want?" she asked a bit suspiciously. "I'm just getting back to you to answer the question you asked," I responded. We talked for a few minutes about her question, then began talking a bit about family and other things. "Thank you for calling me," she said appreciatively as we ended our conversation.
Woodrow Wilson said, "The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people." I agree.