Candidates to debate the issues at Birch Bay forum

By Steve Guntli

Whatcom County citizens are invited to ask questions of candidates for this fall’s election.

The annual Birch Bay candidate forum returns to Birch Bay Bible Community Church at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. The forum has been held each year as a way of connecting the candidates with voters.

Each candidate will make a 90-second opening statement before fielding questions from the moderator, Lummi Island resident Terry Terry. The candidates will then answer questions prepared by the organizing committee and submitted from the community.

Doralee Booth, board member for the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce, is helping organize the forum.

“We have really good candidate turnout this year,” Booth said. “We’re anticipating an enlightening evening.”

So far, 12 candidates have agreed to appear at the forum: Jack Louws and Joy Gilfilen, who are running for the county executive seat; Whatcom County Council candidates Todd Donovan, Bruce Ayers, Barbara Brenner, Satpal Sidhu and Kathy Kershner; Port of Bellingham commission candidates Bobby Briscoe and Gary Jensen; Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo, running unopposed; Blaine school district board of directors candidate Joan Lotze; and John Crawford, candidate for fire commissioner in district 21. Booth said the organizing committee has sent out notices to the candidates who have not responded to the invitation in the hopes of encouraging them to attend.

Booth said she and her staff will accept questions from the audience written on 3×5 cards, but due to time constraints they may not be able to ask all of them. Questions can be addressed to specific candidates or can be general questions. Questions about the Gateway Pacific Terminal or the Williams pipeline expansion will not be accepted, since none of the candidates involved have direct influence on the development of those projects.

The forum is co-sponsored by the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce and The Northern Light. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at Birch Bay Bible Community Church, 4460 Bay Road.

  1. We will be there! Thank you for supporting collaboration between Blaine & Birch Bay.


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