Business Pulse September | October 2022

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Hoagland Pharmacy looks ahead to the next 40 years of care Eight pharmacists and more than 60 employees continue to provide quality, personalized pharmaceutical care SPECIAL SECTION — MEET THE CANDIDATES Read about their positions on key issues in Whatcom County PLUS:

Hoagland Pharmacy co-owner Dr. Carson Huntoon

BusinessPulsemagazine 3111NewmarketSt.,Ste.106 Bellingham,WA98226 The PULSE of Whatcom County $4.99 5NO.47VOL.2022SEPTEMBER/OCTOBERCOUNTYWHATCOMOFPULSETHEPULSEBUSINESS SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2022

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VOL. 47 | NO. 5

For editorial comments and suggestions, write info@whatcombusinessalliance.com. The magazine is published bimonthly at 3111 Newmarket St., Ste. 106, Bellingham WA 98226. (360) 746.0418. Yearly subscription rate is $25 (US). For digital subscription, visit businesspulse.com. Entire contents copyrighted ©2022 Business Pulse. All rights reserved.

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BOARD CHAIR: Pam Brady, Director NW Gov’t & Public Affairs, BP Cherry Point

Your local business news brought to you by WHATCOM BUSINESS ALLIANCE We Can’t Give You a HugSo How About a Mug Stop by Our New Digs, 1415 Iowa St. So We Can Give You a Mug Birchequipment.com • Facebook • Instagram PUBLISHER Whatcom Business Alliance EDITOR Matthew Anderson Bellingham PR & Communications CONTRIBUTING Heather Lea WRITER Tony LorraineMoceriWilde GUEST COLUMNISTS Ken LawrenceKevinBellTepkerWilson ART DIRECTOR Whitney Pearce PHOTOGRAPHY Sattva Photo EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Barbara Chase Cover Photo by Sattva Photo

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: ; John Huntley, President/ CEO, Mills Electric Inc.; Doug Thomas, President/CEO, Bellingham Cold Storage; Josh Turrell, Partner, Larson Gross PLLC; Josh Wright, VP/Broker, Bell-Anderson Insurance

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Tyler Byrd, CEO, Red Rokk Interactive; Jane Carten, President, Saturna Capital; Andy Enfield, Vice President, Enfield Farms; Bryant Engebretson, Managing Principal, Tradewinds Capital; Jon Ensch, Commercial Banking Officer, Peoples Bank; Mitch Faber, Partner, Adelstein Sharpe & Serka; Sandy Keathley, Former Owner, K & K Industries; Tony Larson, President, Barlean’s; Becky Raney, Former Owner, Print & Copy Factory; Sarah Rothenbuhler, Owner/ CEO, Birch Equipment; Patrick Schuppert, Commercial Banking Relationship Manager, Wells Fargo; Galen Smith, Operations Manager/Owner, Coldstream Farms; Carryn Vande Griend, Government Affairs Representative, PSE; Billy VanZanten, CEO, Western Refinery Services

3 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Business Pulse, 3111 Newmarket St. Ste. 106, Bellingham WA 98226

WBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

As a locally and independently owned pharmacy for over 40 years, Hoagland is poised to provide and care for this community for years to come.

53 Port of Bellingham has year full of success stories and plans for future

3 simple steps to protect your business from fraud

Candidatesdevelopmentrespond

4 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 19 27 12

19 SETTLING BACK TO NORMAL

51COLUMNS

to questions on 10 key issues of concern in Whatcom County. Hear from:

Simon Sefzik, 42nd District, Senator Sharon Shemake, 42nd District, Senator Alicia Rule, 42nd District, House Position 1

Dan Johnson, 42nd District, House Position 2

Dan Matthews, US Congress District 2

Rick Larsen, US Congress District 2

Joe Timmons, 42nd District, House Position 2

Washington among the most expensive states in which to hire workers

27 MEET THE

Tawsha Dykstra Thompson, 42nd District House Position 1

IN THIS ISSUE

12 COMMITMENT TO CARING

The demand for housing is not going away as people still want to live in Whatcom County and not enough homes are being built.

Alex Ramel, 40th District, House Position 2 Trevor Smith, 40th District, House Position 2

CANDIDATES56

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Our community needs our leadership — now more than ever

As business leaders, we can have a voice in the type of economy we want to see but we must use that voice.

We are a commu nity that has always been defined by big ideas, big heart, and big success. Business leaders in Whatcom County have a vested interest in and the desire to be a part of solving issues like hunger, homelessness, housing, and the environment. A local economy built on a shared goal of prosperity is a necessary part of solving these problems.

it is time for action.

6 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 BP UP FRONT

It is important that we realize the power our collective voice can give the business community to affect the economy. Supporting our busi ness community should never be a partisan issue.

As business leaders, we can have a voice in the type of economy we want to see but we must use that voice. It is an election year — which means results matter — and in 2022 it is time for action. The business community needs to stand up and be heard. Our community needs our leadership — now more than ever.

concerns at the federal level, while Simon Sefzik, Sharon Shewmake, Alicia Rule, Tawsha Dykstra Thompson, Joe Timmons, Dan Johnson, Alex Ramel and Trev or Smith covered local and state issues.We are united in our apprecia tion of Whatcom County busi nesses and the challenges they face while navigating challenging economic headwinds. Proposed

In this issue we asked candidates ten key questions covering issues facing Whatcom County busi nesses and residents. Rick Larsen and Dan Matthews responded to

...

tax increases, increased crime, labor shortages, climate change, water rights, inflation, housing, home lessness, health care and budget concerns are all issues we asked our district candidates to answer.

1-year subscription (6 issues) $25 2-year subscription (12 issues) $45 3-year subscription (18 issues) $60

Barbara Chase, Executive Director Whatcom Business Alliance

On behalf of the team here at Business Pulse, we hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you to all of our advertisers and sponsors for mak ing this and every issue of Business Pulse possible. We could not do this without your support!

I encourage you to read this issue cover to cover and immerse your self in the proud four-decades-long history of Hoagland Pharmacy by Lorraine Wilde (p. 12).

7 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

businesspulse.com/subscribe

This is an area that would have been waiting at least a decade to be developed by the City of Belling ham into a park and we’re so glad it came early!

The real estate frenzy has re cently been at the top of discus sions, and Tony Moceri takes an in-depth look at the local market with experts weighing in on what to expect in the coming months and years, starting on p. 19.

Port Commissioner Ken Bell also gives an update on some ex citing redevelopment happening at the port properties. Perhaps you’ve been down to the incredibly suc cessful container village in Way point Park and “The Portal.”

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

Peoples Bank promotes Amanda Scoby to chief risk officer

Brist MFG recognized for second time as one of America’s companiesfastest-growing

Peoples Bank has announced the expansion of its small business lending team to support a growing community of small businesses ready to take the next step in their growth.

Brist MFG, a Bellingham branded apparel designer and manufacturing company, has made it to the INC 5000 list as one of America’s fastest-grow ing companies, in part by focusing on making each of its apparel programs sustainable.Thecompany started in 2010 as a private label and pivoted to design ing and manufacturing retail-quality branded apparel for other brands (such as Montucky, Google and PBR) in 2015. With the advent of COVID-19 and an increase in awareness for social responsibility in reflection of climate change, CEO Brendan Pape pushed for a focus on introducing sustainable options to each product line.Brist

Tiffany Blair, who previously served as a small business lender at the Peoples Bank Barkley Financial Center and retail branch manager of the downtown Bellingham branch, was promoted to small business lending manager. Michele Stocking, Small Business Administration production manager, will now report to the com mercial lending group to better assist these customers.

Scoby is committed to ensuring Peoples Bank has proper oversight and internal controls in place to mitigate risk and vulnerabilities that potentially could impact business performance.“Acorepart of serving our com munity, customers and employees includes deploying risk management measures that ensure the continued success of the bank,” Scoby said.

Brendan Pape Juilia Parker Ben Faber

Amanda Scoby Tiffany Blair Michele Stocking

8 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 BP NEWSMAKERS

cash flow, or introductions to other businesses and organizations in the community.”Goto:www.peoplesbank-wa.com.

MFG specializes in custom hats, beanies, button-up shirts, flan nels and screen printing. The compa ny is proud to have brought sustain able and eco-friendly options to each of these categories. Product director Laura Sonderman, with experience developing for Justice and Abercrom bie & Fitch, is responsible for innova tion and sourcing

“As a family owned bank, we have always been committed to ensuring that our commercial customers — no matter their size — have access to the financial support and services that will enable them to grow success fully,” said Curtis Arneson, director of commercial lending at Peoples Bank. “Small businesses are a vital part of our Washington communities, which Peoples Bank has been a part of for more than 100 years.”

Peoples Bank has announced the promotion of Amanda Scoby to senior vice president, chief risk officer. In this role, Scoby chairs the bank’s operational risk committee and is responsible for overall enterprise risk management. Scoby joined Peoples Bank in 2013 and has served as the di rector of audit for the past eight years.

Scoby is a certified public accoun tant and an honors graduate of Texas A&M, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and a Master of Science in finance. She was awarded the Peoples Bank Integrity Leadership Award in 2015.

“We are a community bank that val ues small business,” said Alex Sansoni, commercial market leader for Sno homish County at Peoples Bank. “Our expanded team will ensure these customers have access to a dedicat ed banker who will prioritize their business. We will work with custom ers to identify their needs, whether it is a small business loan to support an equipment upgrade or purchase, a line of credit to help improve their

Peoples Bank expands small business lending team

Go to: https://bristmfg.com.

With these appointments, Peoples Bank is applying the same communi ty banking ethos it was founded on — a dedication to building personal relationships with all its customers.

Sumas Elementary also features a high-end camera system and a security system with a one-button lockdown that will secure buildings and dispatch first responders.

Experienced business loan officer joins North Coast Credit Union

Go to: www.northcoastcu.com.

After 75,000 man-hours of work and approximately 1,800 cubic yards of concrete poured, Faber Construction is nearly ready to invite students, staff, parents and the public to the new Sumas Elementary School.

Faber Construction completes construction of Sumas Elementary

“We also installed a great outdoor playground and a covered area for year-round playing,” Smith said.

The 24-classroom campus was built on the same property as the former school, which was severely damaged by flooding last November. The flood forced Sumas students to attend other schools in the district after they already had to stay home for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sumas Elementary School

North Coast Credit Union has bolstered its commercial banking ca pabilities by appointing Julia Parker as vice president/member business lending.Parker has more than 30 years of experience in the financial industry, serving clients in Whatcom and Skagit counties.“Julia’sextensive knowledge and expertise will greatly benefit our cur rent and future business members,” said Marilyn Brink, president and CEO of North Coast Credit Union.

“Completing Sumas Elementa ry School is one of our proudest achievements, especially since we worked through a multi-year pan demic and a terrible flood in Novem ber 2021,” said Ben Faber, company president. “This project is special to us because the Faber family and many of Faber Construction’s employees, including the project superintendent, grew up in Sumas, and many gradu ated from the Nooksack Valley School District.”“We’re honored to have been se lected as the general contractor and work with the Zervas architectural firm, along with a large pool of local subcontractors and suppliers.”

Go to: www.faberconstruction.com.

Lynden-based and locally owned Faber Construction reached the substantial completion milestone on June 6, less than two years after breaking ground on Sept. 30, 2020. The 51,412-square-foot campus, part of the Nooksack Valley School District, will have its first day of school Aug. 31.

Parker also has actively supported numerous nonprofit organizations. She currently heads the Whatcom Family YMCA board as chief visionary officer and has served as treasurer of the Women’s Professional Network and Whatcom Hockey Association.

North Coast Credit Union mem bership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Washington state.

Parker said her approach to bank ing has remained simple.

9 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

“Before that flooding occurred, the new school was designed with the finished floor elevation 3 feet above the 100-year flood elevation,” said Connor Smith, Faber Construction superintendent. “The crawl space has been designed to allow water to flow through, mitigating ‘flood shadowing’ that could affect adjacent properties. Also, we installed flood gates to pro tect doors and used waterproof paint to keep water from seeping through walls.”Smith noted that Sumas Elemen tary was constructed with many environmentally friendly and safety features.Thebuilding includes high-effi ciency mechanical equipment and plumbing fixtures, he said. High-ef ficiency insulation, ceiling fans for classrooms and sunshades on south ern-facing windows provide ener gy-efficient alternatives to building environmental control.

“Banking is a people business, and I have deep roots in Whatcom and Skagit counties,” Parker said. “I am dedicated to the people of these communities. It’s a joy and privilege to assist my clients with their finan cial goals and help them successfully grow and sustain their businesses.”

WTA’s competitive grant application was one of 150 to receive funding out of 530 applications from throughout the country. It was supported by U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene and Sen. Patty Murray.

“This much-needed funding fills a significant gap and could not have come at a better time,” said Michael Lilliquist, WTA Board chair and city councilman. “It will help turn WTA’s long-term plans for cleaner, less-pol luting buses into a reality. We’ve already invested in the charging infrastructure and have a ready power source, trained drivers and skilled me chanics to handle the new technolo gy. This grant removes the last major hurdle for success.”

