Three so far in the race for county council

Two Orcas residents are challenging incumbent Rick Hughes for the District 2 spot on the San Juan County Council: Learner Limbach and Cindy Wolf.

All three have filed with the Public Disclosure Commission but cannot file in San Juan County until the period of May 11-25. A primary will be held on Aug. 4 to narrow the race down to two candidates.

Hughes is currently serving his second term in this position, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020. District 2 encompasses Orcas, Waldron and Blakely islands.

Rick Hughes’ statement

Thank you, It has been an honor to serve on the San Juan County Council from District #2, Orcas/Waldron.

My continuing pledge is to operate a fair, honest and transparent government, to provide balanced leadership, develop better communications and interaction between County employees and the public, and to have County government serve as an aid to the public.

Over the next four years, I will be a climate warrior, with a goal of installing 750 KW of solar panels on county buildings, continue improving the long-term prospect of living wage jobs, build county-wide trail networks and provide affordable rental housing. Assure reliable and responsive care for our seniors and develop reasonable and affordable local transportation options. Expand local, sustainable agriculture, with a goal of 10% food consumed, grown in the county. Develop clear, concise and appropriate regulations and completion of the comprehensive plan.

If elected to a final term I will focus on:

• Community — solving difficult problems in civilized and balanced fashion

• Sustainability — maintain fragile environment, help island residences become more self-sufficient and promote long-term growth of agricultural business

• Infrastructure — long term, reliable ferry service, multi-model connection points that will allow mobility up the I-5 corridor

• Financial Responsibility — operate a balanced budget, fund a reliable reserve, continue to reduce county debt, limit taxation and control overall spending

• Economic Development — Embrace responsibly, our tourist economy, provide locals/visitors with the best facilities, explore new sources of income, support local business and invest in our community to create the best opportunities for sustained employment

It would be naïve to think this will be an easy job or think everyone will agree with my views, but I promise to listen, learn, be fair, honest and act in the best interest of San Juan County.

The secret to long-term success of the San Juan Islands lies in all of us, and the preservation of small-town community values. The future will be bright for our wonderful island home if we all reach inside and work together to move our community forward.

I ask for your vote so I may continue to serve you on the San Juan County Council!

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Learner Limbach’s statement

We are living in an unprecedented time in history. We have an economy that concentrates wealth in the hands of a few, while too many people struggle to get by. We are witnessing the effects of climate change and ecosystem collapse right before our eyes. We are going through this world more isolated than in the past, increasingly deprived of authentic human connection.

I see the islands as a unique and special place. As a long-time islander, I also have an understanding of the challenges that we face. I see an incredible opportunity for our islands to be a model of sustainable and regenerative community, providing an example that inspires communities elsewhere in our region and throughout the world.

While there is a tremendous amount of work to do, we succeed when we come together, when we lift each other up, and when we embrace new approaches and bold new ideas for solving our biggest problems.

Working together we can:

• Support a thriving local commerce and create a year-round local living economy.

• Ensure everyone in our community has an affordable and dignified place to live.

• Establish functional solutions for healthcare in the islands.

• Take bold action to address the Climate Crisis.

• Protect the Salish Sea and the natural environment of which we are a part.

• Improve transportation systems to work better for locals and promote car-free tourism.

• Invest in growing the local food system and support our farmers to succeed.

• Provide all youth with the support they need to grow into happy, healthy adults.

• Expand senior services, create more opportunities for intergenerational connection and aging in place.

The San Juan Islands have been my home since I was a teenager. This is the place that I know, the place that I love. If given the opportunity to serve as your representative on the County Council, I pledge to listen deeply, to act with integrity and to fully commit myself to the work ahead.

Visit to learn more about the campaign.

Cindy Wolf’s statement

The future is coming. I am running for County Council to meet it with a good plan in place, not just a list of projects generated in reaction to current circumstances. When my daughter has children, I want them to be able to look around the islands and know that I was thinking of them when I cast my votes.

But we have practical challenges to meet, especially around housing. We must find ways for working islanders to buy affordable homes. We live in a beautiful place the world wants to visit. We need to house seasonal workers to staff our tourist-dependent small businesses. But we must receive tourists in ways that keep our rural lifestyle intact.

I am running to ensure your tax dollars are carefully spent, with the future in mind. Public spending should be in the public interest, to improve our environment and our island quality of life. I want to make certain every penny we spend takes our carbon footprint, our future climate and our economic health into consideration.

There are very real possibilities for reducing our carbon emissions and the need for expensive infrastructure. For example, right now we could explore public-private partnerships for kelp farms that sequester carbon, provide jobs and even generate electricity. In the future, if we plan properly and have good regulations in place, there could be drones capable of bringing cargo to our airports and fleets of self-driving electric taxis so visitors don’t have to bring their individual cars. We need to be creative in our thinking and our planning.

For the past three years, I have served as Vice-Chair of the San Juan County Democratic Central Committee, working to make sure all the voices in the room get heard. In 2017 I helped found Orcas Women’s Coalition. We have worked together to pass several school levies, draft a county ordinance and elect some wonderful candidates who now serve as state legislators, judges and port commissioners.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can and I hope you will consider voting for me.