Letters to The Editor: July 28-August 3, 2022


The Editor:

A vote for Ben Elenbaas for the state Senate means you are paying attention.

The community is being held hostage by rising crime (from 2019 to 2021 aggravated assault up 38.9 percent, robbery up 67.9 percent, vehicle theft up 59 percent), policies that make it impossible to staff corrections and law enforcement jobs, and lack of space at the Whatcom County Jail allowing recidivism to go unchecked.

The ongoing battle on the Cherry Point industrial area threatens far more than the 3,220 jobs there. When my family member was offered refinery employment, we celebrated like winning the lottery. Where else locally can someone earn an average wage of over $110,000? However, misguided governmental actions have the potential to drive out jobs and harm the less fortunate among us most with astronomical energy prices.

We need a senator who will stand up for the people, who is willing to get rid of the politics and actually solve issues.

Ben Elenbaas knows the importance of a safe Whatcom County for the public at large, for employment and tax revenue opportunities like the Cherry Point industrial area, and for preventing/responding to a crisis like the Nooksack River flooding. His educational background (bachelor's degree in natural sciences and minor in environmental studies) brings understanding of how to protect the environment while providing jobs and safe homes.

Ben's unique life experience of farming the land, employment as a refinery operations foreman, and elected Whatcom County Council service offers well-rounded knowledge and understanding of the people and the needs of the 42nd Legislative District.

As a mother and small business owner with a love of Whatcom County land and the community who lives on it, I urge you to vote by August 2 for Ben Elenbaas for the state Senate, 42nd district.

Nicole Gitts Spaur


The Editor:

I would like to encourage your readers to support Ben Elenbaas for state Senate. Ben is an experienced candidate who has already served well as chair of the charter review commission and as a Whatcom County Council member.

A free thinker, he's acceptable to most political factions, taking a whopping 59 percent in his last election. From a family here before Washington was a state, Ben daily produces food for us all, along with fuel for our travel. Working on the farm with his children, they represent the fifth and sixth generation to maintain and protect Whatcom's farmland.

Having demonstrated he can serve well and succeed in real-life experience, why would he not be our choice for the highest legislative office in this county? Unlike his opposition, his funding source is some 80 percent local individuals. Please give Ben the nod for Senate.

In the state representative slots, I'm also inclined to support locally grown, individuals who have spent their careers serving and protecting what we value.

Tasha, Dan and Ben need to go to Olympia.

Joe Elenbaas


The Editor:

When senator Doug Ericksen passed away last December, it was very shocking and many wondered who would take his place. I had had the privilege of working for Ericksen on several campaigns and in Olympia as his session aide one year. So I was very interested to see who would serve next as senator.

When Simon Sefzik was appointed to serve as senator by Whatcom County Council in January, many people wondered how it would go. A 22-year-old serving as senator? I even had friends from Olympia contacting me, asking what was going on.

Through a series of events, I ended up working remotely as a session aide for senator Sefzik in the 2022 session. I got to see first hand his uncompromising character, strong work ethic and amazing speaking skills in action on the Senate floor, in Senate committee hearings and in our community.

As you decide whom to vote for in the primary election, I ask you, as he puts it, to not judge him by his age, but by his character and the quality of his work.

I'm not asking for you to blindly support Simon, but that you give him a hearing. Come and meet him at one of his events, or give him a call at 360/201-7610, hear what he has to say and judge for yourself. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Melodie Kirk


The Editor:

My least favorite thing about elections are the negative ads and mailers. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. I got one last week about Sharon Shewmake that sounded off and so I looked up all of the bills they referenced. As best as I can tell, the bill she voted for, SB 5998, lowers taxes on most people.

Yes, Sharon voted to lower taxes. If you sell your home, odds are you will now pay less thanks to Sharon. If your house is really expensive (over $1.5 million), you’ll pay slightly more in taxes. That’s the truth. You can look it up yourself.

My point is, don’t believe what you read. If corporate PACs pay for it, double-check. They aren’t honest. They don’t want honest politicians to win.

MacKenna Kelly


The Editor:

As a former chairman for the Whatcom County Republican Party, state committee woman and executive board member of the Washington State Republican Party, I would like to encourage each of you to vote Ben Elenbaas for state Senate by August 2. Ben is an experienced candidate who was elected in his past race for Whatcom County Council by 59 percent of the voters in Whatcom County. He's a fourth-generation resident, a farmer and BP employee.