Federal grant advances WTA’s conversion to zero-emission fleet

Through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, Whatcom Transpor tation Authority was recently award ed an $8.86 million grant to purchase electric buses and chargers.

10 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 BP NEWSMAKERS

This funding will allow WTA to replace eight 2011 diesel buses with electric buses and to purchase and install electric chargers. Once these buses enter service in 2024, 12 of WTA’s 62 fixed-route buses will be electric. WTA’s goal is to convert to 100% zero-emissions vehicles by 2040.Compared to the eight diesel buses they will replace, the electric buses will reduce WTA’s carbon dioxide emissions by 9,000 tons throughout their 12-year service life. They also will reduce diesel fuel use by 800,000 gallons, reduce particulate matter emissions by 48 pounds, and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 432 pounds.

Kulshan Community Land Trust receives $5,000 grant from WaFd Bank’s Foundation to familiesresourcedhomeownershipsupportforunder-WhatcomCounty

The project is currently in phase 1, with eight homes completed in the past year, four more nearly com pleted, and an additional 11 about to break ground. The second phase will consist of more than 30 additional townhomes. When complete, the proj ect will allow more than 50 low- and moderate-income households to own their homes, with mortgage payments of $1,000 a month or less. In addition, these homes will allow the owners to build equity and remain permanently affordable for future owner, enabling under-resourced families to escape the cycle of renting while building financial stability and emotional well-being.“Thisgrant will enable KulshanCLT to help more Whatcom County fami lies out of the uncertainty of renting and into the stability of a home they own,” said Dean Fearing, KulshanCLT’s executive director. “I’m thankful for the Washington Federal Foundation taking action on their commitment to equitable homeownership. Kulshan CLT plans to build 35 homes in the

PHOTOS: Courtesy photo

Kulshan Community Land Trust (KulshanCLT) received a $5,000 grant from WaFd Bank’s Washington Federal Foundation to support construction of more permanently affordable housing for under-resourced families in What comWithCounty.expanding disparity between household income and house pur chase price, KulshanCLT is experienc ing a record-high waitlist and will use the Washington Federal Foundation grant to help fund additional staff re sources to expedite the construction of a permanently affordable town home community in Bellingham.

The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program — more than six times more funding than was available in the previous five years.

“We applaud the work of Kulshan Community Land Trust for advancing equity with homeownership, adding to the health and vibrancy of our community,” said Tom Pozarycki, WaFd Bank Northern Washington regional president. “As a bank dedicated to supporting equitable homeownership, we’re pleased to support KulshanCLT’s efforts to make that dream a reality for everyone who calls Bellingham home.”

www.tradewinds cm.com

www.tradewinds-cm.com 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 401 Bellingham, WA 98226 360.715.9000

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s newly expanded Cardio vascular Imaging Center opened on Monday, Aug. 22, at 2980 Squalicum Parkway, Suite 219 on the ground floor.The new 10,000 square foot Cardio vascular Imaging Center will include:

• Six echo labs, an increase from four

11 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

next three years, and support like this helps make that possible.”

Expanded CenterCardiovascularPeaceHealthImagingopens

• Five vascular ultrasound rooms, an increase from three previously

Go to: peacehealth.org.

Kyle B. Jackson, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, ChFC®

2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 401 Bellingham, WA 98226 360.715.9000

• Expanded nuclear medicine cam era capabilities, including faster scan times to serve more patients per day, and the ability to move other non-cardiac outpatient stud ies from the hospital to this new imaging

Bryant J. Engebretson, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, AEP®,ChFC®, CASL®

Bryant J. Engebretson, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, AEP®, ChFC®, CASL®

• A Cardiovascular Recovery and Procedure Unit where outpatient non-invasive cardiovascular proce

dures can be performed, including Transesophageal Echocardiograms (TEE), cardioversions, and loop recorders

Cardiovascular Imaging Center is unique because it combines several cardiovascular tech nologies and outpatient procedures in one convenient location for patients. More than new equipment, this center will mean substantially more access to critical cardiovascular diagnostic services for our community, leading to improved overall heart care.

Your Business Retirement Plan Solution

$5,000 in previous grant support to Kulshan Community Land Trust. Go to: www.kulshanclt.org.

Regionally,centerthenew

Washington Federal Foundation focuses on programs and causes that help provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income individ uals, providing support for social agencies and nonprofits that serve the needs in the communities where WaFd Bank does business. The Foundation has awarded more than $115,000 to Bellingham area nonprofits, including

Your Business Retirement Plan Solution

Kyle B. Jackson, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, ChFC®

Being part of the community and serving the local people is what’s so great Hoagindependentaboutpharmacy.”—Dr.CarsonHuntoon,landPharmacyco-ownerPHOTO:SattvaPhoto

40 years of service

Lorraine Wilde

13 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

Hoagland Pharmacy has been a Bellingham fixture since 1981

pharmacist who graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, launched his own pharma cy business with his wife, Rosa, after working at the former Fountain Drug for many years.

I

“With co-owners, we’re able to pool our strengths,” Huntoon said.

In January 2000, Hoagland moved to its current location at the corner of Texas and Yew streets in the Roosevelt neighborhood.Inaddition to serving retail cus tomers at the pharmacy, Hoagland supports a wide range of assisted living facilities, family group homes and adult family homes via its longterm care pharmacy. Opened in 2004

In January 2019, Hoagland was purchased by three of its long-term employees — Huntoon, pharmacist and president, who serves as the longterm care pharmacy manager; Carrie Stephens, company administrative director, secretary and treasurer; and Carl Neal, Hoagland’s vice president.

Four decades of community care

In 1985, the pharmacy moved to a larger location to gain more space and add employees. Then in 1987, Hoag land and his colleague, Ed Mohs, be came certified to offer compounded compounds — custom-made phar maceutical formulations blended inhouse — at first to the local hospice and then eventually to the community at large, including many medical and veterinary specialists.

FEATURE BP

Hoagland, a community fixture since 1981, got its start when Bellingham’s population was less than half of what it is today. Dr. Michael Hoagland, a

on Meador Avenue in the Haskell Business Complex, this closed-door pharmacy provides crucial services be hind the scenes to our most vulnerable populations.“We’redelivering meds as far north as Lynden and Blaine and as far south as Everett,” explained Dr. Carson Huntoon, one of the pharmacy’s cur rent co-owners. “We service nursing homes, assisted living, small adult family homes, group homes. We are providing a service to the community in the background that people aren’t even aware of.”

Huntoon grew up in the Lake Samish area. “I still live in the same

t would be easy to take our phar macies for granted, but they are one of the most valued assets of a community. Most people need their services at some point in their lives. We trust them to help us stay healthy, to come through during challenging times and to support us as we age. Lo cally and independently owned Hoag land Pharmacy has filled this vital role in Bellingham and Whatcom County for more than 40 years. With both a retail pharmacy and a closed-door long-term care pharmacy, Hoagland builds solid relationships with patients and caregivers, provides essential ed ucation and empowers its customers to care for themselves and their fam ilies. No matter how our needs evolve, Hoagland is poised to provide and care for this community.

We all hear about the staffing shortag es, but we’re feeling that, too.”

PHOTO: Sattva Photo

Retail and closed-door pharmacy services

Stephens moved to the area after leaving a human resources position in Nebraska in 2004, first joining the team as a bookkeeper and then being promoted to office manager and eventually becoming a co-owner. Her strength has been stewarding the company through its many transitions and unexpected challenges over the years. “Mike sold to the three of us because it was important to him for the pharmacy to stay locally owned,” Stephens said. “I’m a lot like Mike in that when I get up in the morning, I’m responsible for 60 people having a job. The decisions that I make, even when they are hard, are about keeping them employed.”

Hoagland has been hiring constant ly, both in the retail and closed-door pharmacy, Huntoon said, including pharmacy assistants and evening parttime delivery service drivers who start at 5:45 p.m. delivering medications and durable medical equipment to long-term care facilities.

“We always try to be competitive with our wages and offer above-aver age employee benefits,” Stephens said. “Our pharmacy assistants don’t need prior pharmacy training because we offer paid on-the-job training, and if we see potential in someone, we look in-house first when we are looking for pharmacy technicians. We only ask that they commit to working with us for at least a year after their training is complete. Other than at-home study time, they’re getting paid for hands-on training without having to pay tuition at another location, like a community college.”

14 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022

The retail pharmacy offers a range of products and services, including home health durable medical equipment and diabetic supplies. It also is the home of the compounding pharmacy.

“A veterinarian writes a prescription just like your doctor does for you,” Huntoon said. “For example, we for

Hoagland Pharmacy’s retail and compounding store at 2330 Yew St. in Bellingham.

house I was born in,” he said. “This is home.” He graduated from Sehome High School, Western Washington University and then the UW School of Pharmacy. After completing a suc cessful internship in 2005, Huntoon was hired at the Hoagland retail phar macy in 2007 and then moved to its long-term care pharmacy in 2009. By 2010, he’d become its manager. “Being part of the community and serving the local people is what’s so great about independent pharmacy,” he said.

“Compounding allows for pa tient-specific medications with cus tom doses and administration routes that are non-standard,” Huntoon said. “Hormone replacement therapy is a bigHoaglandone.” also compounds medica tions for people’s pets.

“The hardest part now is that COVID is still out there,” Huntoon explained. “Facilities are still having outbreaks. Everyone is having to deal with COVID and finding new staff.

“Hoagland is still doing flu and COVID testing and vaccinations for Whatcom County school districts, the city and some privately owned larger employers,” Stephens said. “We made sure our first responders were vaccinat ed when they showed up to a call. That was important to us. We worked seven days a week getting people vaccinated. Places like Sehome and Mount Baker high schools, we vaccinated staff so people could get back to in-person learning.”Stephens is still organizing Hoag land’s clinics around the county for companies with more than 60 em ployees to give flu shots and COVID boosters to those that are eligible.

As soon as COVID-19 tests and vaccinations became available in Jan uary 2021, Hoagland mobilized its team to provide clinics that service many people efficiently and effectively.

Helping our community through the pandemic and staff shortages

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now, rather than having to make an appointment and see their doctors, customers will be able to come here to get their flu testing,” Stephens said.

This fall, Hoagland will offer on-site flu testing to take the pressure off area physicians and medical centers. “We started out doing COVID testing, so

PHOTO: Sattva Photo

Today, with eight pharmacists and more than 60 other employees, Hoag land continues to provide the same quality, personalized pharmaceutical care the company has from the very beginning — and to many of the same customers who have been there since day one. ■

Daisy weighs a chemical powder during the compounding process of a patient specific prescription.

great for parents, loved ones and those on multiple meds. It’s complicated to do it at home, but we take care of all that, so they just have to pick up their mediset, and they don’t run out. Some pick up several weeks’ worth at a time.”

In addition to supporting the com munity through the pharmacy, Hoag land matches employee donations to the Pass the Hat nonprofit, which provides financial relief to Whatcom County families that have experienced tragicHoaglandevents.also donates funds to the Bellingham School District Foun dation and to sports programs in the Blaine, Mount Baker and Meridian school districts and auctions items and services for fundraisers for local nonprofits such as Brigid Collins and Lydia Place.

The closed-door pharmacy provides a unique essential service that helps customers manage multiple medica tions with fewer errors and omissions. Hoagland’s medication therapy man agement services look at a patient’s whole prescription profile and address any concerns, such as negative drug interactions“Forexample, what we call our ‘me diset department’ provides a week’s supply of all the person’s meds — or ganized for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime — to try to make it con venient for the patient so they don’t miss medications or make mistakes,” Huntoon said. “We also reach out to prescribers if they need refills. It’s

Hoagland is just beginning to get calls requesting monkeypox vaccines, but Huntoon said that the vaccines are so scarce, they’re not yet available in Whatcom County. “When they become available and there is a need in the community, we will have them,” Stephens said.

17 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

Hoagland also offers travel immu nizations through the retail pharmacy. For a consult fee of $30 per family, Hoagland will look up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rec ommendations for wherever you plan to go. “We’ll schedule an appointment, and they can come in and get their vaccinations against yellow fever, hep atitis or whatever is recommended for that area,” Huntoon said. “We’ll even bill your pharmacy insurance for you for the cost of the vaccines. We’ve seen demand for this service start to come back as people begin to travel again since the pandemic.”

In September, the CDC is expect ed to authorize a new version of the COVID-19 vaccine based on more re cent COVID strains, such as the omi cron variant BA.5. “COVID changes so rapidly, we’re anticipating that the CDC will make this booster available for a larger demographic than is cur rently eligible,” Huntoon said.

Giving back more than pharmacy services

Looking to the future

mulate antibiotics, and a common one is methimazole, a treatment for over active thyroid in cats. It might be in a dose that’s not available commercially. We can flavor it with tuna or chicken for easier administration. Or for cats, they get the best absorption through ears, so we make a gel that you can rub into their ears, so you don’t have to get them to swallow a pill.”

