I am Rud Browne – your current elected Councilmember for the (old) At-Large position on the Whatcom County Council. This year I am running for re-election as a candidate for the (new) Council District One.
As a 22 year resident of District One, I am happy to be redistricted alongside so many who share my values, environmental commitment, and desire for Whatcom County to generate more family wage jobs for our citizens. I am currently finishing my first term in public office, where I have been a proud progressive vote, and the leading advocate for broader Council roles in economic development. I am concerned that our great educational institutions produce some of the brightest and boldest educated new work force, yet all too often our graduates are unable to find a good job here and are forced to move elsewhere to build their careers. The future of our community will be shaped by our ability to retain this talented generation.
I am also deeply concerned about both environmental protections and the rising cost of housing which is why I recently took on a key role in seeking an innovative resolution to the challenges created by the recent Supreme Court (“Hirst”) decision. The Court has said there is not enough water year round to support both fish and additional rural housing development. I believe that if we don’t find a balanced approach to our water use that we could see both a further loss of fish habitat plus a significant increase in housing prices in Bellingham and across the county. I have also been focused on how Whatcom County’s economic development dollars have been spent and I believe that a different approach will improve the area’s job market.
In my first term I made it a goal to learn by visiting County employees on the job – from riding with EMS teams and Sheriffs deputies to in-depth briefings at the 911 call center, the Jail and Work center, Public Works, Health, Planning and Development departments. I have also met with hundred’s of constituents across the county to be better able to represent their needs and learn their perspective on a wide variety of important issues, such as our approach to criminal justice and replacement of our jail.
As an award-winning successful business entrepreneur, I built the first business in the world focused on the reuse and recycling of mobile computers which previously had been thrown away. As the former employer of hundreds of tech-savvy employees, I ran an environmentally-sustainable and environment-protecting operation that fueled local families with good jobs and salaries that the region should be a natural to attract.
This job is a remarkable challenge, the best education a person could ask for, and never a dull moment with quick-changing situations, unexpected policy-twists, heart-wrenching constituency complaints, and the gift of having to meet so many great county citizens. However, the next four years likely will have more challenges than the last four in this new era of federal meddling in our environment, the same underfunded state budget status and our own area’s need for more jobs plus affordable housing. I look forward to defending, improving and finding new ways to improve our community’s quality of life. I would appreciate your vote and support.