Questions for a County Council Could-Be
by: Read The Dirt Posted on: October 08, 2013
Editor’s Note: Rud Browne, running for Whatcom County Council this November, was the only candidate for Council willing to respond to our questionnaire. Read his responses below.
What moved you to run for a seat on the Whatcom County Council?
Our children should never have to leave Whatcom in order to find good jobs. I want to bring entrepreneurial experience to Whatcom to help draw business and jobs, which will strengthen our community and our families.
What about Whatcom County’s past excites you most and points to Whatcom’s potential to set trends?
Whatcom County has a tradition of preserving the natural beauty and resources of the region. I believe Whatcom County can use these resources to harness economic growth in the future. Ecotourism is on the rise locally – several new hotels are being built, which tells us that the business community recognizes the economic opportunities that Whatcom’s natural beauty offers. I want the community to capitalize on this momentum and use it to strengthen Whatcom.
What is your definition of health, safety and welfare?
Health, safety, and welfare are basic building blocks to a strong community. These principles mean the freedom for every citizen to live in a community with clean air and water, access to jobs that don’t destroy our environment, and a justice system with an emphasis on prevention rather than incarceration.
What do you believe poses the greatest risk to Whatcom County’s future health, safety, and welfare?
My biggest concern is the threat of outside interests making decisions for Whatcom. Whatcom county citizens have a right to participate in discussions that directly affect their health, safety and welfare. I’m concerned that some of these decisions could be moved from the county and head to state or federal courts.
Do you believe that Whatcom County has the authority to self-govern the health, safety and welfare of its citizens when doing so requires safer regulations than the State provides, or outlawing practices permitted by the state? If not, do you believe Whatcom should have such authority?
I think it depends on what we’re talking about. I believe in following the law, and the law gives counties authority over some things and not over others. I don’t support trying to undermine state laws that protect the health and welfare of citizens. As to whether Whatcom should have that kind of authority, I absolutely believe in the right of the county government to make decisions that benefit its citizens.
How can Whatcom County safeguard itself from negligence on the part of “higher” levels of government?
If higher levels of government aren’t enforcing health and safety laws put in place to protect citizens, then I think it’s the county’s responsibility to look into the issue and take appropriate action.
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