Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who is running for Whatcom County executive, told attendees of the Whatcom Progressive Solidarity forum that he supports creation of a guest-worker program for farm labor.
“Well, we’re working with the farmers to make it legal so they can bring in guest workers,” Ericksen said. “It would be nice if they were able to have a visa from the federal level to be able to do that. So a guest worker program would be good for our farmers … That’s my view on it, making it legal so they can get people in to help them with their farm is important. You need land, water and labor for farms.”
His opponent, Jack Louws, didn’t attend the forum.
Here is the video with Ericksen and Christina Maginnis at the forum (Maginnis is running against council member Sam Crawford, who didn’t attend the forum):
Maginnis received an endorsement from the group. Ericksen didn’t get an endorsement or recommendation from the group.
Here is what the group said about Maginnis:
Christina Maginnis won the endorsement for County Council seat #2 due to her passion and willingness to use her knowledge of hard science to protect the Lake Whatcom watershed into our future
Maginnis and Ericksen aren’t running against each other, but they had an interesting debate over the issue of exempt wells. Under state law, landowners can sink a well that takes up to 5,000 gallons of water a day for a home. Ericksen said he supports the rights of rural landowners to be able to build a home on their property; he said state law also gives farmers a right to water for their cattle, too.
Maginnis, who works for the state Department of Ecology, said the law is a problem, because it lets people sink wells that reduce available water for farm operations.