Skagit County is no different than the rest of the nation in its divided views of this country’s present condition and future direction. With the election over, the Skagit Valley Herald asked various people throughout the county to look ahead to next year and offer their thoughts on what Donald Trump should take action on in the first 100 days of his presidency.
Here are some of their responses:
When Trump takes office, Reinard of Burlington hopes to see him work on replacing Obamacare with better health care policies, build up the military and restore the economy.
He said he believes Trump has plans to make that happen, but kept them close to the vest during his campaign.
“People said ‘Those Republicans don’t have plans,’ but they do have plans and those will be brought forth,” Reinard said.
Houppermans was demonstrating Sunday on the corner of Commercial Avenue and 12th Street in Anacortes on the side of the street where protesters often gather to wave peace flags and focus on environmental issues.
Houppermans said he is worried about Trump’s stance on coal and said he wants Trump to acknowledge the contentious issues in North Dakota where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is protesting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from going beneath the tribe’s only drinking water source — the Missouri River.
He also wants Trump to stop the militarization of police and to focus on trade.
“I actually want him to make good on renegotiating NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” Houppermans said.
Andy and Mary Stevens
On another street corner in Anacortes, Andy and Mary Stevens showed up as they do every Sunday, displaying the American flag and urging support of the country’s military.
The Stevenses were vocal Trump supporters throughout the campaign.
“I’d like to see him do what he’s promised to do — make our country great again, No. 1. He can do that by including all of the people and making the rules apply to all,” Andy Stevens said.
“No. 2 would be to stabilize the economy of this nation. We cannot continue on the path we’re on. We’re bankrupt, and we’re going to continue to bankrupt this country at the rate we’re going.”
Specifically, Andy Stevens would like to see the United States stop sending money to countries that “spit on our flag and spit on our ethics.”
He also wants Trump “to defeat ISIS worldwide and put a stop to this terrorism.”
Mary Stevens said she wants to see a priority in cutting the debt across the board except Veterans Affairs and mental health. She would also like to a see more focus on border security.
“There’s so much wrong. Drain the swamp — not of the people who are there, but their policies and their recklessness — and having to add so much pork to bills so they can get re-elected. They’ve got to cut that out because that’s why the people have revolted. They decided too much, too much.”
Estrada, property manager at the Housing Authority of Skagit County, said he first wants Trump to start mending the divide in the country after a bitter election cycle.
“He needs to bring the people together because we are in a big division right now,” Estrada said. “Regardless of religion or where you come from, treat people with dignity and respect.”
The second thing Estrada would like to see is Trump recognize the U.S. as an immigrant nation.
Estrada said he’s also interested to see how Trump fills out his staff.
“At this point, we don’t know a lot about his key positions from different agencies,” Estrada said.
Knudsen of Mount Vernon said Trump should get rid of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Of the election, Knudsen said it was a surprise. “But he’s the president now, so that’s the way it goes.”
“I would like him to get himself some competent, intelligent advisers and listen to them,” said Darvill of Mount Vernon.
Bromet, a Marine Corps veteran from Rockport known as “Peace Wizard,” said he wants Trump to rein in the military and put a stop to wars.
“There are too many wars overseas,” he said.
Bonafe, who works at Pacioni’s Market in Mount Vernon, said he’d like to see Trump start his presidency by building trust, unifying people and giving people hope.
“Right now I think there is a lot of despair,” Bonafe said. “There is a divide in the country.”
“Think rationally and act rationally. That’s what I’d like him to do, but I don’t think there’s much chance of that,” said Pellet of Guemes Island.
Pellett said he would like to see Trump speak out on health care and help ensure that Obamacare continues, but with some improvements.
George Rucker Sr. and George Rucker Jr.
The Ruckers were visiting Washington Park in Anacortes on Friday with 7-year-old George Rucker III in tow.
Rucker Sr. said the first thing he wanted Trump to do was assume the office of the president “with dignity.”
“The second thing I want him to do is stifle all of this hateful rhetoric that’s existed on both sides of the argument. Enough is enough. The people are tired of it.”
He said he hopes Trump will be able to get things accomplished in office to keep the government moving forward.
“Donald Trump will be our next president, and we have to do what we have to do to make his four years in the office of the president successful,” Rucker said. “And stop with all the hate and all the protests. It’s not the American way.”
Rucker Jr. said the first thing he wants Trump to focus on is the crisis in Syria.
“And refugees being refugees altogether in the world,” he said. “And do something about Mexico. There’s no reason we should be building a wall when we can build a road.”
“I don’t want to see him do anything,” said Sherman, who works at the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon. “Everything he wants to do hurts minorities, women, black people, the LGBTQ community and people who depend on (Obamacare). I don’t want him to do anything. I want him to leave office.”
Nancy and Alan Marx
Nancy Marx of Shoreline said she worries for the students at the community college where she works.
“I have students who are insulting their professors because they’re black professors ...,” she said. “I have students who wear hijabs who are afraid to come to class because ‘Is it safe to wear hijabs?’”
For those reasons, she said unifying the people is the most important thing.
“I really hope that when Trump becomes president he really focuses on helping us reconcile as a nation,” she said. “Helping us come together so that all of us can feel safe here and that we belong and that we have a role in this country.”
Her husband Alan Marx said the rhetoric needs to stop because there is work to be done.
“The obvious things Trump needs to work on are things like the economy, job promotion, fixing the wealth gap, income gap,” he said. “But perhaps the most important thing is getting us to be one United States as opposed to multiple divided states. We are supposed to be the United States of America.”
García-Pabón, a Latino community studies and outreach professor at the Washington State University Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center, said he hasn’t given much thought to what he hopes President-Elect Trump will accomplish in his first 100 days in office.
“He made a lot of promises that were incendiary,” García-Pabón said. “But when you are actually in the White House, it’s a lot different.”
He said because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, a joke about the election process rings truer than ever this year.
“People and kids ask why bad things happen to good people,” he said. “The answer is: the electoral college.”