By Jami Makan
Whatcom County planning commissioner and small business owner Natalie McClendon has announced a run for the open “coastal” district seat on Whatcom County Council.
District 5, also known as the coastal district, includes Lummi Island, Lummi Nation, Ferndale, Birch Bay, Blaine, Custer, Point Roberts and land west of I-5 outside of Bellingham.
According to a March 15 press release issued by McClendon, no current council member resides in district 5, and this will be the first time in about 20 years that voters west of I-5 can elect a council member from their area.
“Our neighbors in the district 5 face very real problems – affordable housing, hunger, and lack of job opportunities,” McClendon said in her press release. “We also have many county-wide issues – land use, water, the jail – that have languished for decades without resolution. Moving our county forward should be more than a slogan.”
McClendon is currently serving her second term on the Whatcom County planning commission. She said this has given her a front row seat on many of the pressing issues facing Whatcom County.
“Technology and climate change are transforming our communities before our eyes,” McClendon said. “We can either sit on the sidelines and watch or proactively reinvent our local economy to meet the challenge.
According to the press release, McClendon has been actively involved in her community for four decades, through paid and volunteer stints with the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, parent-teacher associations, cub scouts and boy scouts.
She was elected to two terms as chair of the Whatcom Democrats, and worked as treasurer and manager on over a dozen local election campaigns. In 2012, McClendon ran as a Democrat for the legislature in the 42nd District.
“We have a duty to work together – business, community groups and ordinary people – to create smart, efficient, and fair government policies that take advantage of future job opportunities and shared prosperity,” said McClendon.
Only voters living in district 5 may vote for candidates running in council district 5, in both the 2019 August primary and November general election.