The Associated Students will be hosting their second annual local lobby day to discuss key issues affecting the Bellingham community. The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 at the Bellingham City Hall. Students registered for the event will meet with local elected officials including the mayor, City Council members, County Council members, the city planning and community development director, the county executive and the county sheriff.
“Student voices are often not represented well in city and county politics. And there are a lot of laws and decisions that are made at the local level that really affect us and our entire community.”
Galen Herz, AS local issues coordinatorThe issues to be discussed include housing affordability and livability; equity and inclusiveness; public safety and criminal justice; and voting accessibility, according to the lobby agenda. AS local issues coordinator Galen Herz has a primary organizing role. Herz said the first local lobby day in 2016 had around 20 students in attendance. This year, attendance has reached the registration cap with over 40 students, Herz said. “Student voices are often not represented well in city and county politics. And there are a lot of laws and decisions that are made at the local level that really affect us and our entire community,” Herz said. He said local lobby day is important because student and community voices deserve to be heard. Specific reforms that the students and community members will lobby for:
- Ending mass incarceration
- Capping move-in fees and lowering application costs for housing
- Providing safer housing options (which primarily affects low-income people, people of color or first generation students)
- Environmental stewardship
- Supporting the Western Blue Group, which advocates for undocumented students