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City Council member announces resignation

Photo: Courtesy Cathy Watson

Ferndale City Council Member Cathy Watson today announced she is resigning from her position on the council.

Watson provided the following via email.

Today, I am resigning from the Ferndale City Council. While I have tried for more than seven years to support the needs of our residents, it has become painfully obvious I no longer have the ability to affect change as a councilmember. I also don’t have the energy to continue fighting, knowing I will always be one of two “No” votes on too many important issues where I think the City is out of sync with the desires of its residents.

By resigning now, before candidate filing week, I’m also ensuring my council position will be on the November ballot, so the voters can choose someone to complete the last two years of my term rather than the mayor and council. There are many good candidates who have already stepped up to run for council and I hope you will also have a good option to replace me.
This year, Ferndale residents have a unique opportunity to completely remake your city government. Please take the time to learn about and meet every candidate. Sadly, some candidates for political office will not hesitate to lie to get your vote, so don’t believe any incumbent who tells you they alone are responsible for everything good that’s happened in Ferndale in the last 10 years, or any candidate who says they alone have the skills to fix Ferndale’s many problems. Choose your candidates carefully as if your future depended on each one of them, because it does.
With this resignation, I am retiring from political life, though I will continue to serve our community as a volunteer with those organizations where my efforts can still produce results.

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It has been an honor to serve the people of Ferndale on our City Council.

Watson also cited 2 examples of the 5 to 2 votes she mentioned in her announcement.

  1. September 2018 – Tax Exemptions for Multi-Family Developments
    Watson noted “both the Ferndale School District and Whatcom County Fire District 7 asked the Council NOT to approve”
  2. April 2019 – Waiving Development Fees – Downtown Catalyst Program

With Watson’s resignation, voters are now going to be tasked with electing 6 of the 7 positions on the Ferndale City Council.

Watson was first elected to the council in 2011. She left her position to run for mayor in 2015 but lost to Jon Mutchler by 103 votes. She was appointed by the other councilmembers to the position Mutchler vacated. She was then elected by the voters in 2017 to the current term which ends December 31, 2021.


  1. Yvonne Goldsmith May 9, 2019

    Both Gene and I believe this is a huge loss to our City. Cathy has always been there for the Ferndale citizen and not for her own benefit. She was always serving the community as a non-partisan representative. Before voting for any candidate this year seeking a non-partisan position, check and see if they are running independently or representing a political party. Hopefully the citizens will see the need to get candidates into the positions who have a heart for what is good, just and right for the Ferndale taxpayer, not for their own benefit like asking for health care benefits and major salary increases. The mayor believes he has done all of his listed accomplishments on his own without the Council or State Representatives or the City Lobbyist. IF this is true then why do we the citizens continue to pay for a City Council, a City Administrator and a City Lobbyist? Thank you, Yvonne and Gene Goldsmith

  2. Norine Amend May 9, 2019

    This is a good forum to thank Cathy for her very powerful support as a Council member of the intense effort to get support both on Council and throughout Ferndale to achieve the new Ferndale Public Library. Her solid support, and continuing support of Library programs via both FOFL sales and STEM programs for students, is much appreciated and our community is grateful. Big Thanks to You! Norine Amend

  3. Amy Rehmert May 9, 2019

    A very sad loss for the Ferndale City Council indeed. Like Cathy said herself, she was one of the few members that actually kept the needs of the residents of Ferndale in her representation. You will definitely be missed. Good luck with whatever adventure is next.

  4. Brian Jones May 9, 2019

    Very sorry to see one of the sound members of the council leave! Might the citizens of Ferndale wake up and clean house?

  5. Mike Cox May 10, 2019

    Thank you Cathy for all of your contributions to our city. Many of us are enjoying the fruits of your labor and will for years to come.

    Best wishes going forward,

    Cox Family

  6. Ellen McAnany May 10, 2019

    Thank you for your service and enthusiasm. Most if all, thank you for caring about Ferndale.

  7. Gayland Gump May 10, 2019


    I am so sad/angry that you felt you had to resign and appreciative of all that you have done for the city over the years. It is rare to find people of your quality willing to serve their community with such integrity and humanity. Thank you Cathy. I don’t have many heroes. I would count you among them.

    It may be greedy on my part, but I hope to see you again leading our community to a better future. Rest, recover, stoke the resistance.

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