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Letter to the Editor: Recommendations for the four positions on the primary ballot

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Warm afternoons and lingering sunsets have shifted us into summer mode and an election is the last thing on most people’s minds. But in a month, you’ll have the opportunity to completely remake your Ferndale City government.

Three Council seats and the Mayor’s position had more than two people file for them, so there will be a primary election on Aug. 6. Your ballots and voters pamphlet (with candidate statements) will be mailed to you July 17 and you can begin voting immediately. The two candidates with the most votes will move forward to the Nov. 5 election, so it’s very important to make sure your preferred candidates get through the primary.

Many people have asked me for my recommendations for the four positions on the primary ballot, so here they are:

Council Position 2: Ali Hawkinson. Ali spends her working day helping people find jobs. She’s also experienced firsthand the challenge of making ends meet in this increasingly difficult economy. This is why Ali will work to make sure City Staff exhausts every funding option before coming to Ferndale residents with increased property taxes or increased water and sewer fees. I believe Ali Hawkinson is the best candidate because she is a problem solver, and her empathy and compassion will ensure every decision she makes on Council will be what’s best for our current residents.

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Council Position 3: Anya Milton. Anya spends her working day helping new and existing Ferndale businesses become more successful. Anya is a smart, strong, working mom, committed to bringing more living-wage jobs to Ferndale because she knows you can’t have a high quality of life without the funds to pay rent, buy food, or give your kids the opportunities they need to compete in our global economy. Anya’s greatest gift, though, is bringing diverse groups of people together to solve problems, while making sure every voice is heard before the final decision is made. I believe Anya Milton is the best candidate because I know she will be the glue that binds the new City Council into a formidable team, prepared to fight for all Ferndale residents.

Council Position 7: Maralise Fegan. Maralise spends her days running a law office and her nights working beside her husband to raise their two children. Maralise is by nature a critical thinker and a problem solver. On the [School] District’s Bond Task Force, she always asked the hard questions and never stopped asking until she received fact-based answers. As a working mom, Maralise also knows how hard it is to make ends meet and that there are limits on how much our residents can pay for essential services. I believe Maralise Fegan is the best candidate because I know she will always make decisions based on actual data, and that those decisions will also be driven by her desire to do what’s best for all Ferndale residents.

Mayor: There are two excellent candidates for this position, Keith Olson and Greg Hansen. Keith and Greg are honest, genuine people who will always put the needs of Ferndale residents first. Keith Olson wants to temper growth with the realities of using wells for City water, and the City’s relatively small sales tax base and the inadequate revenue it generates. Keith understands Ferndale cannot grow beyond its ability to provide services. Though Keith is a strong, decisive leader, he’s always willing to listen to Ferndale residents before making decisions. Greg Hansen and I often disagreed in our long-term vision for Ferndale – his vision for a vibrant downtown requires continued growth and more residents in that area, while I believe Ferndale is growing too quickly. But Greg is a good man, who grew up in Ferndale, loves his community, and is willing to work with all our residents to find equitable solutions. Greg’s hospitality, business, and teaching experiences also give him the tools to meet the needs of our City, while improving communications and customer service. I think either Keith or Greg is a good choice for the primary.

As always, please take the time to learn more about every candidate who’s running for office before you cast your vote. Whomever the voters choose will be making decisions that affect your life for the next four years.

If you’ve never registered to vote or need to change your address, you can find instructions on the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office website.

Cathy Watson
Former Ferndale councilmember

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