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To get some insight, I chatted with Wynden Holman of Windermere Real Estate, Troy Muljat of the Muljat Group, Carmen Denson of Umpqua Bank, and Megan Jensen of On Point Appraisal 360.

With inventory on the rise, Jensen added, the roiling market of the past few years has begun to stabilize.

While all those I interviewed agreed that the market had changed, none of them was under the impression that

e are all in some way connected to the residential real estate market, and for the last couple of years, it has been hard not to pay attention to what has been happening. Home values have been increasing at an unprecedented rate, and listings barely hit the market before they are sold. Sellers have been enjoying big gains, with buyers taking advantage of historically low interest rates. Amid what felt like chaos, it was challenging to keep up with what was going on — and frustrating for many buyers who were forced to sit on the sidelines as they were priced out of the market or lost out on bidding wars.

“I think there’s been a rush from sellers to put their homes on the market a little sooner than they were possibly wanting to, just to try and get to the market before it shifts a little bit more.”

W

“With inventory being close to a seven-year high, we are still a far cry

CARMEN DENSON UMPQUA BANK

This bit of pressure being taken off buyers also has resulted in an increase in home inspections, which tradition ally is a part of the buying process.

Realistic real estate

the sky was falling or that the bot tom would completely fall out of the housing market. With approximately two months’ worth of inventory on the market, it feels different from the past couple of years, but for those who have spent their careers observing, the mar ket trending toward a larger supply of homes is not abnormal.

FEATURE BP

Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve decided that inflation was higher than they liked and responded by increasing interest rates multiple times, with the potential for more on the horizon. This increase in rates has decreased home owners’ buying power, tempering the frenzied housing market we had been seeing. With so much confusion and uncertainty tied to residential real es tate, there is no better time to consult

Tony Moceri

with experts to try and make heads or tails of the state of Whatcom County’s market and where it may be headed.

from the four to six months of inven tory that we need to be a normal mar ket,” Muljat said.

Whatcom market begins slow settle into normalcy

19 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

“There’s a shortage of homes, but we’re also seeing more inventory now — back to kind of pre-pandemic lev els,” she said. “I think it’s just been at this constant rolling boil for two years, and now we’re kind of going back to a simmer.”What this bump in inventory has done is allowed for the buying process to act a little more normal than it had been.“In early spring, sellers weren’t tak ing offers contingent on the buyers selling their home,” Holman said. “Now we see where sellers are actually open to that, where they’re, like, ‘OK, well, I didn’t sell it in the first five days; maybe if you really want to buy it and you want to put your house on the market, that’s OK.’ That is compound ing inventory right now.”

“I think there’s been a rush from sellers to put their homes on the mar ket a little sooner than maybe they were possibly wanting to,” Denson said, “just to try and get to the market before it shifts a little bit more.”

While the sales process being elon gated has led to some of the increase in inventory, Denson doesn’t see that as the only factor.

The combination of an influx in list ings and buyers’ current sentiment has created this trend toward normalcy. Buying power for those borrowing has dropped with the increase in interest rates.“People that were pre-approved for $550,00 earlier in the year, when rates were in the threes, are approved for, say, $445,000, now that rates are in the mid 5% range,” Denson said.

“In Bellingham, we are not adding product, we’re not building new homes ... sales have actually been flat to declining since 2015.”

20 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022

While the frenzy seems to be over, there is still a lack of housing units county-wide. It has been external factors, such as interest rates, that have shifted the market — not that there are suddenly enough homes in the area.

TROY MULJATMULJATGROUP

The demand is still out there for peo ple who want housing, but buyers’ level of aggressiveness has waned as they look for houses they want to live in instead of just houses they can live in.

“They’re still not finding the prod uct that they want, the homes they are looking for, because there is still a lack of inventory,” Muljat said. “In Belling ham, we are not adding product; we’re not building new homes. Therefore, sales have actually been flat to declin ing since 2015. Ferndale and Lynden have been really growing, because they’ve added new construction — but not in our major city, Bellingham.”

were prevalent before the 2008 crisis, resulting in a lot of foreclosures. While there are some lending products that Denson is seeing being pushed that have her nervous — such as 12-month adjustable-rate mortgages — she hopes that educated

One factor is the demand for the area, and another is the ways in which homes have been purchased during the past few years. Lending practices have changed since the recession, pro tecting borrowers from buying homes they couldn’t actually afford.

verification.”Thoseloans

This combination of factors has created an interesting scenario for Whatcom County’s residential mar ket. While the frenzy seems to be over, there is still a lack of housing units county-wide. It has been external fac tors, such as interest rates, that have shifted the market — not that there are suddenly enough homes in the area. As a result, while buying power may have declined and there are some price reductions being seen, it is not expected that the bottom will fall out like during the last recession.

MEGAN JENSEN ON POINT APPRAISAL 360

“There were a lot of pulse loans out there, so basically, if you had a credit score and a heartbeat, you could get a loan for zero down and a stated income loan as well,” Denson said. “There was a program called the NINA, which is no income, no employment, no asset

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“[Now] I don’t have any contact with the lender unless there’s a question, and then that’s usually through a third party.”

buyers will avoid loans that can lead to pitfalls down the road.

“I don’t have any contact with the lender unless there’s a question, and then usually that’s through a third party,” Jensen said. “I either work with an appraisal management company, or there’s somebody in between. I never directly talk to the mortgage broker; it might be somebody from their ap praisal department or in management orSo,something.”ifweare not heading toward a housing crisis, where are we headed?

1500 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225 Phone: 360 671-1796 Fax: 360 671-3781

be the random bidding war in core neighborhoods, and price reductions will be seen as sellers face the reality of our current market. However, no one I spoke with expects a cataclysmic shift in the market.

attorneys and we continue to add talented lawyers to meet the needs of our clients now and into the Recognizingfuture. that we thrive as a team, we congratulate two of our principals, Jon Sitkin and Frank Chmelik, who have been selected to the 2022 Washington Super Lawyers list and note that Frank has been selected every year since the list started, while Jon has been selected for the past fifteen years. Only five percent of all lawyers in Washington are selected to this prestigious list.

The appraisal process has also changed to eliminate pressure from lenders to have homes appraise for high enough for loans to be approved. While lenders used to be able to choose their appraisers, they are now just on a rotation, so whoever is next in line does the appraisal.

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“I believe we will have a 5-7% increase in prices over the next two

The core elements — people want to live in Whatcom County and not enough homes are being built — have not changed, which means the de mand for housing is not going away. The process is simply changing again, and for those who have been in a profession tied to real estate through multiple markets, this is nothing new. It is a trend toward a familiar world in which homes take time to sell, interest is a substantial portion of a monthly housing payment, and sellers may be negotiating with one buyer instead of hosting an auction for the highest bidder. ■

“I believe we will have a 5-7% in crease in prices over the next two years,” Holman said.

No one with whom I spoke had a crystal ball, but their forecasts for the housing market in Whatcom County

This trend toward normalcy will give those who have not been able to compete in the bidding wars an op portunity to find a home. Rates going up might mean larger down payments or the purchase of less of a home, but the demand is still there. There could

It takes a team.

That type of increase is very normal for long-term historical trends.

22 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022

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I get the impression that this trend will continue, with a shift toward a normal market that sees months of in ventory and homes taking some time to sell. Many existing buyers have been forced to be patient because they were

Despite the downturn elsewhere, local demand remains high

Expect home values to stabilize, with modest appreciation

Tony Moceri

As a longtime local builder, real es tate consultant and investor, I spend much of my time discussing What com County’s real estate market with people. Whether they want to get into their first home, build their dream home or find an investment property, people’s discussions often are centered on the same concerns: They like Whatcom County, but it is hard to find what they are looking for, es pecially for a reasonable price. Finding

With all these factors in place, it would seem that Whatcom County’s real estate market could be headed towards a downturn — except for the fact that demand has remained high

Historically, I have seen the bulk of these people being retirees looking for a place to live an active lifestyle. More and more, however, it is younger people who have made money in the tech industry and are fleeing a big city or who have the ability to work from anywhere.Whilein the last few months, I have observed homes taking longer to sell and even some price reductions, which had been unheard of lately, it doesn’t seem that the buyers have gone away — it’s just that they are trying to figure out how to buy. Rising interest rates have made an already expensive mar ket that much harder to afford, and a volatile stock market has some people on edge.

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land available to build on is challeng ing; even when that piece is found, it is often an arduous task to get to the building stage. Building costs are up, and now so are interest rates. Exist ing homes have shot up in value, and many on the market need work.

and adding homes is an expensive, challenging task. I chat with many people who have grown up in the area and are trying to figure out how to stay and afford a home, but I am also seeing an increase in people moving to the area from other places in the state, country and world. Whatcom Coun ty has many elements people want, keeping a steady flow of new residents moving to the area.

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Many existing buyers have been forced to be patient because they were being outbid.

Tony Moceri is a general contractor and vice president of Moceri Construction, free lance writer, coach and real estate investor in Whatcom County.

In what will likely be an interesting market going forward, the same rules apply now that always have when you are looking to buy or sell: Educate yourself on the current market and find quality and experienced profes sionals to help guide you through the process. ■

I would not be surprised to see the occasional bidding war for quality homes in desirable areas, nor would I be surprised to see some homes selling for under the list price, as buyers have more inventory from which to choose. There has been a trend of people seek ing small towns and rural settings in an effort to escape larger cities’ clogged streets and high crime rates. A contin uation of this trend would put pressure on smaller municipalities and outlying areas where zoning limits the addition of new homes.

being outbid. Now they are using that patience to find a good deal. I expect the migration to Whatcom County to continue, which will keep the pressure on a housing market that is already short on units. While other parts of the country might see home values dip in the coming months, I expect What com County to see a stabilization, with modest appreciation.

Now they are using that patience to find a good deal.

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MEET THE CANDIDATES

Business Pulse is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Whether it's local, state or federal, every election is important to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities.

27 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

10 questions. 10 candidates.

Here’s what they said.

These questions will help hold officials accountable by encouraging those who run for any office to articulate a clear, actionable vision to meet the needs of all of us in Whatcom County.

All candidate responses to our questions came directly from the candidates and have been edited for grammar and clarity when needed. Debra Lekanoff (D), running unopposed for 40th District House Position 1, declined to submit answers. Business Pulse does not support or oppose any candidates or parties.

Compiled and edited by Heather Lea

Owner Bob Guenser and daughter, Co-owner Melissa Petersen.

PHOTO: Sattva Photo

Thanks to these actions, the economy is no longer on the

As someone who grew up in Arlington in the 1970s, I understand how inflation hit families in the wallet then just as it hits family wallets today. I have supported legislation to lower Northwest Washington costs to all families. I recent ly supported legislation that lowers the cost of health care and prescription drugs for working families and seniors. That same legislation makes targeted investments to reduce energy costs and combat climate change. I have also backed a bill to crack down on unfair shipping fees that have driven up costs for consumers and businesses.

The sector faces several challenges. At the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, I heard from farmers how a lack of reliable broadband internet hampers their ability to farm in rural areas. I have seen firsthand how devastating flooding has impacted local farms and communities.

www.ricklarsen.org

Rick Larsen (D)

28 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 US CONGRESS DISTRICT 2

I will continue championing strong provisions for agri culture in free trade deals and encouraging the inclusion of

What are your thoughts on how to address climate change? If you think it needs additional resources and focus by the federal government (and Congress), is increasing prices/ taxes justified to address climate change?

As a member of Congress, I take community safety se riously. Whatcom County is an attractive place to raise a family, go to school, work and grow a business. I want to make sure it remains that way.

Climate change is real, caused by human activity, and is a threat to public health, the environment and national security. Protecting Washington’s beautiful surroundings is one of my top priorities. In August, I supported the largest investment to combat climate change in U.S. history — an investment that will reduce carbon emissions by rough ly 40%. The historic bill dedicates $2.6 billion to conserve and restore coastal habitats around Puget Sound and other marineAdditionally,ecosystems.Ihelped write and pass a bold, long-term investment to build a cleaner and greener transportation network and combat climate change. Thanks to that law, the Whatcom Transportation Authority has already been awarded critical funding to replace eight of its aging die sel buses with eight fully electric buses. This will help pull carbon out of local public transit, save WTA money on maintenance costs and ensure residents have reliable transportation.

provisions to loosen limits for U.S. exports abroad so that Whatcom County farmers can continue to feed the world.

Agriculture and family farms are an important part of the economy and character of Whatcom County. In fact, there are more than 1,700 farms in Whatcom County growing the best red raspberries, blueberries and potatoes and pro ducing the best dairy and beef in the state.

Crime has become a major issue, as the frequency and severity of both seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere in the 2nd District. Beside the cat astrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses such as Starbucks, Amazon and others closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County and the 2nd Dis trict, and what changes would you support to help improve the situation?

What will the impact of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 be on citizens and businesses in Whatcom County and the 2nd District? Are there policies that Congress can address that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business? What might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

We need to listen to community members and law en forcement to make smart investments in proven meth ods, like community-based policing initiatives, to further reduce and prevent crime. Congress must increase funding for Byrne-JAG grants, which help support regional drug task forces and other local and state law enforcement needs. I also support funding to help local law enforcement hire more deputies and officers to fight crime and keep communities safe.

I will continue to push back against Republicans who want to defund the FBI and disrupt the important work these women and men are doing to protect communi ties. I will also continue to support legislation to increase police accountability, improve the culture of law enforce ment and build trust between law enforcement and local communities.

Where would you place Whatcom County’s agriculture sector and agriculture in general in your list of key issues? What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing agricul ture in our region?

I recently supported legislation that reduces the federal deficit by approximately $300 billion while making pre scription drugs and health care more affordable for working families and seniors, reducing energy costs and ensuring corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share.

My priority for this year’s budget is to ensure families get the relief they need and invest in local priorities. This year’s budget makes those critical investments while im proving health care for veterans, supporting Northwest Washington specialty crop producers, protecting the envi ronment and more.

grants, which local law enforcement agencies use for a broad range of activities to combat crime. I also support COPS grants that enable local law enforcement agencies to hire more deputies and officers.

29 SEP/OCT 2022 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

Gas prices are coming down, but we cannot stop there. I will continue to support meaningful actions to relieve the financial burden on consumers while also pushing to re duce U.S. reliance on fossil fuel and invest in affordable clean energy alternatives.

Do you believe the federal government budget should be expanded, kept the same or shrunk? Please give concrete examples of where you would increase or decrease spending.

With input from the 2nd District community, elected of ficials and stakeholders, I supported legislation to increase police accountability, improve the culture of law enforce ment and build trust between law enforcement and local communities. I will continue to push back against Republi cans who want to defund the FBI and disrupt the import ant work these women and men do to protect communities.

Ensuring access to high quality, affordable health care is essential for people in Northwest Washington and across the country. Throughout my time in Congress, I have advo cated for funding for critical access hospitals; better health services for veterans, seniors and people with pre-exist ing conditions; and health care that fits working families’ budgets.TheAffordable Care Act has helped thousands of Washington families access quality health care. Thanks to the ACA, Washington state has seen its uninsured pop ulation decrease from 13.9% in 2012 to 5.2% in June 2021, while ensuring 3 million Washingtonians with pre-existing conditions can access health coverage.

What is the best way to lower the cost of health care and health insurance? Do you think that a government-run, so cialized medical system similar to what is in Canada and some European countries is the answer to addressing rising costs?

I do not support a government-run, socialized med ical system like what is in Canada and some European countries. I do strongly support universal health cover

mend, it is on the move. According to 126 leading econo mists, this legislation, which cuts the deficit by $300 bil lion, “will fight inflation and lower costs for American fam ilies while setting the stage for strong, stable and broadly shared long-term economic growth.”

I recognize that gas prices were inching up before Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine in Febru ary. Thanks to Putin’s price hike, consumers and business es in Whatcom County, and around the world, have faced a spike in gas prices. In June, Washington state saw the av erage price of regular gas peak at $5.53, according to AAA. People are feeling the benefit of efforts by Congress and the administration to alleviate the burden at the pump, in cluding the release of more than 90 million barrels of pe troleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this year. As of Aug. 19, the price of regular gas is down an average of 45 cents per gallon in the last month in the Bellingham area, according to AAA.

The women and men who serve in law enforcement play a vital role in keeping 2nd District communities safe. I regularly meet with law enforcement and stakeholders to understand the needs of individual communities and how Congress can support ongoing efforts to reduce and prevent crime. This year’s budget increases funding for Byrne-JAG

Some have suggested that Congress withhold funds from local police departments that have drastically cut/defunded their police departments and/or make them legally liable for personal and property damage. Please tell us your view on the role, funding and value of the various police forces in the 2nd District.

It is clear from my conversations with residents, stake holders and local officials that there is not enough work force housing in Northwest Washington. Region-wide barriers include low vacancy and a deteriorating housing supply. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing.Iwill continue to champion solutions that local leaders and stakeholders identify as critical to tackling the hous ing crisis — solutions like strengthening and expand ing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to build more than half a million affordable housing units in the next decade; investing in Community Development Block Grants; addressing the labor shortage by incentivizing ca reer and technical education in middle and high school; and investing in the HUD-VASH program, which as sists veterans experiencing homelessness.

What would you do (or what can Congress do) to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices that citizens and businesses continue to experience?

What do you think has caused the dramatic increase in homelessness across the country and in cities (like Bellingham) in the 2nd District over the past few years and, specifically, how you would propose that Congress assist state and local governments in your district to address the issue?

scription drugs, capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year for Medicare beneficiaries and extending for three years the ACA tax credits that enabled 11,000 more people in the 2nd District and 95,000 people statewide to newly enroll in affordable health insurance plans. ■

Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change?

www.dan2congress.com

No. Environmental activism needs to be tempered with real science and the very real impacts on the economy, and people, of overreaching legislation and excessive taxation, especially on gas. An indefinite rollback and freezing of gas taxes would be warranted, given the current state of the economy, the excess funds in the state budget and the ben eficial effects of freezing gas taxes on gas prices. The price of gas is a major aspect of consumer spending and living costs. Government needs to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. Cost–benefit analyses of current and proposed measures should always be a factor in their enactment — whether at the state or national level.

Agriculture and related issues are a key element in the economy of the 2nd Congressional District and of Wash ington state, as well as Whatcom County. I aim to be continuously involved in advocating for the agriculture industry should I be elected and go to Washington, D.C. Requesting appointment to the most relevant congressio nal committees would be a first step in my advocacy and effectiveness.Perhapsthe biggest challenge facing agriculture in Whatcom County and Washington state is “whether.” That is, whether the state (or the federal government) can stop overregulating and “managing” the ag industry — almost always to its detriment! Water rights should not be such a debatable and difficult issue — but it is, because the state and local bureaucrats want to dictate extreme and unsus

Dan Matthews (R)

US CONGRESS DISTRICT 2

us the direction of our lives. So, no, increasing the cost of living or making our nation energy dependent — when we could be energy independent — is neither warranted nor justifiable. It is time to return to reality and honesty in our discourse and decisions.

While climate change may be a fact of life here on Earth, I propose bringing “climate change” of a different sort to Washington, D.C. The polarization and division of our so ciety is reflected in our government and political discourse. If we are to adequately accomplish anything, we need to return civility and statesmanship to the train wreck in Washington. From the dark money and rancor on Capi tol Hill to the demonization of the other party at every turn, this all has to stop. “Enough” is what I hear from the people of the 2nd Congressional District — my neighbors and friends and the people I hope to represent. We don’t need to “throw out the baby with the bath water,” we need a science-based (and I don’t mean political science) and adult conversation about all the issues before us today, not just the weather. Science is never “settled,” and anyone who says it is is making a political statement. What is “settled” is how out-of-touch and compromised all politicians seem to become as they get swallowed up in the money and power of the political “swamp.” People — the ones we are there to “represent” — have been forgotten. The economic, social and real-world impact — usually damage — that is vis ited on families has been ignored. Instead, we are getting officials and politicians prone to dictate and determine for

What are your thoughts on how to address climate change? If you think it needs additional resources and focus by the federal government (and Congress), is increasing prices/ taxes justified to address climate change?

Where would you place Whatcom County’s agriculture sector and agriculture in general in your list of key issues? What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing agriculture in our region?

age. I believe the best way to provide universal health care is to protect the ACA and expand coverage by adding a public option to drive marketplace competition. I re cently supported legislation that lowers prescription drug and health care costs for seniors and working families by enabling Medicare to directly negotiate the price of pre

30 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022

• Support law enforcement in the conduct of their duties.

Restore our energy independence — which would mean, remove the party that has determined that this is not neces sary and electing representatives who see this as a nation al priority. The solution is obvious: You do not return to power the ones who got you into the current mess! If they see climate change as an existential threat and find it useful to manipulate the market and public policy in such a way to “drive” us to our knees and into their Green New Deal, they should recognize that the public has paid the price for their intentional manipulation and arrogance and will vote accordingly. They have become the real existential threat — to our economy, to stability, to world peace itself — and the public will remember and respond.

What would you do (or what can Congress do) to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices that citizens and businesses continue to experience?

• Fully fund our police!

What will the impact of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 be on citizens and businesses in Whatcom County and the 2nd District? Are there policies that Congress can address that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business? What might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

As stated above in response to the first question:

Stop the minimum wage cycle and other job-killing initiatives.Nomore government mandates.

Action: I will propose a National Police Protection Act instituting qualified immunity protection for all law en forcement personnel and increasing the penalties for crimes against police. “Make crime illegal again!” Let prosecutors know (through legislation, if necessary) that crimes will be properly prosecuted and laws enforced.

As stated above, in response to the first question: An in definite rollback and freezing of gas taxes would be war ranted, given the current state of the economy, the excess funds in the state budget and the beneficial effects of freez ing gas taxes on gas prices. The price of gas is a major aspect of consumer spending and living costs. Government needs to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. Cost–benefit analyses of current and proposed measures should always be a factor in their enactment.

Do you believe the federal government budget should be expanded, kept the same or shrunk? Please give concrete examples of where you would increase or decrease spending. Government expansion invariably means a diminishment of our liberty and freedoms. History has proven this. The federal budget is out of control. A continuing resolution only kicks the can down the road. We need fiscal discipline and management across the board. Consideration of the elimination of unnecessary federal departments would be a start for tightening our fiscal belt. Start with the Depart ment of Education. For every dollar that goes to Washing ton, D.C., for education, 78 cents remain in Washington — never being returned to the states. Let’s leave that money in the states to administer and distribute and thereby save untold billions of taxpayer funds. “That government is best which governs least!”

• encourages crime and lawlessness — a “death spiral.”

This has an incredible and disastrous impact on both the citizens and businesses of Whatcom County — both the short-term and long-term impact cannot be overstated:

• increases the tax burden;

An indefinite rollback and freezing of gas taxes would be warranted, given the current state of the economy, the excess funds in the state budget and the beneficial effects of freezing gas taxes on gas prices. The price of gas is a major aspect of consumer spending and living costs. Government needs to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. Cost–benefit analyses of current and proposed measures should always be a factor in their enactment.

tainable rules, regulations and burdens on the ag industry that threaten its very survival. The water rights issue is at the top.

I will propose immediately defunding and eliminating the positions of 87,000 armed federal IRS agents as un necessary and threatening to the American public. Weap onizing government against the people is un-American and against the very Constitution I am sworn to uphold.

Indeed, we should begin the process of examining every federal agency and department for streamlining and/or eliminating — just like any good business would do to cut costs.

•Solutions:Enforce existing laws.

We must also begin the process of heading toward a balanced budget through cost reduction and management principles. The fact that this goal seems unattainable says how important it is to begin.

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• makes this a less attractive place to live;

Crime has become a major issue, as the frequency and severity of both seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere in the 2nd District. Beside the cat astrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses such as Starbucks, Amazon and others closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County and the 2nd Dis trict, and what changes would you support to help improve the situation?

• major economic and social impacts; and

Government is never the most efficient or preferable answer to solving a problem. Imposing a single-payer, so cialized health care system is not the answer to reducing costs and improving health care. The best example of this is the VA (Veterans Affairs) — government-run health care provided to veterans — and it is a mess. Why would we propose to impose such a dysfunctional system on the rest of society? Greater choice, competition and affordability in the private market has given us the best health care system in the world. The nightmare in Canada should be proof enough.Innovation and efficiency are discouraged in a sin gle-payer system. There is virtually no money in the sys tem to encourage investment in new life-saving medicines and medical devices. Lack of innovation guarantees that under a single-payer system, no new treatments would be discovered, with little or no improvement in quality of life or life expectancy, particularly for the medically vulnerable and the elderly.

We should not use other countries as a model for U.S. health care. Other countries devote far fewer resources to health care than the U.S.

“Make crime illegal again!” Let prosecutors and states know (through legislation, if necessary) that crimes must be properly prosecuted and laws enforced.

Somewhat back to Question 3: Support law enforcement in the conduct of their duties. Fully fund our police! Public safety must always be a top priority of government at every level.Action:

If Congress should get involved, it should be to reward those cities that are actually doing these constructive things

and not enabling the destructive behaviors of this day. Leaving these issues for the states leaves accountability to local elected officials rather than a bailout from the feds.

We should use choice to help hold down costs. The free market and consumer choice offers the best solution. Just like all other economic activities, the free market offers the best solution to provide the greatest access to health care and to control costs. People freely making their own health care decisions and using their own health care dollars would give Americans the best chance to utilize their right to access health care, with tax-funded safety net health pro grams provided for those who cannot afford it. ■

Some have suggested that Congress withhold funds from local police departments that have drastically cut/defunded their police departments and/or make them legally liable for personal and property damage. Please tell us your view on the role, funding and value of the various police forces in the 2nd District.