Experience matters and Ben has that knowledge and work experience, Ben’s donations are from 79 percent of Whatcom County residents versus 56 percent local donations for his opponent. Please vote for Ben Elenbaas for state Senate.

By way, while you are marking your ballot for Ben, please also select Tawsha Dykstra Thompson for state representative position 1 and Dan Johnson for state representative position 2. Thank you and please return your ballots before August 2.

Yvonne Goldsmith


The Editor:

Many of you know him as farmer Ben. Others of you know him as councilmember Elenbaas. To me, he’s “Dad.”

My name is Remington Elenbaas, and I’m Ben’s only daughter and a sophomore at Lynden High School. My dad is running for state Senate in the August 2 primary, and I wanted to let you know a little bit about him before the vote.

My dad is my number one supporter, my biggest fan and my rock. He has stood by me through thick and thin. He has always supported me whether that meant driving me to a cow show, showing up to my track meets or giving me the confidence to run for office in the Lynden FFA chapter.

My dad is kind, compassionate and caring. He’s also extremely hard working. He taught me that whenever I do something to give it 110 percent. As your next state senator, he’ll give it 110 percent.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be like my dad. I’ll never forget the day he taught me how to rake hay with his New Holland tractor. I was so proud of myself to finally be able to do some of what he’s so good at.

If you know me, then you know how much I like to talk. Thankfully, my dad is a great listener. It doesn’t matter if it’s me or if it’s one of his constituents. He always takes the time and gives you his full attention.

Finally, when anyone needs help, my dad is the first to respond. When the floods came, he took quick action to help his neighbors. When the oil train in Custer derailed, he answered the call from Sheriff Bill Elfo and rushed to the scene to offer any assistance that was necessary. Whenever anyone in this community hurts, my dad shows up.

Unlike an election, you don’t get to pick the family you’re born into. But I really lucked out. On August 2, you do get a choice, and I’d like to recommend my dad, Ben Elenbaas, to be your next state senator.

Remington Elenbaas


The Editor:

Why does Ben Elenbaas deserve a promotion to the state Senate after his ineffective term on Whatcom County Council?

When asked about his lack of conservative performance on county council, Elenbaas likes to remind folks that Republicans on county council are in the minority – but he seems to conveniently forget that Republicans in the state Senate are in the minority as well. If we continue to accept our position as the minority, we will never become the majority. We need leaders who are unafraid to stand by their convictions regardless of the popular opinion.

In the two-month legislative session, senator Simon Sefzik, whom Elenbaas is challenging, hit the ground running proposing solutions and championing legislation to reduce taxes and bring much-needed flood relief to Whatcom County. Sefzik was willing to reach across the aisle to find solutions – something that Elenbaas has been unwilling to do on council.

Furthermore, Elenbaas has had 15 times the amount of time on county council that Sefzik has had in Olympia and yet, Elenbaas has never proposed any solutions to improve life in Whatcom County. I want to be represented in Olympia by a senator who fights for me, not one afraid to work with those he disagrees with.

Elenbaas has touted his years of “experience,” but it’s starting to look like he’s had a long time to get nothing done.

Nate Higashi


The Editor:

People lie, math doesn’t.

Ben Elenbaas is running for state Senate on top of his three other jobs. There simply are not enough hours in a week for four jobs. A week has 168 hours – let’s start there. Elenbaas is employed at the BP refinery, where he works a minimum of 40 hours (and likely overtime, but we’ll ignore that for now). According to the Whatcom County Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials minutes (April 19, 2021), it requires “an average of 25 to 30 hours per week to fulfill their council responsibilities.” Elenbaas also raises cattle on 300 acres, requiring an average of 10-20 hours per week. We are now at a workweek of at least 75 hours (and up to 90 hours).

To this workload, Elenbaas wants to add Senate duties. The Senate is in session on average three months out of each year, but legislator’s duties do not stop once they’re back in their districts. Given the salary of a councilmember and state legislator are similar, we’ll assume the time required is about the same, 25-30 hours per week. The math doesn’t lie. We are now at a workweek of a minimum of 100 hours but up to 120. This doesn’t include commute times or BP overtime. Elenbaas cannot do all four jobs and do them well. It simply is not possible.

Unfortunately, he’s said that he wouldn’t relinquish his county council job if he were to be our next state senator. While I can’t speak for you, I know I don’t want to be represented by a senator who is literally incapable of fulfilling his duties to his constituents. I am voting for senator Simon Sefzik who is laser focused on serving you and working to a better future.

Dave Esser



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