My name is Michael Shepard and I am running for the Port Commission District 1 position in Whatcom County. I’m running for the Port Commission position because I want to bring a fresh, new perspective to the port. My vision is to create a consistent and open dialogue between the port and the people of Whatcom County, and to establish strong and lasting relationships between all the stakeholders of a rapidly growing region.
I am very excited to run in this year’s election cycle! This is my first time running for public office, and I am very passionate about the Port. I am a lifelong Democrat, and a 20-year resident of Whatcom County. While enjoying my time here, I have worked for the Whatcom County Parks, Whatcom Community College, Northwest Indian College, and Western Washington University. I currently teach graduate and undergraduate eLearning classes in Environmental Studies, Anthropology and Cultural Sustainability at Goucher College, and am a Research Associate at Western’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. I am also a member of the Portage Bay Shellfish Advisory Commission, and a board member for the Kulshan Community Land Trust.
The Port race is a very important race this year, because we have the chance to elect an all-progressive Port Commission team. Because the Port is in charge of creating policies to guide the economic development and growth of Whatcom County, and the operation of the port, it is crucial that we elect these progressives into office. Additionally, the Port of Bellingham has unique authority to foster family wage job creation, and can facilitate economic development through the development of marine terminals, airports, and transportation centers, along with the promotion of tourism as a driver of economic stimulus. The Port also has jurisdiction over the environmental protection, clean-up, and the creation of public access to Port properties. Many people in Whatcom County do not know what the Port does, and it is our campaign’s goal to spread awareness of what the Port and Port Commissioners do for Whatcom County!
As a candidate for Port Commission, there are many issues that I am passionate about in Whatcom County. Some of the issues that my campaign focuses on are finding solutions to long-term affordable housing, and supporting and creating family-wage jobs, so that we can have comprehensive, countywide economic development. I recognize that Bellingham is in a housing crisis currently, with prices continually rising, and the Port of Bellingham can be an ally to Whatcom County in promoting long-term affordable housing options for our community. If elected, I will advocate for the Port to support housing affordability initiatives, so that we can accommodate for the creation of new jobs, and thus new Whatcom County residents.
My campaign also recognizes that the local economy and the environment are inherently connected. I will take action to promote a broad conceptualization of economic development, and strive to seek projects that increase environmental sustainability, while also promoting positive economic development. I want the Port to be a partner in ensuring the clean-up of Port properties and waterways, using sustainable development technologies and methods to develop and re-develop Port properties and businesses, and also overseeing the restoration of salmon habitat.
If you support my campaign, and are passionate about politics, and getting involved in local elections, I encourage you to volunteer for my campaign! We have volunteer shifts available every day from 10 am-8 pm for phonecalling and doorbelling, and we also doorbell every Saturday from 10 am-1 pm. Our volunteering efforts are based out of the Whatcom Democrats Office, located at 215 West Holly St. Suite B27. If you wish to volunteer please feel free to visit my website, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my campaign manager at 452-359-9872. Along with volunteering, we can also use all the financial support we can get, as campaigns are expensive. If you feel inclined to donate to my campaign, donations can be made on our website here, or checks may be mailed to 2516 Kulshan St. Bellingham, WA 98225. I hope to have your vote in the primary and general election, and I look forward to talking with you soon. Don’t forget to vote. Thanks!