I will propose a National Police Protection Act instituting qualified immunity protection for all law en forcement personnel and increasing the penalties for crimes against police.

Too many progressive cities — that is, run by progressive Democrats — clearly seem to have gone beyond merely tolerating homelessness, drug dealing and crime to actively enabling them. We no longer say “no” to dysfunctional and destructive behavior. The underlying problem isn’t a lack of housing or money for social programs. The real prob lem is an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviors. The result is an undermining of the values that make cit ies, and civilization itself, possible. We must return to cities that are compassionate, caring, peaceful centers of a society. We have forgotten our humanity on the altar of politically correct but misguided ideology. We need to humanely and wisely address these social and human issues through en forcement, intervention, redirection and reinforcement of acceptable behavior.

What do you think has caused the dramatic increase in homelessness across the country and in cities (like Bellingham) in the 2nd District over the past few years and, specifically, how you would propose that Congress assist state and local governments in your district to address the issue?

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What is the best way to lower the cost of health care and health insurance? Do you think that a government-run, so cialized medical system similar to what is in Canada and some European countries is the answer to addressing rising costs?

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

The Long-Term Care Act will ensure that people who work in Washington will have insurance against these otherwise devastating expenses that are bankrupting too many people. We need to make sure that the tax is fair for everyone paying into the system and that the account is actuarially sound. Those are solvable problems. When we have made the adjustments to solve them, I will proudly vote to enact this policy knowing that people who need care will be able to get it without creating a crippling debt for themselves or their family.

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing agriculture in our county and state?

Alex Ramel (D)

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washing ton’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

I support “missing middle housing” proposals to expand the allowed housing types in areas of our cities that have access to existing infrastructure like transit, schools, water, sewer and parks. Row houses, townhomes, duplexes and other housing styles that used to be much more common — and that tend to be more affordable — have been ex cluded from too many parts of our communities.

www.alexramel.com

The price of gas we are experiencing now is largely driven by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The best thing we can do to reduce our energy costs for folks in Washing ton is to reduce our dependence on volatile oil markets by converting as much of our transportation energy use to re liable, local sources through electrification, renewable fuels and green hydrogen.

That report from Ecology shows that the impact on gas prices from the low carbon fuel standard next year will be less than 1 cent per gallon. The 40 cents you reference is the high-end estimate for what the impact may be a dozen years from now (2034–2036). I hope you will make sure this is accurately reported in the way this question is framed.

While one can always argue for improvements, our pri orities are the right ones. Our biggest expenditures by far are on education; expanding educational opportunities is one of the best ways to improve people’s quality of life and improve our business climate.

Maintaining a reliable, stable, economical and sustainable food system must be a top priority in Washington. The big gest challenge I hear from farmers is water; there is a lot of uncertainty about what the rules are and what they will be. That uncertainty makes long-term planning difficult. In some cases, it makes planning for the next growing season difficult.

Another major area of investment is in our transpor tation infrastructure. Again, I think our priorities are the right ones. This year, Democrats passed the Move Ahead Washington transportation package that, for the first time, prioritized maintenance of existing roads, bridges and ferry service over new highway construction. While mainte nance isn’t as flashy (and there are fewer ribbon cuttings for politicians to attend), companies reliant on existing services need reliable roads and networks. Maintenance also tends to create more jobs per dollar invested than new construction.

banking and give farmers the confidence to plan and invest for the water they have. This process is also the best way for us to meet our responsibilities under the treaties with the tribes and to work together to protect the salmon.

I support adjudication. We need to have agreement and an established record of who has water rights, where they are in line and for how much. That will facilitate water

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effectively to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

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Washington’s tax code is broken and upside-down. Those who earn the least pay the highest share of their income, while those who have the most pay the lowest share. That’s not fair, and it’s not right. I’m committed to working to fix that injustice.

It’s important to discuss this accurately, and the nuances are often overlooked. Most violent crime is down during the pandemic, but the rise in domestic violence overshad ows that reduction in other categories. Most non-violent crime is also down, but again it’s overshadowed by steep increases in car theft, organized retail theft and petty crime, like vandalism and graffiti. We’ve also seen our mental

health support services break down during the pandemic, which has meant an increase in homelessness and more people who are visibly experiencing mental health crises in public. Many of these folks are not dangerous, but they can be disruptive if they can’t get the help they need. The prob lems are compounded because a wave of early retirements and difficulty hiring have meant most law enforcement agencies are short staffed. These are all national trends that we are observing locally.

Probably the biggest problem for most businesses right now is labor supply. Addressing that will take a few key steps. Workforce training is essential; we need to help workers keep their skills current and bring new people into the market. As discussed above, we must address housing affordability and housing supply — cost of housing in our communities is forcing people to turn down jobs here. We also have to expand early childhood education opportuni ties. Too many parents are forced to stay home because the cost of care eats up most of what they would earn at work.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

If we could reduce sales and property taxes in conjunction with adding a progressive personal income tax (so that the total budget was the same, but the wealthy paid more and lower- and middle-income folks paid less), I would support it. But for a variety of reasons, that’s probably impractical. What I think is more practical is a wealth tax (often called a “billionaire tax”). I support this and think it’s a better idea if it’s structured as a tax on intangible financial property (cash, stocks, bonds, etc.) above a threshold of extraordi nary wealth and coupled with a reduction in property taxes and/or sales taxes that fall disproportionately on lower- and middle-income people.

right now is the sharpest in housing and energy. Unfortunately, neither has a quick fix. We can work to make our communities more resilient and less sus ceptible to global economic ups and downs by increasing our energy efficiency and our local energy self-reliance through efficiency in our buildings and electrification and decarbonization in our vehicle fleets. Even though most companies aren’t buying houses, employees are going to need to be paid enough to afford a home in our communi ty, and when those prices skyrocket, as they have been, that pushes up the cost of labor. Real action to meaningfully increase the supply of housing, and to keep it affordable, will be incredibly important to stabilizing the economy. ■

The B&O tax is regressive and falls disproportionately on smaller and newer businesses. Big picture, I favor a switch to a corporate net income tax so that companies are taxed on their revenue, not the money that passes through their hands for labor or inventory. In the short term, this last year we increased the minimum threshold at which the B&O tax is collected so that very small companies and startups are Inflationaryexempt.pressure

This year, the Legislature doubled the number of classes in the Criminal Justice Training Academy. The good news is those classes are full right now — many new recruits are on the way. We can do even better at recruiting in the fu ture by allowing some courses for training to be proctored locally, which will reduce an entry barrier for new hires. I expect to support enabling legislation to that effect next year. We’ve also recently improved the police and firefight er pension systems to improve employee retention. We’ve started to increase funding for unarmed crisis responders to be able to support the police. We need to watch how those programs are working and grow them if they are successful.

What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

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Washington consistently ranks among the best places to do business — most recently we ranked No. 2 in the CNBC Top States for Business analysis. One of the biggest reasons is because people want to move here, including business owners and entrepreneurs. Maintaining our quality of life is essential to that strong advantage we have.

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

I would look at what the federal water managers in the West are doing now with the Colorado River. They have made rulings recently in favor of water shares based on age. This is a very complicated process and isn’t going to be easy.

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

Trevor Smith (D)

I would clarify the Growth Management Act to include specific areas that can be built upon while preserving agri culture, forest land and habitat. I would work to ensure that housing wasn’t pushed into the flood plains or only onto agriculture land. But I feel that it needs to be guided by the local area for which it’s being written. No overarching state plan is going to best suit each diverse area of the state.

There are better ways to tailor the budget. We could fully invest in the infrastructure the state provides, which sup ports all businesses and people of the state. We can fund law enforcement and continue to support the economic development agencies and port entities in their processes.

I believe in the rule of law. For 80 years, Washington State Supreme Court jurisprudence has found that a grad uated income tax is unconstitutional.

I could wrap my head around the carbon tax if it helped to resolve climate change or address the effects of cli mate change for the citizens of the state of Washington. I don’t see how this is going to benefit the people of the state. Taxing fuel as a way to encourage people to consume less without investing in statewide alternative means of trans portation that fit the needs of the populace and business isn’t a long-term solution. I would invest in solutions that mitigate the effects that we are already seeing from climate change and invest in transit options that make it possible for ordinary folks to live their lives while getting out of their cars.

www.trevorfor40th.com

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washington’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

Washington is a fairly business-friendly state. Where I think we can do much better is in the realm of regulatory certainty.

No. I support the spirit and intent of the law, and I sup port the tabling of the bill’s implementation. There has to be a better way.

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What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

I would place agriculture in the Top 3 of my priority list. The biggest challenge I see is addressing the runoff from farms into streams and rivers. Second would be land use. The solutions as proposed that make it impossible for a farm to exist are not solutions. We can find better ways of protecting habitats if we work with farmers to achieve it.

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effectively to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

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Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help improve the situation?

Last session, a legislative fix was passed to try and cor rect the mistakes in 2021’s House Bill 1054 and House Bill 1310. More needs to be done. At the same time, law en forcement isn’t the only one that should be dealing with the mental health issues we see every day on our streets. Fully funding mental health in this state and fully funding our law enforcement officers are priorities I support. Undoing the damage from the prior house bills is also a priority.

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We must address climate change without raising costs for individuals and families in Washington, especially in a time of record-high inflation.

Agriculture is not only a key part of Whatcom County’s and Washington state’s economy but an essential part of our culture and heritage. Returning affordability to What com County is one of my two top priorities. Over the past few years, the majority party in Olympia has continued to increase taxes on fuel, pass labor legislation that is harming migrant workers and employers and empower a bureaucra cy that prioritizes its own interests and not the agriculture community.Thebiggest challenge facing agriculture in Whatcom County and Washington state right now is overregulation from the state and its bureaucracy. I will continue to op pose efforts like the Riparian Setback Bill, which mandated large buffer zones around channels of water.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordi nary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increas es than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

The majority party plans to raise taxes on the price of gas by a dollar a gallon (House Bill 1091 and Senate Bill 5126). This is the wrong approach. In the last legislative session, I championed my FUEL Act, which would have suspended the state gas tax until the end of the year, saving consumers almost 50 cents a gallon at the pump, while using funds

www.simonforwa.com

Courtesy photo

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washing ton’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

from the state budget surplus to fund our transportation needs. The majority party refused this immediate relief to families. Asyour state senator, I will continue to advocate for sen sible solutions to address climate concerns without further increasing the cost of living in Washington state and to oppose the efforts from the majority party to increase gas prices.

The climate tax on motor fuels already does, and will continue to, worsen the impacts of inflation on consumers. Mandating a switch to a fully electric economy without having first fully invested in the alternative means of gen erating the current consumption and the increased capacity to support the removal of fossil fuels, along with the trans portation and storage of energy, is going to be the next big inflationary pressure on the citizens of the state. We can and we must do better. ■

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

Simon Sefzik (R)

No. The state of Washington had a $15 billion surplus this year, and not one dollar was spent on immediate tax relief for individuals or small businesses. The majority party even rejected their own tax relief plans, like a “back-to-school” three-day sales tax holiday and free admission to state parks and fairs. Even worse, in the final days of the legislative session, the majority party rejected the Republican idea to eliminate sales tax on diapers. We could have at least done this to help families out.

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

We need to make housing more affordable, not less. In Olympia, I fought against adding additional regulations to the GMA and will continue to advocate for commonsense solutions to our housing challenges.

What would you do to change the way growth management requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

One of my favorite things about Washington state is our rich diversity; this applies to counties and cities across our state. Regulations and permitting requirements that make sense for Seattle might not make sense for Ferndale. By passing legislation that allows counties and cities to make permitting decisions that take local concerns into account and ensures these localities have the resources they need to plan well, we can simplify the process and build more af fordable housing.

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effective ly to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

Agriculture is the lifeblood of our community in What com County. As your state senator, I’ve been an advocate for protecting and prioritizing our agriculture community.

I reject the long-term care tax, which is a tax on every single Washington worker regardless of their income. Business, labor, Republicans and a growing number of Democrats also reject this tax. We need long-term care for seniors, but this is not the way to go. This program is already insolvent, and anyone who chooses to retire out of the state would not benefit from it. Unfortunately, the majority party strategically delayed this tax until 2023. I feel strongly that we need to repeal it and study better alternatives.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. By reducing taxes on small businesses, cutting unnecessary red tape and listening to small business owners, who are the experts on the ground, we can build a more busi ness-friendly Washington state.

I oppose the adjudication process due to the intense time and cost this imposes on Whatcom County residents for very relative gain. I would work within the Legislature to support collaborative efforts, like the Whatcom County Executive’s “Solutions Table” or federal water rights settle ment ideas. These efforts need to be fully supported and given a chance to succeed before the state resorts to litiga tion against all water users in the Nooksack Basin.

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

I would work to streamline elements of the Growth Management Act and other legislation to remove the undue burden of our permitting process. We need balance. The GMA has imposed many unnecessary regulatory bur dens on cities. This makes it difficult for them to zone while using valuable resources in litigation, which cuts into the resources we could be using to effectively plan and zone.

As your state senator, I’ve made it one of my top pri orities to hear directly from local business owners on the issues that are important to them. They’ve told me how the state’s overreach has impacted every piece of their business operations and made it more and more difficult to get by. I will continue to include small businesses in the policy discussions and be an advocate for the entrepreneurs who fill our county with creativity and diversity.

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What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

most doubled — but the income of most Washingtonians has not. The last thing the state needs to do is pass more taxes; legislators need to spend your hard-earned money moreJustwisely.thisyear, when the state had a budget surplus, the majority party raised many license fees, some by 400%. Our district voted to reduce the cost of car tabs; clearly, they thought licensing fees were too high already.

I adamantly oppose a state income tax. The people of Washington state have voted down the income tax 11 times, as recently as last year and by over 60%. Yet the Legislature ignored the will of the people and passed this tax anyway. Even my opponent voted for the capital gains income tax, despite repeated promises not to, and admitted that the federal government recognized this tax as an in come tax. I will respect the repeated decision of the people on this ruling, unlike my opponent.

Over the past 10 years, Washington’s state budget has al

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I believe we need to repeal the anti-police laws that have escalated our public safety crisis and increase resources to law enforcement for training and recruiting. Furthermore, I will continue to advocate for a comprehensive public safety facility in Whatcom County with sufficient resources to ad dress the crime and mental health challenges we are facing.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, Olympia has modeled its egregious spending practices off of those in Washington, D.C., further worsening the pain folks are feeling in Washington state. We are facing inflation rates we haven’t seen since the 1980s, yet this past legislative ses sion, the majority party didn’t spend one dime on immedi ate or long-term tax relief.

It’s time to prioritize our businesses, families and com munities above politically correct ideology and repeal the policies that are harming Whatcom County and pushing the American dream further and further out of reach.

As I’ve canvassed the district and heard from folks just like you, your stories have reminded me that our inflation rate is not just a number. I’ve heard from a single mom who had to cancel her son’s soccer because she couldn’t afford the increased gas prices to take her kid to games and to pay rent. I’ve heard from families who are using the money they were saving for a down payment on a home just to make ends meet. I’ve heard from business owners who survived the COVID-19 shutdowns and are now facing closing their business due to the rising costs of supplies, labor and the unpredictability of the market and supply chain. These are the stories I think about when I’m voting on legislation proposed by the majority party that adds fees and increases taxes.Ibelieve that the government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. The last thing the state of Wash ington should be doing is increasing taxes or adding fees for businesses or individuals. I will continue to advocate for a government that works for the people and for our small businesses. ■

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help improve the situation?

Rising crime is one of the most significant impairments to local businesses right now. I spoke to a store manager in the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham who said they are losing $4,000 due to theft every single day. Criminals know exactly how much merchandise they can steal without con sequence due to the laws the majority party passed.

As your state senator, I have strongly supported law en forcement and commonsense policies to keep us all safe. I am the only candidate in this race endorsed by law enforce ment, including Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo, the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs and the Wash ington Fraternal Order of Police.

Our economy is failing those who can least afford it and pushing the American dream further out of reach rather than bringing it closer. As your state senator, I’ve supported policies to create an economy that works for everyone and to let you keep more of your money.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy stand point to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

We must figure out how to build more housing. I’d like to see reforms that require cities to plan for their share of growth, but also allow them to make changes in their urban growth areas when the lands initially slated for housing are prohibitively expensive to build on (Lynden is facing this issue), or when their UGA is in an area that is frequently flooded, but land just outside the UGA is on higher ground. We must consider the housing impacts when Bellingham doesn’t build enough so people drive until they qualify and bid up housing prices in Ferndale. I’d also like to see cities

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

Sharon Shewmake (D)

It’s unclear which program you are referring to — the Climate Commitment Act or the clean fuels program — but often we find that market-based methods to reduce pollution, like cap and trade, end up costing much less than expected. A great example of this was the acid rain cap and trade program, implemented by Republican President George H.W. Bush. The costs were a sixth to a tenth of the expected cost, and the benefits of cleaner air resulted in higher-than-expected health benefits. This resulted in an estimated $4 to $45 worth of benefits for every $1 of cost.

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According to the state Department of Ecology, Washing ton’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

When I talk to farmers and other interest groups about water, everyone likes the idea of functioning water markets, which allow for an efficient use of water resources that can free up water to be used for fish and new farms. The problem is to sell a water right in a market, you must own that water right. Currently, our system does not provide that certainty. I support adjudication to clarify those water rights, but I also understand farmers are worried about this process. That’s why I also support funding to mitigate water use using efficiency upgrades or water storage solutions to support farmers who do not have a secure water right. We have a lot of water in Whatcom County, but we don’t al ways have water when we need it. Infrastructure — both natural systems and engineered — can help mitigate this.

Agriculture is one of the top industries in Whatcom County, as well as integral to our social, environmental and land-use fabric. The biggest issue facing agriculture in our county and state is likely labor; figuring out how to ensure farmers get the help they need is critical. This is why work ing on things like tax credits for farm worker housing is important.Ialsosee opportunities for government to help farmers with research and development as well as technical assis

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

www.sharon4whatcom.com

tance. Other places around the state have long-term agri culture research stations that are examining the potential of soil health to improve yields, reduce the need for inputs and management as well as protect biodiversity and improve water quality. They say a bad farmer grows weeds, a good farmer grows crops, and an exceptional farmer grows soil. I’d like to see a research station here in Whatcom County devoted to better understanding soil health for red rasp berries. I think expanding and supporting our conservation districts to help farmers access carbon markets and enroll in programs like CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) could also be helpful. I’m looking into whether a “right to repair” bill focused on farm equipment could help farmers fix their own farm equipment faster and cheaper by allowing access to the tools to do it themselves. Water is also a huge issue. I’ll address that in the next question.

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

I do worry about the impact of any price increase on work ing people, which is why I was supportive of the Working Families Tax Rebate, a bipartisan approach to lessen the tax burden for those at the bottom and encourage work. I’m also supportive of an inflation adjustment tax rebate for families that need help.

I do not support a state income tax.

Our budget could always be more efficient. When it comes to small businesses, I think one of the hardest things is the B&O tax, which taxes revenues, not profits. This ends up being an unfair tax to low-margin businesses like car dealerships, which can end up owing taxes even in a year where they lose money. I was proud to vote on reform on the B&O tax last session, which increases the threshold and deductions (Senate Bill 5980) as well as the unemploy ment tax relief (Senate Bill 5873). Also in this last budget was technical support for small businesses — but, funda mentally, we need to solve wider problems like improving public safety, reducing homelessness and ensuring workers have access to affordable housing.

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

I voted for the first bill authorizing the Long-term Care Act in 2019 after hearing floor speeches by Republicans talking about how it would be a more cost-effective way to help care for our elders than our current system. After the constitutional amendment to invest the revenues into the stock market failed, there were changes made to the LTCA that I did not support. The way we pay for long-term care in this country is wasteful and expensive, requiring our el ders to drain their assets until they are near destitute when simple interventions would often keep them healthier and in their home for longer and cost less. We need to go back to the drawing board on this one, in my opinion.

nesses can’t expand because workers won’t be able to find a place to live. I want to work on better policy that recognizes this is a statewide problem that cities aren’t going to fix on their own. We have overregulated our housing market. As an economist with a reputation for working across the aisle, I believe I’m in a good situation to reform this market.

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effective ly to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

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like Sumas be able to switch parts of their UGA that are in the floodway for areas to the west that are on higher ground, thus less likely to be flooded.

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

The biggest piece is B&O tax reform. I think the second biggest piece is housing. If there isn’t enough housing, busi

Crime stinks. It’s not just things that get stolen, but people not wanting to be in our places of commerce, like downtown, because of a fear of crime. I’m working on an evidence-based proposal to reduce crime, which you can read about soon at www.sharon4whatcom.com/Pub licSafety. The basics come down to restoring accountability by ensuring our courts are delivering consequences that are swift, certain and fair; that there are adequate and welltrained police officers to respond to incidents and build trust within the community; that we have adequate and ap propriate mental health resources, anti-violence programs and facilities like sobering centers that improve public safe ty; finally, that we invest in things like early learning, youth programs and great schools and opportunities for all that reduce criminality before it starts by ensuring we have an economy that works for everyone.

This isn’t the only opportunity to create new housing; we also need to look at how to make it easier to build housing in cities. I had a bill last session that would have allowed most single-family homes in a city to build an attached and a detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU, often called garden cottages or grannie flats). ADUs are easy ways to add additional housing in neighborhoods that already have infrastructure and end up being naturally affordable. This is one of many steps, including condo liability reform and other rules, that will allow for smaller apartments and con dos to be built more easily within cities.

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

To reduce inflation, we must understand what is causing it: supply chain disruptions, extra demand from the federal stimulus, and high energy prices from global disruption and the war in Ukraine. Of these three causes, the first is the most likely to respond to state-level actions. I’m a member of the Supply Chain Caucus, and we’ve been looking at ways to ease congestion at ports especially. This has resulted in policies to improve access to restrooms for truck drivers, safe sleeping spaces, as well as other port efficiencies. We can also build a more resilient supply chain based on local producers, which is why I’ve been working on local food issues, supporting things like a bill to increase the threshold that small producers can sell under the cottage food permit and supporting the Washington State Food Finder. This is marketing assistance for small and medium-sized farms. ■

My father was a truck driver who delivered hay to local dairies. I grew up acutely aware of how the price of gas affected his work. I am proud that we are moving away from funding road improvements by using gas tax revenue, a system that has been in place in Washington state for many years. Gas taxes are a regressive tax that dispropor tionately affects rural communities and farmers as well as industry. As we transition to an economy with more electric vehicles, it’s important that we not forget about the large number of consumers and industry who are still reliant on gas-powered vehicles. We need to take a balanced approach in moving away from fossil fuels to avoid disproportionate ly impacting consumers, including farmers and rural users and the manufacturing sector.

Water access at the right times is predictably becoming more of an issue as time marches on. As neighbors, it is my hope that local stakeholders will continue to work together to find a solution that works for everyone. While decisions are made politically that concern our farms, fish and people, we are all inextricably connected and need solutions that work for everyone.

The long-term care policy needs a lot of work and refine ment before it would be acceptable. We need to ensure that

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effectively to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

As a small business owner myself, I know how many challenges we are facing during these tough times. Before I ran for the Legislature, I started and created the Main Street partnership in Blaine, where I helped other business owners improve their businesses. This is work I have carried on in Olympia, and my very first bill that got passed was to help small businesses. I carried on this work by sponsor ing disaster relief for small businesses after flooding hit our community. Today, I am working with business owners who are struggling with government red tape. We have so much work to do to improve the small business climate in our state. Washingtonians’ lives and thriving small businesses are directly connected. It’s important that we support small businesses in every possible way so they can both continue to provide good jobs and thrive to serve our constituents.

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washington’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

and reforming response systems to better serve local farm ers. I look forward to continuing this work.

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

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Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

The burden of the high cost of living, especially housing, is on the top of everyone’s minds these days, as so many of us struggle to make decisions and make ends meet. We need to take a critical look at historic regulation, zoning and streamlining the permitting process and avoiding duplica tive regulation that places an unnecessary cost and time burden that inevitably will be passed on in housing costs.

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

Growing up in Whatcom County and coming from a farming family, I understand how important agriculture is to the economy and community. The rising prices of fuel, labor and transportation are hitting our farmers hard, in addition to having to recover from the flooding over the winter. Agriculture is one of our biggest industries in Whatcom County and must be nurtured and protected. Since first elected, I have worked hard to protect our agri cultural industries, particularly in the area of natural disas ter recovery, fighting for and delivering disaster assistance

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the unintended consequences of a well-meaning policy don’t hurt anyone, especially our most vulnerable.

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Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

Public safety is one of my top priorities. As a social work er and mental health professional, I have worked side-byside with law enforcement. Police and sheriff’s deputies have accompanied me on many home visits over the years, and I have the utmost respect for these professionals. I do not support the defund movement. In fact, I have worked to increase pay for first responders, increased slots at the police academy to train new officers and fought to crimi nalize nonmedical use of fentanyl, which has earned me the

support of law enforcement professionals such as retired Bellingham Police Chief Flo Simon and the Bellingham/ Whatcom County Firefighters. I have also worked to in crease funding for mental health programs, particularly for our young people. What’s happening on our streets are not victimless crimes. We must demand accountability through social workers, police and, ultimately, our court system.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordi nary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increas es than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

Inflation is an important issue, and I see its effects in my community every day. I feel the impact at the grocery store and at the gas pump as I raise my family. Through out my career as a social worker, I have seen the direct impact of increased costs of basic items and how it adds additional stress on people who have to make impossible choices, like whether or not the cost of gas is worth going to work or if they should pay for groceries or the heating bill. The impact on businesses as the costs go up is they either pass along the true cost to the consumer, which is a double whammy to our community members, or if they can’t, they absorb the loss until they fold. That is the worry for our small family business right now and in our future. I have worked to expand the Main Street program to help small businesses in several key ways and will continue to support and lead in this area. Locally, four communities are implementing this program because of work that I led in Olympia. Main Street is a great return on investment for the state and brings our business tax money back home. I supported the B&O tax relief work of last session and will continue to work to expand that reform. It’s critical that we have business owners in the space where these de cisions are made to ensure the voice of our neighbors who own businesses are heard to make policy that makes sense for everyone. ■

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

As a small business owner, I understand the challenges that modern businesses face. The responsibility of signing the front of a paycheck is one the very large majority of business owners take seriously. We need to ensure we aren’t making it unnecessarily difficult for them to continue cre ating and providing good jobs for the people in our com munity. I voted to make cuts to the B&O tax this year, and now the smallest businesses won’t be paying any tax. I am motivated to continue expanding this work, as businesses paying on gross receipts is an unfair structure that puts ad ditional tax burdens on businesses for hiring. I worked to pass a sales tax holiday out of the state House, and I sup port other ideas like it. I have worked closely with business leaders in my community and at the state level on bills to promote economic growth and look forward to continuing discussions with shareholders on ways we can continue to work together for Washington’s economy.

I oppose a state income tax.

What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

Repeal Senate Bill 5126 2.

No. There was a $15 billion surplus this year. The money was spent with no reduction in taxes offered to businesses or the people of Washington. Rather, there was an increase in fees. Additionally, the government budget and spending plan — which promotes spending all money in the budget, often frivolously, so as much or more money can be added to the budget the following year — promotes wastefulness and lack of accountability.

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

No. It will negatively impact small businesses, who will be impacted for the higher transportation costs, which they may or may not be able to pass on to the consumer. It will negatively impact an employee’s ability to travel to and from work. With a worker shortage already occurring, a higher cost of getting to and from work may also discour age workers.

Tawsha ThompsonDykstra(R)

What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

I would rather see a concerted effort to bring all parties to the table to come to a mutual agreement rather than a court-appointed answer. All the people and businesses in our community need water to survive and thrive. We all have a vested interest in good water management for use today and into the future.

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing agriculture in our county and state?

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effective ly to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

No. I was a Public Safety Employee Insurance Inc. board member through WACOPS (Washington Council of Po lice and Sheriffs). The purpose of PSEII is to provide longterm disability insurance options for our members. When the LTC tax was introduced, our board worked diligently with our insurance brokers to put together a LTC plan that our members could purchase that would allow them to opt out. The LTC plan was underfunded before it began, and the benefits offered would not even be adequate. It was sold as a long-term care tax but acted as an income tax. Many people who would have had to pay into it would never have been eligible to receive the benefits. Additionally, analy sis showed that the initial amount that would have been collected (66 cents per $100) would have been insufficient, resulting in a dramatic increase in the fees collected. This would have most negatively impacted our minimum wage employees and small businesses.

The Growth Management Act was written over 30 years ago. The act is now limiting housing options and driving up the price of homes. Due to overly burdensome regulations, cities have difficulty processing permit requests, leading to delays that drive up the initial house prices. The regulations should be evaluated, amended or removed from the GMA so more permits can be approved and adequate housing can be built. This will help stabilize the housing industry and ensure we have adequate housing that our children and grandchildren can afford here in Whatcom County.

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washington’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change?

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Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

Having been raised on a dairy farm here in Whatcom County, I recognize that the agriculture industry in one of biggest industries for Whatcom County. I will collaborate with the farming community to support a robust farming and agricultural industry. Water availability will be one of the top challenges for our farming community. Locally, it is more about water management. We have an excess amount in the winter and not enough in the summer.

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Removal of the B&O tax. Deregulation of the most re strictive permits for small business that disincentivize and discourage small business owners. Removal of the gov ernor’s emergency powers and legislation that limits the governor’s abilities to declare businesses closed during a declared emergency.

With record inflation impacting people throughout the country and being driven more broadly by federal policy than state policy, there are some temporary changes we could make at the state level to lessen the impact. For exam ple, a repeal of the gas tax. With the $15 billion surplus, we could have made a permanent sales tax reduction of at least 1%. As described above, a repeal/reform of the B&O tax.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy stand point to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

have several ideas for improving public safety. I would love to partner with private sector partners on ideas for building a better drug rehabilitation infrastructure. For businesses to thrive, people need to feel safe in their person, in their home and in their communities. When people feel safe, businesses thrive.

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

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Infrastructure: Many recent legislative changes have been passed in which the infrastructure to support that change is not available. For example, the need to give a person caught with drugs — such as fentanyl — a phone number for detox assistance. There are not an adequate number of detox options available if the person were to reach out. Another example is the phasing out of all gas-powered vehicles by 2030. This pull on the electrical grid is unsustainable, and by all reports, the infrastructure cannot be completed be fore 2030. ■

State legislation: With the implementation of multiple legislative bills impacting, negatively, law enforcement’s ability to effectively police their cities and counties, pre dictably, the crime rates have gone up. Criminals have been emboldened, and officers have been handcuffed. I would re peal the pursuit law House Bill 1054 and Senate Bill 5051. I would advocate for more training and wellness support for law Criminalizationenforcement.of hard drugs: I have empathy for those suffering from addiction, but the state’s response to the Blake Decision — making hard drugs a gross misdemeanor offense only after a person is caught with drugs and given a phone number to call for help detoxing — is more in humane. Overdose deaths are escalating. The state failed to acknowledge there is inadequate infrastructure (not enough detox facilities or beds) to support the decision. I

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

Overregulation: As with legislation passed impacting, negatively, law enforcement’s ability to enforce laws in 2021, the state Legislature passed not just one law but 12 laws impacting law enforcement. The difficulty of this is the ability for an officer to be able to know all the different laws and effectively follow and enforce them. I see this pat tern repeated throughout legislation. Regulation impacting small businesses is so complex and difficult to follow, many small businesses never start. Or if they start, it is difficult to remain open. Overregulation stifles innovation, which is necessary to support a thriving business community.

In reading through your list of questions, I recognized many of my answers kept coming back to three key patterns I believe need to be addressed.

Regressive tax system: Washington state has one of the most regressive tax systems in the United States. I believe a complete and comprehensive evaluation of the entire tax system needs to be completed. What is most fair, trans parent and equitable for the people and for the businesses trying to thrive in this state needs to be identified.

Public safety is foundational to a productive and pros perous society. It is a core responsibility of government to keep our communities and the people within them safe. Our current representatives have failed to do that. Here in Whatcom County, there is a trifecta of issues influenc ing our rising crime rates. Whatcom County Jail is falling apart. It has not had adequate space for a jurisdiction of our size for many years. Without being able to arrest and book people, crime rates will continue to climb. I have advocated for a new jail to the Whatcom County Council.

I am opposed. If we were going to entertain a conver sation about a state income tax, it would only be in con junction with the removal of all other taxes — for example, property, sales and gas tax at the state level. A complete and comprehensive discussion and evaluation of our regressive Washington state tax system needs to be completed. The goal is to adequately fund necessary infrastructure while making sure our tax system is fair, transparent and equitable.

Growth management was an idea with a fatal flaw: reli ance on local officials in charge of implementing significant changes in their communities to accommodate growth. Such reliance was unrealistic. In Whatcom County, we watch every 10 years while Bellingham retains big-value tax lands while protecting their neighborhoods from tak ing additional growth and refusing to expand their urban boundaries to build homes wanted by the workforce for those businesses. In turn, the population has been forced to smaller communities like Ferndale, Lynden, Blaine and others. These communities are not equipped to handle the increased demand — a plan endorsed by the Coun ty Council. Growth management needs a substantial over haul to remove much of the discretion held by local officials and setting clear, concise, measurable planning goals for the economic regions to ensure that the population has suffi cient housing choices to match the incomes of the individ uals seeking to live and work in those communities.

42ND DISTRICT HOUSE POSITION 2

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

Dan Johnson (R)

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

www.votedanjohnson42.com

Whatcom County has had decades to responsibly manage one of our most important natural resources: the Nooksack River. Well-meaning parties have worked for years to re move all uses of that river by county residents, most recently recreation in the South Fork — all in the name of salmon protection. The result is a river that floods regularly and a financial need for flood protection. There are estimates of money spent on river issues that far exceed $100 million, and yet the battle cry remains that the salmon population is in danger. We have witnessed harm to agriculture, threats of more regulation and now adjudication — a process that will take decades to decide, along with millions of taxpayer dollars. It has been suggested that seeking out a legislative solution will resolve many of these issues, taking less time and money. I ensure that I will explore all options to re solve these issues in the most efficient manner possible.

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washington’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effectively to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

Agriculture is key to the economic success of Whatcom County and is high on the list of priorities. While some reg ulation is necessary, the current majority thinks that more is better, and that is the wrong approach. Regulation should be evaluated on a cost analysis basis for both industry and the public benefit. If that doesn’t meet the necessary criteria, it should be rejected. In other words, the juice needs to be worth the squeeze.

Over the last 40 years, the environmental movement has been trying to scare us with the same crisis. The evo lution has been from holes in the ozone to polar ice caps melting, rising oceans, global warming and now climate change. Considering the price at the pump in Washing ton state is already among the highest in the nation, adding another 40 cents a gallon to address climate change will do nothing more than increase the burden on an already overtaxed populous in our state in the name of environ mental protection.What needs to happen is a complete top-to-bottom audit of our transportation budget: ana lyze every aspect of our transportation system, from our roads to our ferry system; follow every penny to its final destination; make the necessary improvements and then pass those savings to the consumer at the gas pump.

No. In fact, I think the opposite. The more prosper ous the private sector is, the bigger government agen

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No. The fact that the majority in Olympia can’t even swallow this new policy and tax should be a clear indicator of its path to eventual failure. Again, at the expense of the taxpayer.

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I would like to have more than just the state option for worker’s compensation insurance, as well as allow ing more carriers access to provide medical insurance in Washington state. We need to make housing afford able and increase supply so that growing businesses have somewhere for their workforce to live. At the state level, we need to audit every tax requirement for a business, from B&O to payroll taxes, and evaluate their efficien cy and effectiveness, as well as take a look at the level of competency in which those tax collecting agencies are run.

Do you support or oppose a state income tax?

cies become, which results in more regulation and spending. If we continue on this track, our state gov ernment will eventually collapse under its own weight.

Oppose. Last session, we witnessed the spending of over $14 billion in taxpayer surplus, with the majority still want ing more. This clearly illustrates they are drunk on power without the checks and balances our forefathers created.

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

Overwhelming police reform has contributed to a rise in crime statewide. The decreased regulation on narcotics has created addicts who are enslaved to searching for the

What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

next “high.” They will stop at nothing to obtain the funds necessary to get it. That, in combination with the absence of quality pursuit standards, has emboldened criminals to run from the law without consequence. I will ensure that po lice have the tools they need to properly serve and protect.

This last question seems to be a culmination of the previ ous questions. The path is simple: the end user pays for it all. Increased regulation may require a full-time employee to be hired for the purpose of keeping a company in compliance. High fuel costs make the transportation of goods and ser vices cost more. Lack of affordable housing and strict rental guidelines increase employee wages so they can have a roof over their head. Decreased regulation on narcotics increases drug addiction and the need for government-funded re habilitation services. Bans on plastic straws and bags force more expensive alternatives that increase the cost at grocery stores and restaurants, and exponential growth of govern ment creates an unnecessary tax burden to both citizens and business. Our current inflation is up to roughly 8%, and that is per touch. When products are handled up to three or four times before the end user gets it, that can easily be an increase of 24% or more — and the end user pays for it all. Our state government needs to see a reduction in size, spending, tax increases, new taxes and burdensome regula tions. Only then will we see relief in our wallets. ■

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

ensure that everyone has access to water that they are le gally entitled to — unless a less costly and time-consum ing solution can be identified.

Do you believe the current state budget is spent effec tively to make the lives of Washingtonians better and help small businesses grow?

Joe Timmons (D)

As a first-time candidate, I have heard from voters that they want relief, and as a legislator, I will work to lower gas prices. The Legislature has already taken the step of mov ing away from gas taxes to fund road improvements — a long-overdue move that helps rural residents, farmers and industry.

With more than 100,000 acres of farmland, agriculture is one of Whatcom County’s major industries and is a vital part of Whatcom County’s identity. Farmers in Whatcom County and around the state are experiencing rising costs and facing affordability and viability challenges. If elected, I would be committed to working with the farming com munity to ensure that Whatcom County has a thriving agricultural sector.

Whatcom County seniors deserve to age with dignity. The rising costs of health care and housing create chal lenges for seniors — many of whom are on a fixed income. I am all for supporting seniors, but the long-term care pro gram implemented in 2021 had many problems. It’s my understanding that the Legislature made improvements to the program this year. I would like to see how those chang es support seniors before taking additional steps to ensure that Whatcom County residents can age with dignity.

