Letter: Candidate prioritizes health of populace


For County commissioner I am looking for someone who hits the ground running, is a quick study, and has extensive background in leadership. And I want someone who places the health of the whole populace, young and old, high on her priority list. Janet St. Clair fills this bill exactly. Chairing the Island County Board of Health she has tirelessly negotiated health services for children, elders and those in between. She has created an affordable housing task force on Camano, one of many measures slated to deal with elevated living costs and County-wide housing shortages. She schooled herself on the complexities of broadband for County residents, businesses, and institutions then created partnerships with businesses, got grants, and extended connectivity. She also does many supportive actions for small businesses. Tackling a maze of County law she’s closing land use loopholes that have allowed profiteering and thoughtless decimation of our precious tree cover.

What does Janet not do? She doesn’t believe that reciting talking points will magically result in consequential, actionable improvements— something that her opponent Tim Hazelo regularly does. Hazelo is high on promises, but low on details and governing experience. Yes, he can head a Republican Party for the County, maybe even well, but declaring belief in “Law and Order,” and wringing hands over imagined widespread “dismantling of society” does not build results on the ground. Threatening an audit of every government department to throw out procedures that don’t “improve Island County,” is an expensive tilting-at-windmills task with a vague measuring stick of success. Bemoaning current high island prices (a post-pandemic international problem with massive geo-political causes) is not a quick-fix locally. Spouting the hackneyed talking points of “reducing regulations” and “supporting the Navy” will not resolve tough issues that take delicate, practical negotiation between parties with colliding interests. He gives a big ho-hum to climate change, side-stepping the needed hard work of anticipating near-future impacts created by sea-level rise, chaotic weather events and increasing climate refugees.

We don’t have time (or money) for someone spouting rhetoric and creating division while struggling to learn the skills of an effective public servant. Janet St. Clair already has them, is working productively and efficiently, and gets many improved results for all of us. Give her a vote of confidence; she will continue navigating skillfully the complex challenges that citizens of both Island County parties face.

Mark Wahl