By Ralph Schwartz
Here’s the story on county Dem elections I turned in to my editor, to run soon in The Bellingham Herald:
The executive board of the Whatcom County Democrats remains the same as the party prepares to focus on local issues and candidates in 2013.
All current officeholders accepted new two-year terms at the Democrats’ monthly membership meeting, on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Mike Estes retains the party chairmanship. He took over for Natalie McClendon last spring after she filed to run for the state Legislature.
Other leadership positions in the county party organization:
- Stephanie Kountouros, first vice chair
- Riley Sweeney , second vice chair
- Aileen Satushek, secretary
- Peggy Borgens , treasurer
- Catherine Chambers, state committeewoman
- Richard May , state committeeman
Whatcom Democrats judged 2012 to be mostly successful at the federal and state level — not to mention locally, with the election of Deborra Garrett, a Superior Court judge endorsed by Democrats. In 2013, a year all about local races, Estes said Democrats will pay particular attention to the four Whatcom County Council races. The seats of two conservatives — Kathy Kershner and Bill Knutzen — and two more liberal council members — Ken Mann and Carl Weimer — are up for election.
“I expect this year it’ll be interesting to see who’s filing,” Estes said. “We expect those races to get very high profile.”
County Democrats are working on a particularly contentious county council issue, the land transfer or reconveyance around Lake Whatcom. It would convert 8,844 acres of state-run timberlands into a county park. A final vote on the reconveyance could come in two or three months.
“We’ve been watching the reconveyance for years now. We think we’re close to closure there,” Estes said.