What is your stance on the Nooksack Basin adjudication process (legal process by which a court decides how much water a permit holder has access to)?

I grew up in a working-class household where my par ents created a small business out of our garage, so I know just how important small businesses are and the kinds of struggles they go through. During the pandemic, I worked alongside many small businesses, helping them build back strong and recover from the pandemic. I am committed to listening to small business leaders throughout my district and greater Washington to make sure their concerns are being heard in Olympia to help these businesses grow, in cluding how the state budget is being spent.

42ND DISTRICT HOUSE POSITION 2

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Whatcom County is experiencing a housing shortage crisis, leading to high rental costs and barriers to home ownership for many residents. As an example, our rent went up 35% last year. I believe families should be able to live where they work and play and that we need to create more housing density in the areas that can support it and create more pathways to homeownership.

According to the state Department of Ecology, Washing ton’s new climate laws will add more than 40 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. Is increasing prices/taxes justified to address climate change? What simple thing would you do to provide a measure of permanent relief for the high gas prices in our state?

What would you do to change the way growth manage ment requirements are driving up the cost and limiting the supply of housing?

Do you support the long-term care policy and tax that was imposed and then tabled in 2021, and do you support this tax and policy being implemented in the future?

Do you support or oppose a state income tax? I would oppose this.

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Like many, my family’s budget has been squeezed by increasing prices of housing, groceries and at the pump.

Where would you place Whatcom County agriculture — and state agriculture in general — in your list of key issues? And what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ag riculture in our county and state?

We currently face uncertainty about water rights in the Nooksack Basin. I believe we need to resolve this uncer tainty for current and future generations. I support the adjudication process as a way to resolve uncertainty and

My dad is a pipefitter, and my parents created a mechan ical contracting business out of our garage when I was 5 years old. Growing up in that environment, I learned the value of hard work. I was introduced to many of the chal lenges that small businesses face in Washington state. If elected, I would be committed to supporting small busi nesses, including exploring changes to the state’s B&O tax structure to ensure that small businesses don’t pay beyond their fair share, and working to reduce unnecessary barriers and red tape to help businesses grow.

Inflation is often referred to as a regressive tax on ordinary citizens. However, it has a similar impact on businesses, with large companies more able to pass along price increases than smaller mom-and-pop shops. Are there policies in the state that either have or will exacerbate inflation and its toll on business, and what might be done from a policy standpoint to alleviate the pressures every business is feeling right now?

Crime has become a major issue, as both the frequency and severity seem to be on the rise — not just in cities, but just about everywhere. Beside the catastrophic impacts on individual citizens, we’re now seeing businesses from Star bucks on down closing locations due to crime. How do you see this impacting the business community in Whatcom County, and what changes would you support to help im prove the situation?

If I am elected, I will work to support small businesses and alleviate the burden of inflation. From a policy stand point, I think it is very important to look at local solutions. Crafting policy that implements and prioritizes local sup ply chains will reduce their reliance on imports, thus saving these companies costs. This will not only benefit these busi nesses, but local communities as well. ■

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What specific policies would you propose or support to make Washington a business-friendly state?

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includes local workers and business owners. If individuals and families do not feel safe to shop and freely walk about our community, that has a negative impact on local busi nesses. I believe we need to support our police so they can do their jobs, while having commonsense reforms that stop abuses of power. I also support having strong behavioral health and education systems in place to help people lead safe and productive lives, reducing criminal activity.

When I talk with local businesses and voters at the doors, crime and public safety is an issue that comes up frequently. All people deserve to feel safe in our community, and that

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FINANCE BP

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Often, business owners will only speak with their banker when they have a problem, but it’s important to schedule a regular review of your accounts and business plans to make sure you’re tracking to your goals. There may be new loan products to help fund a technology investment or business

Business owners who haven’t experienced fraud may have a false sense of security and believe they’re protected, but as criminals get more sophisticated, businesses need to be even more vigilant.

3 simple steps to protect your business from fraud

Staying on top of fraud tactics

expansion that you may not be aware of, and your banker also can help ensure your fraud security is up-to-date and protecting your business and assets.

In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center in vestigated 19,369 cases of business email fraud, amounting to $1.8 billion in losses. Given that this represents only cases investigated federally, it’s likely a gross underrepresentation.

A regular check-in with your banker should be on your list of to-dos

Kevin Tepker

It is also why you defer to experts in their fields to keep your business thriv ing — accountants for financial advice and lawyers for legal questions, for example. A regular check-in with your bank er also should be on your list of to-dos.

In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center investigated 19,369 cases of business email fraud, amounting to $1.8 billion in losses.

As the owner of a small- to medi um-sized business, you likely know your product and client base inside and out. It’s what’s made your business success ful, after all.

PHOTO: iStockphoto.com/Sakorn Sukkasemsakorn

Fraudsters can attack businesses in a variety of ways, such as phishing — emails or texts asking recipients to

52 BUSINESSPULSE.COM | SEP/OCT 2022 L e a r n m o r e : v e r i t a s m e d i a p r o c o m S O L V E B U S I N E S S P R O B L E M S U S I N G V I D E O L e a r n h o w a t v e r i t a s m e d i a p r o . c o m V i r t u a l E v e n t s M a r k e t i n g V i d e o s R e c r u i t m e n t V i d e o s E L e a r n i n g T r a i n i n g V i d e o s L i v e S t r e a m i n Ig n c r e a s i n g r e v e n u e A t t r a c t i n g b e t t e r t a l e n t E x p l a i n i n g a c o m p l i c a t e d p r o c e s s A n a l y z i n g a p r o c e s s R e d u c i n g a c c i d e n t s M a k i n g t r a i n i n g m o r e e f f i c i e n t A d d r e s s t h e p a i n p o i n t s i n y o u r b u s i n e s s b y u s i n g v i d e o V i d e o c a n h e l p w i t h : S c a n t h i s Q R c o d e t o s e e e x a m p l e s o f o u r H R / R e c r u i t m e n t v i d e o w o r k

Check fraud is a common scam that can catch business es unaware, but most banks have a service, often called Positive Pay, that can help pro tect your business. Essentially, you’ll provide your bank with information about all the vendors and electron ic payments you’ve authorized, and they’ll block payment to anyone else. Treasury management services are essential for good business opera tions, but it’s not enough to put these measures in place and call it good. Technology and fraud techniques are always evolving, meaning your protec tion tactics must evolve, too. Regular check-ins with your banker can go a long way toward keeping your finan cial information secure and protecting your businesses from fraud.

Utilize your bank’s fraud protection services.

Use a money.ortransferringtimesystemcontroldualeveryyou’rewiring

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A second set of eyes can help identify potential fraud and prevent mistakes.

Here’stransfers.oneexample of how this fraud might work: Consider a long standing vendor you might have who’s overseas. Because of the time differ ence, you might rarely, if ever, speak in person, conducting your business via email and wire transfers instead. One day you receive an invoice from your usual contact with a note with new payment

click links or provide information — or sending requests for payment or money

Kevin Tepker is a senior vice president and commercial banking officer at the Peo ples Bank Barkley Financial Center. Please contact a local lender at one of Peoples Bank’s nine office locations in Whatcom County to learn about financial solutions that are right for your business. Visit https://www.peoples bank-wa.com.

moneyFortunately,back. you can protect your business from these types of schemes by following these three steps:

Pick up the phone. Any time you receive pickmentchangesthereinstructionspaymentorareanyinpayinstructions,upthephone and call your contact to verify the in formation. Do this using an established phone number and do not rely solely on the authenticity of email messages or replies. This will stop fraud nearly 100 percent of the time.

Everythinginstructions. appears legitimate, so you go ahead and pay the invoice, and the next, and the next, until you discover that you’ve paid tens of thou sands of dollars to a fraudulent ac count, with little chance of getting the

PHOTO: iStockphoto.com/samvaltenbergs

(The Portal) is an area that would have been waiting at least a decade to be developed by the City of Bellingham into a park.

The Port put a sub stantial amount of time and effort into bringing back our shipping terminal. The terminal had fall en into disrepair and was useless as an asset for years. We invested in repairs and cleanup of the waterways and then added infrastructure to attract commerce. Today, ABC Recycling is shipping steel, and JE McAmis is exporting rocks to a salmon restoration project on the Columbia River. ABC has already shipped 7,250 metric tons of steel, and JE McAmis has shipped over 25,000 metric tons of rock. The two companies have accomplished something

Ken Bell

Our job at the Port of Bellingham is right there in our mission statement: promote sustainable economic develop ment, optimize transportation gateways and manage publicly owned land and facilities to benefit Whatcom County. With that in mind, here are just a few success stories to illustrate how active we have been the past year.The most noticeable project was the selection of a development group to move forward with the redevel opment of the old Boardmill building. The group (called the Boardmill Group LLC) includes Michael Watters, Elie Samuel, Faber Boardmill investments, and Sean Hegstad, owner of Haven Design Workshop. The Boardmill group and its proposal was chosen because it preserved the lega cy of the Boardmill building and incorporated a boutique hotel, a few residential units and convention space. The Port wanted local participation in this site, and this entire team is from Whatcom County. We sought a variety of stake holders, including the city, the Chamber of Commerce and

Movement on the waterfront

Past year full of success stories for the Port of Bellingham

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Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, to weigh in on the various proposals. This development will be a game changer for the waterfront dis trict, and we expect construction to begin in early 2023.

WHEN WE COMMUNITY,SAY

we have not seen in decades on at the terminal. They have employed 100% of the membership of our local union af filiate. The union is actively searching for more bodies because there is more work headed its way. ABC expects to ship 180,000 metric tons through 2024, and 40,000 metric tons of rock will ship this year. That’s a total of 25 to 30 union-scale jobs and 20 jobs created at the companies during peak periods. In addition to jobs, the Port is finally getting market rate leases on the shipping terminal properties.

Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus En ergy, said this about locating at the Port of Bellingham: “Knowing that we had strong, long-term partners that would support our growth plans made the final decision to expand (in Bellingham) easy.”

The Port is also becoming known as the epicenter for alternative energy employment. The success of All Amer ican Marine has brought us other op portunities. The latest is Corvus Ener gy, a Norway-based supplier of battery systems worldwide. Corvus will be moving into a manufacturing ware house in Fairhaven. Corvus, the lead ing supplier of battery energy storage systems for marine applications, will employ 20 people at this facility. The Port assisted in securing the funding to retrofit the space for this use.

(The developmentBoardmill)will

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This took collaboration with Mari time Blue and the Washington State be a game changer for the waterfront district, and we expect construction to begin in early 2023.

WE MEAN BUSINESS.

Department of Commerce.

District 2 Port Commissioner Ken Bell has been a Bellingham business owner for over 20 years. He is president of Best Recycling, a waste management company known for its ability to work in very re mote locations like the Yukon Territory, Alaska, Ant arctica, Greenland and the Aleutian Islands. Com missioner Bell is also CEO of the Iron Creek Group, a company with patented revolutionary thermal remediation technologies used for cleaning up con taminated soils. He has worked with major ports throughout the world and has experience working on contaminated property redevelopment projects like those that exist at the Port of Bellingham.

We also approved a lease for Advance Performance Parts, a design, manufac turing and distributor of world-class brake components and systems for race cars, high performance cars and armored vehicles. These parts are de signed for such companies as Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and other highend sports car manufacturers. The company, which specializes in carbon fiber parts, signed a lease to occupy the Army National Guard building on the airport property. We initially approved a five-year lease. Advance Performance Parts has now expanded twice within a year to accommodate growth at this location.Finally, I want to highlight the in credible success of the container vil lage in Waypoint Park. We call this area “The Portal.” This is an area that would have been waiting at least a

Recently, the bike track hosted a

This shows that the Port is not only active but incredibly creative in our en deavors. The Port Commission takes pride in bringing people to the water front and bringing real work and work ing wages to Whatcom County. ■

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We have a long list of vendors wait ing to be approved for this village. They would join our tremendously success ful operators: Kulshan’s Trackside beer garden, The Selkie Scoop ice cream shop, Sun-E-Land Bikes (a bike rent al and repair shop), and the Rain or Shine Riviera Club restaurant (owned and operated by the same people who brought us the Filling Station and the Our Kitchen bakery and coffee shop).

decade to be developed by the City of Bellingham into a park. The Port took the initiative to initiate a business park using sea containers as structures. These containers are moveable, so when the area does become prime for growth, they can be moved to another location. The containers are in close proximity to the bicycle pump track that has become a mecca for local bike track enthusiasts.

national competition called Tune Up, which brought more than 7,000 peo ple to the site. The vendors on this site have received a massive following, and business is booming under The Portal.

Molly Harding Staff Ecologist II & Project Manager Making Sustainability Possible: Since 1982 Environmental Science, Permitting & Land Use 360.389.5593 | aquaterrsystemsinc.com

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