With the recent federal government shutdown and partisan gridlock taking priority over doing the people’s work, Snohomish County elected officials continue to work together on a productive and bipartisan basis. In this month’s column, I will highlight some of the good work being achieved in Snohomish County as a result of the collective goal of bipartisanship and quality governance.

Unlike issues at the federal level, many of the challenges we face here at the county level do not hinge on partisan preferences. Regardless of political affiliation, quality roads, public safety, and land use are important to our constituents in Snohomish County. These are only a few of the many responsibilities of county government that we work on every day at the Snohomish County Council.

Due to the nature of these local issues, we make an effort to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done on your behalf. Local government is closer to the people and, as a result, local officials have the ability to communicate our ideas and priorities more effectively without a partisan lens.

One example of this is how we have approached the County’s operating budget over the past two years. Republicans and Democrats on the County Council and in the Executive’s office have been able to work together to pass balanced budgets with no increase to the general property tax levy. At the same time, we have prioritized essential services such as public safety. We have also been able to implement sustainable fiscal policies to prepare for the next economic downturn. These budgets have been passed with support from both sides of the aisle and the end result is more effective government doing the people’s work.

This willingness to work together also led to a bipartisan leadership team for 2019. I was elected Vice-Chair of the County Council at our first meeting of the year and will be serving with Councilman Terry Ryan, a Democrat, who was elected Chair. For the first time in over a decade, our leadership team represents council members from both parties and shows a commitment to our shared goals of fiscal responsibility, ensuring public safety, and providing quality service to our residents.

Many controversial issues have received bi-partisan support at the local level, including our ban on heroin injection sites in Snohomish County. While other local governments have been bogged down by the politicization of this issue, Snohomish County took a bold step in banning these harmful facilities on a bipartisan basis.

At Snohomish County government, we have built productive working relationships with each other and other elected officials, community leaders, and our constituents. This has allowed us to work as a united front to accomplish the important job that our constituents have trusted us with. Elected officials at the state and federal level could take a lesson from local governments and get to work on behalf of the people. My fellow council members and I are committed to continuing our bipartisan approach to governance on the Snohomish County Council.

Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at 425-388-3494.

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