It is election season again, and that means it’s time to choose whom your vote belongs to.
Ever wish you could know more about candidates than what they write in their allotted informational space? The AS Review asked Bellingham City Council candidate Cathy Lehman for her opinions on the major issues affecting the city.
The Western alumna is running for the council seat of the 3rd Ward, which is located just north of campus. The ward contains the city’s central business district, the majority of the York, Roosevelt and Lettered Streets neighborhoods, and portions of several others. Originally from Seattle, Lehman said she never wanted to leave Bellingham after graduating from Western in 2000 with a bachelor’s in communication.
She is a strong supporter of having the city enforce rental licensing. She said that during her time at the university, she lived in rental housing on both High Street and North Garden Street that was not up to code.
The AS Review: What is the role of the City Council?
Cathy Lehman: Primarily the council sets policies and approves the financial budget.
Review: What was your previous employment before running for City Council?
Lehman: I was a sustainable business manager and pushed the Green Power Community Challenge to make Bellingham the greenest city. We encouraged businesses [in Bellingham] to switch their energy to green power.
Review: What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
Lehman: I hope to focus my energy on four primary things. One is downtown economic development. The second one is ensuring neighborhood livability with different transportation choices, and the third is improving our work to fix Lake Whatcom drinking-water quality. The fourth thing is continuing the waterfront redevelopment project.
Review: What do you hope to see in terms of the Georgia Pacific Waterfront redevelopment?
Lehman: I think we should have public access to the water as soon as possible, and I would like to see the city and the [Port of Bellingham] move together on it.
Review: What is your stance on rental licensing?
Lehman: I’m in support of rental licensing; I have been since early on. We have safety issues in many of our rental units that are becoming apparent to many people. In this economy, we have a lot of folks who have to rent, and it’s being taken advantage of by certain landlords.
Review: How to do feel about exporting coal at Cherry Point?
Lehman: I think my employment history, my endorsements and my life choices all support my position that investing on coal as an energy source is not good. I am interested in utilizing the Cherry Point site for industry.
Review: What kind of industry would you choose for Cherry Point?
Lehman: I would like to see something go in there that provides high-wage jobs, but not coal. I think what’s confusing about that is the proposal for that site is about a project that would ship coal, but the potential for that site could be something that could be very, very different. I would like to talk about what we could put in the terminal.