Last night, County Executive Jack Louws stopped by the Whatcom Tea Party’s general meeting to talk to them about the state of the county and his accomplishments over the last couple of years. When I saw he was on the agenda, I grabbed my video camera and headed down, hoping to catch a little back and forth between the devout conservatives of the local Tea Party and the moderate conservative governance of Jack Louws.
Sadly, no fireworks (metaphorically, the real ones are banned) erupted at the event. I showed up bright and early and was welcomed by KGMI host Kris Halterman. There were flyers on the table for this year’s Freedom Academy training, a bootcamp for conservative activists that I attended last year to their chagrin. After a quick Pledge of Allegiance, the group handed over the microphone to Louws who spoke at length (almost 40 minutes). You can watch the entire speech by clicking here or make your way through this article as I pull out some highlights.
Louws spoke about the efficiency training that the Planning Department recently undertook. Lean is a philosophy of continuous improvement and empowers employees to reduce inefficiencies within their own work processes. Governor Inslee has been promoting this practice on the state level and it has trickled down to the municipalities.
The New Jail
Louws did not pull his punches on this issue. “We’ve made more progress in the last couple of years than we probably made in the prior ten.” He sees the new jail opening near the end of this decade and is happy with the property that was purchased.
If you missed the fantastic forum put on by the League of Women Voters on water issues, you can find the video here (courtesy of the good people at the Center for New Media) but the issue of water rights, access and quality is on everyone’s mind lately. Louws admitted his own discomfort with the subject, “Water’s complicated and I’ll be real honest here, I’m going to enjoy some questions here in a minute as it relates to water but I don’t know exactly what all the answers are.”
Overall, the speech was cordial and the questions afterward pretty mundane. The national Tea Party and establishment Republicans may be feuding, but when it comes to local politics, it is just the slow grind of getting the job done.