As your Whatcom County Executive, I will work with you to build a county government that is inclusive, responsive, and transparent to ensure that everyone has a voice in solving the problems before us. I will be a fierce advocate for improving people’s lives and helping them realize their dreams. I will also continue my life-long commitment of defending our environment for our children and grandchildren.
Success as the County Executive is based upon the relationships you can build, delivering real results and being a trusted partner. I have a 20-year history of bringing diverse groups together to create and achieve a common vision. With open and honest communications, a cooperative and inclusive management style, and a willingness to listen to others, I will bring a different leadership style to county government that fosters a collaborative approach and embodies the belief that “we all do better when we all do better.”
I will take a bold approach to leadership – one that reaches out to ALL communities and challenges the status quo. Everyone in Whatcom County should have access to a good job, affordable housing, and safe communities.
I humbly admit that I don’t have the miracle cure to all the challenges we face, but I do believe that together we can move our county forward. What I do have is a curiosity to learn, a deep commitment to improve the world we all live in, and an unrelenting drive to make things better.
Whatcom County is on the right path, but we need a steady hand to build a bright future for our families and future generations. I bring decades of experience leading organizations through difficult times. From small nonprofits, to nationally renowned academic institutions, to international environmental organizations, I understand what it takes to implement positive change.
Let’s come together to get Whatcom County working for All of us.
Jim can be defined in one word: community. Over the years, the make-up of that community has changed, but it has always been important to Jim to build those connections that sustain us and help us become our best self.
Jim has led a varied life including working as a teacher with at-risk youth, a firefighter for the Forest Service, and as a bison ranch manager for the Nature Conservancy. His career has also included working for the US Department of Interior on salmon recovery issues in the Pacific Northwest, starting his own consulting company, and managing organizations as diverse as the Loon Preservation Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Whatcom County. Currently, he is working on international environmental issues for the Organization for Tropical Studies.
For the last 20 years, Jim has had a wonderful partner – his wife Elizabeth. She is Jim’s biggest role model as she lives her life with the understanding that together we can help fulfill each other’s dreams. Her passion for youth empowerment and for equity in our public schools have reinforced Jim’s commitment to these values. As a business owner for 19 years, Elizabeth also provides great insights into the challenges faced by small businesses. Jim and Elizabeth have two sons: Jackson, 16 and Thomas, 13 and two lovable dogs Rizzy and Baker.
Connection and passion have been always been a part of Jim’s life. They have worked together to broaden Jim’s view of community to include neighbors, friends, co-workers, people of all faiths, the greater world around him, and the extended community of people who are striving to make the world better.
We have a growing and diverse economy in Whatcom County. From farming to tourism, our local industries are not only competing locally but across the globe. In order to compete, we must build an economy that works for everyone by making investments in workforce training, apprenticeships and education. The role of local government is to support our local industries and become a strong partner in helping open new markets for their products, help cut through the red tape of bureaucracy and encourage the positive role our businesses play in our communities.
We must open our doors to those who want to invest in Whatcom County with the highest labor, environment and fairness standards.
Whatcom County is a beautiful place to live and work. From the Cascade Mountains to the Salish Sea, we are ALL stewards of these treasures. We are also faced with complex problems like decreasing quality of our drinking water, competing demands for limited water resources particularly at critical times of the year, increasing threats to the Salish Sea from pollution and marine traffic, and loss of air quality due to traffic and forest fires.
There is not a simple answer to any of these problems, but ALL of us must have a voice in developing and implementing the solutions needed to keep Whatcom County as the ideal place to live and work.
For Whatcom County to prosper, we must be a welcoming place that embraces and celebrates diversity. The County Executive can set the tone for the community and, with my leadership, Whatcom County will be a place for ALL of us.
As a community, we must work together to address our housing crisis which ranges from homelessness, to substandard housing, to housing that consumes an outsized portion of the family budget. As a county government, we must provide effective public transportation for all county residents and improved access to services, including high speed internet. For the region, we must build an equitable criminal justice system that seeks to prevent incarceration and fosters rehabilitation. For communities and people to thrive, health care, including mental health services, must be accessible and affordable, no matter where you live in the county.