Friday, October 12, 2012

GO DOWN AND FLIP (the ballot)

At the Carol Ronken Memorial BBQ Oct 6th Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (far right)   expressed her appreciation for Carol and Susan Ronken’s leadership of the Stanwood Democrats.
The Stanwood Democrats held a Memorial BBQ in honor of Carol Ronken at the Floyd Norgaar Cultural Center Saturday October 6th.    Carol founded the Stanwood Democrats in 2004.  Carol passed earlier this year.  We sorely miss her leadership.   Fortunately her daughter, Susan,  is continuing her mothers efforts for the Democratic Party.  

At this and other  events this Fall,  Senator Haugen has emphasized the importance of our vote not only for the governor, US congress and State senators but also local candidates like State Rep, County and PUD Commissioner.   So we had many local candidates address the crowd after the Salmon BBQ.   The candidates seeking reelection impressed me with how they work together to improve conditions in the North Sound.   Whidbey Island Commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Angie Homola worked with Transportation Committee Chair - Mary Margaret Haugen - to have Vigor Industrials subcontract the construction of the new ferries' superstructure to Nichols Brothers in South Whidbey Island.  The new ferries will replace the aging Steel Electrics operating on Puget Sound. The insourcing of State funds will allow steady work for Nichols employees and allow the company to hire 100 more workers on the Island.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen advocated for the reelection of Mike Kreidler for insurance Commission.  Because of Kreidler’s foresight Washington State is ahead of other States in setting up health insurance exchanges so WA citizens can benefit from the Affordable Care Act passed by the US legislature in 2010.   In case you are worried about your health insurance rates going up, Commission Kreidler has proposed legislation to give his staff the ability to consider revenue surpluses when approving rate increases.  So far the legislature has turned him down.  Kreidler claims: “Over the past several years, the three major health insurers in the state – all non-profits – have accumulated large surpluses while continuing to raise consumers’ health insurance premiums. The combined surplus of these companies is now more than $2.4 billion. These surpluses are in addition to the amount they are required to hold in reserves to pay future claims.” WOW!  Lt. Gov. Owens reiterated the importance of having Senator Haugen and other Democrats in office to support Commissioner Kreidler’s efforts.

Nick Petrish ( is running for District 1 Skagit County Commissioner.  Erick Teegarden is running for Snohomish PUD Commissioner.  Both candidates support the development of alternative energy sources. Petrish is excited about the Saphon Zero Blade Wind technology because it is more efficient and less expensive than current wind turbines.  Saphon is now looking for a manufacturing partner.  For this technology Petrish believes “In Skagit County we have the talent, the skilled workforce and the need”.  We all know Skagit County certainly has the wind.  Much to my surprise I learned from Candidate Eric Teegarden that the North Sound also has enough sun for solar energy.  He should know.  He has been a systems engineer designing and implementing solar, wind and geothermal projects for the major utilities in Western Washington.   He is strongly opposed to the county spending over 150 million on building a hydro-electric dam at Sunset Falls on the Skykomish River.  He believes there are other less costly, more reliable and less environmentally destructive alternatives.   Teegarden elaborates his alternative to the dam @  I asked him afterwards why the current PUD wanted the Dam instead of the newer technologies.  He answered that is was faster to install the dam.  After learning more about the possibilities for alternative energy from Candidates Petrish and Teegarden,  I was less skeptical of Gubernatorial Candidate  Jay Inslee’s optimism expressed in his campaign for an energy hi-tech future. 

Gubernatorial  Candidate Jay Inslee outlined his ideas for high tech energy industries in WA to a crowd gathered at the Swinomish Lodge near Anacortes on Sept 22. The event was sponsored by the Swinomish Tribal Community and the Skagit County Democrates.  

 When I went to hear Inslee  last month at the Swinomish Lodge near Anacortes, his major concern was ensuring that WA students would have the STEM education to met the challenging demands these new industries would bring.  To do this we need to keep faith in these possibilities and go down the ballot and flip the page to make sure we vote in the best leadership for ourselves and especially our children’s future. 


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  2. Found this interesting review of various wind technologies: