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This last week we heard about and read about the money that is in this year’s Whatcom County elections.  So okay.  Let’s focus on the money.  It can make a difference.  The slicker an ad, the catchier the phrase, the more often you hear it, sways voters.  What kind of voters does money sway?  The last-minute uninvolved voter.  Why is this a big deal?  Because as we have often seen in Whatcom County many voters do not actually know the person they vote for. 


Our candidates running this year have attended public forums, public debates, and made numerous public appearances, whether at a club meeting or neighborhood coffees, or on your doorstep as they doorbell.  But you - the voter- have shown up to all these public events in disappointingly small numbers. We are in the last week, and now it is down to the money that each candidate must hit the airwaves, our television screen and mailbox to speak to all of you who did not show up during the campaign season.

Enter the importance of PACS, Political Action Committees.  Political action committees are created to influence voters with their political viewpoint as the focus.  They can be made up of either local citizens, outsiders, or a combination.  They can be locally funded or funded by outsiders who have interests, political actions, they are pushing.  They are likely to sponsor negative ads or stretch the truth because no one on the committee is running for office and therefore will not be held accountable.

We have two such PAC’s working in the race for County Executive, The Riveters Collective and the Coalition for a Better NW Washington.

 The main contributor to the Riveters collective is Jim Swift.  Mr. Swift has been a local businessman in Whatcom county since 2005, owner of Rocket Donets, Mocha Joe’s, Fat Pie Piazza and the Acme Diner. This should be no surprise to anyone Mr. Swift has often supported candidates from the local Democrat Party in our county before.

The other major contributor, Coalition for a Better NW Washington is the Philipps 66 Oil Refinery based here in Whatcom county. The money contributed to PACS often reflects either passion and/or ability to contribute.  It should be no surprise to anyone in the county after years of threats against the Cherry Point businesses, that they would spend money to protect the billions in investments they have made here.

What you must decide:  Is your vote purchased by a political advertisement that has a clever use of alliteration (TTT) or will your vote be based on what the candidate says? If you don’t want to sell your vote, then you better get busy and do your own research.

In the end, it does not matter who spends what money, IT MATTERS HOW AND WHY YOU VOTE!

~ Lorraine Newman