Commissioner Ron Wesen, Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt and I are all grateful to our three skilled and supportive state legislative delegations in Olympia.
In a time of political polarization, the legislators from the 10th, 39th and 40th districts work across the aisle in the best interest of our community. During the 2019 legislative session, they successfully addressed local priorities, securing over $9 million in state funding for three key projects.
The commissioners’ major concern during the last session was public safety. Despite local investment of over $4 million for updates to the region’s emergency communications system, 55 percent of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office response area lacked basic radio coverage. Thanks to the hard work of the Skagit County delegation, led by Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor (10th LD), and Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes (40th LD), the county obtained $1 million to improve the outdated system.
Skagit County is actively working to address behavioral health issues. During the 2019 session, Skagit County and the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization submitted a funding request to construct an Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) facility in Sedro-Woolley. Led by Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton (10th LD), Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan (39th LD), and Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley (39th LD), the delegation was successful in securing $6.6 million in the state capital budget to build the E&T.
Transportation remains a major priority as we work to build an all-electric ferry for Guemes Island. With Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Samish Island (40th LD), as a champion, the Legislature approved $1.5 million in funding for the ferry’s onshore charging facility.
We are fortunate to be represented by legislators who do what is right for Skagit County. My fellow commissioners and I look forward to working with our delegation to better our community during the 2020 session.
– Commissioner Lisa Janicki is chair of the Skagit County Board of Commissioners.