Breaking news, City Council President Cathy Lehman to resign her elected office at the end of this year to take a position with the Washington Environmental Council (WEC) and Washington Conservation Voters (WCV). In this new role, she would, “help advance climate change policy regionally, educate and turn out voters for environmental priorities and candidates statewide, and hold elected officials accountable to their environmental values,” said Lehman in a statement to the press.
Lehman, who was elected in
2009 2011 to the Bellingham City Council was formerly part of a political consulting firm, Lehman-McShane Strategies, with local organizer Lisa McShane however the two parted ways earlier this year. This new job will be out of Seattle, so she will be moving down there after December.
She addressed the issue of leaving before the end of her term in her statement. “Nevertheless, this has been a very difficult decision. Many hours of sleep have eluded me because I have worked hard to serve the City of Bellingham, and I greatly respect the honor of the office of City Council. Since the beginning of my run for office, I’ve been humbled by the support I’ve felt from so many of you, and I take the trust you have placed in me very seriously. The responsibilities of my position are not something I take lightly, and I have not wanted to let you down.
But my life’s work is, and always has been, one of public service and advancing practical solutions for our environmental challenges. And making real advances to address climate change may be the single most important work of our lifetimes.”
In January, the City Council will have to appoint a citizen from the 3rd Ward (downtown, Sunnyland neighborhood and others) to fill the remainder of Lehman’s term (till the end of 2015). That seat is also up for reelection in 2015, further complicating the issue. If the council cannot agree on a candidate, after 30 days the decision is passed to the mayor.
On a personal note, I will miss her clear voice for moderation and functional policy. I’ve always found her approachable, lively and determined to do what is best. WEC and WCV are lucky to have her.