Jobs and Cherry Point

Before you vote in August and November, it is important that you know where I stand on the most critical issues that face our local government. In the next few weeks, I plan to highlight several topics that affect the health, wealth, and well-being of our community.

Perhaps, no issue is more important than ensuring the economic vitality of Whatcom County.

While the continued national economic recovery has lifted the spirits of the nation, the unemployment rate in our area continues to lag far behind the state and national averages. There are many reasons for this, some of which can be attributed to a deficit in political leadership.

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Too often the only jobs our current politicians seem to care about are their own. Maybe it’s that they don’t know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe they’re somehow insulated from the rising cost of housing. Or maybe it’s that they don’t have a family to support.

Whatever motivates them to put the brakes on economic growth and overregulate business, it’s wrong, and I will fight against it. If a family can’t find work to support itself in Whatcom County, little else matters.

Less than three months ago, WWU’s Center for Economic and Business Research released a new study on the economic impacts of Cherry Point, a booming sector of our local economy that’s continually under siege by radical politicians. The study quantified the hugely positive direct and indirect economic benefits that Cherry Point companies and employees generate in communities around Whatcom County. Eight of its largest businesses are responsible for over 3,300 of the county’s highest paying jobs, and many who aren’t employed at Cherry Point themselves still benefit indirectly from the business purchases of Cherry Point employees who make almost two and a half times the average wage in the county. The study also highlighted more than $1 million in annual charitable giving and almost $400 million in state, local, and property taxes that Cherry Point businesses pay to support the County Road Fund, the Ferndale School District, the Blaine School District, and environmental cleanup activities in Bellingham Bay. It’s clear that Cherry Point is a net economic benefit to the local economy.

Yet, time and time again, in self-serving, routine submission to those who would stand in the way of any economic development, local politicians have tried to contain and even roll back development at Cherry Point. They present a false choice between the good of the economy and the good of the environment, when in fact it’s possible to have both. It’s possible to protect public health and the environment while promoting continued job creation. Contrary to the extreme rhetoric on the other side, these goals are rarely mutually exclusive. Responsible development can facilitate both.

I’m running for the Whatcom County Council because I want this area to become an even greater place to grow up, raise a family, find meaningful work, and retire. This vision will not be realized without small and large businesses and a government that promotes rather than agitates against them.

With your help, I will work to realign the priorities of the Whatcom County Council with the best interests of the people who elect me. True leadership on these complex issues requires nothing less.

 

- Kathy Kershner

PS – Last week, my campaign picked up two more important endorsements from Whatcom Fire District 7 and the Whatcom County Republican Party. Would you consider also supporting my campaign with a much needed donation today? 

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