Transition Whatcom

The Importance of the Primary Election

Transition Whatcom (TW) is an exciting grassroots project aimed at social change. I was one of the original organizers of the group and am the only member who transferred to the Transition Whatcom Operating Group (TWOG) last year. Since we started TW, we have inspired many people to make positive changes in their lives by looking seriously at the threats caused by climate change, peak oil, and economic instability. As time has passed, these threats continue to show up in significant ways.


Last fall when Warren Miller suggested each TWOG take responsibility for a specific focus, I volunteered for government relations. As I discussed TW with local elected officials who were supportive of our concerns, I began to wonder what our county might look like if the county executive was supportive as well. I started to consider running for the position, but I faltered, questioning whether it was worth the effort. Then I realized how much faster TW could impact our community if it were supported from the top, from a governmental framework, as it continued to grow and function as a grassroots movement.  I became excited about running when I realized the office of County Executive could not only support TW, but had the potential to make significant differences. We would have the political clout to move local citizens away from a consumptive, destructive lifestyle and into a more resilient local economy. Wow! Being County Executive could bring real momentum to the TW effort. The possibilities are very exciting.


The problem is that I first need to get elected. We are on the eve of the primary election and I need your help to get the vote out in my favor. So, to my friends in the TW network, please vote for me when your ballots come in the mail next week. I also hope you will tell all your friends to vote for me. Ballots are being mailed the end of this week and must be returned by Aug 16th. Please help me get out the vote.


Another easy way to help is through email. My campaign will be sending out an email flyer soon, seeking voter support. If you are willing to participate in this email push—sending my flyer to people in your address book—please send me a note at and I will see that you receive a copy of the email flyer. Finally, my campaign is currently being out-spent and I do need money for a mailer and more signs, so contributions are most welcome. You can find donation instructions on my website at If you have any campaign questions please feel free to contact me. Tom Anderson 739-1968

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Comment by David MacLeod on July 30, 2011 at 3:34pm



Thanks for your comments. It's good for everyone to know TW isn't a monolith, speaking with a single voice and only supporting one candidate.  TW as a whole does not have a process for endorsing candidates - not something we ever wanted to take on.  As individuals, we are all making up our own minds...hopefully with "Transition principles" in place. 


I can't speak for the TWOG, but TW was set up as a grassroots, bottom up organization, and I expect that will remain in place.  I don't think Tom is planning to move the Transition process into being top down, however he is acknowledging that electing good candidates that might be supportive of our work is extremely important. Ultimately, it will take robust bottom up activity that will create a climate for a more enlightened local politics that will be needed for the kind of resilient community of enduring health that we'd like to see.


 Yes, cultural diversity is needed at TW. It's been a tough nut to crack for all Transition initiatives, and will take more effort than just putting out nice platitudes and hoping for it to happen.  Like so many things, it will take time and effort.  So far we have put most of our effort into the "usual suspects" and "low hanging fruit."

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on July 29, 2011 at 10:42am

 We would have the political clout to move local citizens away from a consumptive, destructive lifestyle and into a more resilient local economy. Wow

Tom, thank you for the ongoing contributions you make to TW and your willingness to serve the community. However, the top down approach you present as a direction for Transitioning concerns me. Maybe we have different definitions on the meaning of grass roots. I'm of the opinion TW still has some work to do on maintaining the moral integrity of it's TWOG leaders with regards to the sanctity of family units. It would also seem TW has not quite come to represent the cultural diversity of Whatcom County. ( almost a thousand folks and someone's missing ). Before we begin to “move local citizens” anywhere I feel TW may need to get it’s own house in order. That being said, I do fear a County Council with Erickson and Crawford allowing backroom deals to dominate and destroy the essence and beauty of Whatcom. I therefore am supporting David Stalheim, Pete Kremen, Christina Maginnis, and Alan Black. I urge TW members to examine the qualifications of all the candidates and to please consider making your decisions on the basis of the candidates qualities and ability to win.

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