100 people 250 people packed the Squalicum Boathouse for Satpal Sidhu’s campaign kickoff last night. Satpal Sidhu is running for the 42nd Legislative District house seat vacated by Rep. Jason Overstreet earlier this year. Rep. Kris Lytton introduced Sidhu, and spoke about his work as the Dean of Bellingham Technical College and his charming demeanor. “An engineer with personality. Believe me, I’m married to an engineer. Satpal is an anomaly!” Lytton praised his work on solar energy, his long history of outreach between the Sikh community and greater Whatcom and his work as a business owner.
Sidhu spoke at length about his plans to create jobs. Unlike the standard boiler plate answers about creating jobs (Democrats say, “Invest in infrastructure” and Republicans say, “Cut regulations”), Sidhu talked about closing the skill gap.
His work at BTC centered around identifying industries that needed skilled workers and then tailoring programs to their needs. “Workers don’t need a handful of credits, they need skills.”
The crowd was more than just the usual Democratic attendees. Perry Eskridge from the Whatcom County Realtors was there supporting Sidhu. “I tell people, I’m a conservative Republican and I like Satpal. I like the way he thinks, he is a different sort of candidate.”
I heard more than a couple attendees compare Sidhu to Rud Browne, a moderate Democratic immigrant deeply involved in the business community with some environmental interests who took the County by storm. In my opinion, it is an accurate comparison and I am curious to see how Luanne Van Werven, Bill Knutzen and Nicholas Kunkel will measure up as this campaign moves forward.