Representatives from Skagit County and its neighbors held the first meeting Thursday of a new regional board aimed at intercounty collaboration.

The group, called SWISS, is composed of leadership from Snohomish, Whatcom, Island, Skagit and San Juan counties.

In opening the meeting, Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring said this group will be devoted to tackling issues “that don’t stop at county borders,” including transportation, housing and the opioid epidemic.

With the state legislative session approaching, Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki said representatives from the counties should develop policy proposals sooner rather than later.

The first meeting was largely devoted to organization and planning. Members selected subsets of the group to focus on writing bylaws and start working on proposals for the Legislature.

Josh Weiss, who lobbies on behalf of Skagit and other counties as part of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs, is donating his time to get the project off the ground, according to the meeting agenda.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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