Represents: 6th Ward
Term: Jan 2022 – Dec 2025
First elected in 2009, Michael is currently the longest serving member of the Bellingham City Council. For the year 2023, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as president of the City Council, a position in which he also served in 2017. For the previous three years, Michael served as chair of the Public Works & Natural Resources Committee, and he has also chaired the Planning committee, Parks committee, and Finance committee at various times over the last decade.
Michael also represents the City of Bellingham on the governing boards of Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA, public transit), the Whatcom Council of Governments (regional transportation planning), the Whatcom County Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and the EMS Oversight Board. Michael also was elected to serve as chair of the WTA board of directors.
Among Michael’s many community activities, he has served in an ex-officio capacity on the boards of several organizations including the Mt. Baker Theatre, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, Sustainable Connections, and the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce. With an educational background in scientific research, psychology, and work experience as a paralegal, Michael brings his personal experience as an active citizen and from years of volunteer and community work in our public schools, youth programs, local non-profit organizations, and from service on city boards and commissions prior to his election to office.
He was first drawn to local government by the challenge we face to preserve our quality of life by balancing our man-made and natural environments in a way that works in the long run. Sprawl has threatened our rural areas, while mismanaged growth can have equally bad impacts on living with city limits. Protecting and restoring the Lake Whatcom reservoir is a prime example where our streets and houses threaten the quality of our drinking water and the health of the lake.
Based in part on surveys of local residents’ concerns and on his own personal values, Michael’s top priorities for the year are 1) improving housing availability and affordability, and related issues with regard to homelessness, and 2) identifying appropriate responses to climate change caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Evidence and study results show that stagnant wages and growing income inequality are national problems, and they exacerbate local housing cost burdens. Nearly one in three local households are struggling to pay for housing, despite modest incomes and decent jobs. Michael’s other priorities include long-range fiscal planning, budget transparency, tax equity, and carefully planned growth within the Downtown, the Waterfront district, and urban centers in a way that respects local character and avoids sprawling development.
He sees the city government as a key player in promoting local prosperity, through cooperative activities as well as by maintaining a focus on quality government services that enhance Bellingham’s livability.
A fifth-generation Washingtonian and recent empty-nester, Michael enjoys getting out into nature with his hiking buddies and fixing things.
210 Lottie Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: (360) 778-8212
Email All Council Members: City Council