The current chair of the Whatcom County Planning Commission, Michelle Luke, has announced her candidacy for Whatcom County Council District 3, position A against incumbent Carl Weimer.
According to Luke, her desire to make positive change in local government for regular people is why she applied for the Whatcom County Planning Commission in 2010.
“On the commission, I often hear personal stories from local citizens who are struggling with issues concerning their county government,” Luke said. “There is still much work to be done with outreach and communication. I believe local government can and must be more user friendly than it is today.”
As chair, Luke said she has encouraged the planning commission to be a thoughtful, active review board. “The commission cannot be a rubber stamp for anyone or any group, and there are no magic wands,” Luke says. “The recommendations we make start with discovering how an issue can be clarified and simplified so it can be made workable in the real world.”
“As council representative, I will continue as an active representative with the same roll-up-my-sleeves approach I’ve applied to the planning commission,” Luke said.
Luke said she has been lucky to have had two successful careers. “I owned a beauty salon as my first business, then went to work with my husband, Steve, serving the home furnishings industry. These businesses helped me understand what it means to be customer centered,” she says. “I believe the experience gained creating two successful businesses has given me a valuable perspective on how local decisions impact both Whatcom County citizens and the businesses that provide our community with jobs and opportunity.”
Whatcom County Councilmember Bill Knutzen will run for re-election to the council at-large position.
A fourth generation county resident, Knutzen and his wife Sandy own a computer and cellular repair and service company. He is also an insurance agent.
“Four years ago my concern for farmers propelled me to run for council,” Knutzen said. “I grew up on a farm. I understand the importance of agriculture to our local economy. As a councilmember I set out to protect local farmers’ ability to farm. We have come a long way but there is still more that can be done.”
Knutzen currently chairs the planning and development committee and is a member of the public health advisory board, flood advisory board, sheriff’s advisory board, natural resources committee and the joint Lake Whatcom policy group. He represents county council on the Whatcom Council of Government.
Ensuring a level playing field for Whatcom County businesses is a top priority for Knutzen’s second term, he said. He plans to work on establishing a permitting and regulation process that is fair and consistent so the county will be recognized as a preferred place to do business.
“Whether it’s businesses, farmers, foresters, low income students or anyone else, you can count on me to put Whatcom first and go to bat for the citizens of Whatcom County,” Knutzen said. “It would be my honor to continue serving as your councilman.”