With COVID cases surging around the country, it is worth remarking that San Juan County has one of the lowest per capita infection rates of any county in a state that has one of the lowest rates in the country. As federal leadership seems to be floundering on this issue our local government has handled it well. While the islands have a geographic isolation that has certainly helped, the county also has an older population, limited healthcare resources and an economy based on tourism, all complicating factors. There are few easy decisions for leaders in this situation. Many of the choices that reduce risk to the community’s health cause economic hardship, which often is unevenly distributed, hitting those least able to weather the storm the hardest. This unprecedented crisis calls for leaders who approach problems holistically without seeing everything through a partisan lens.
My good friend Rick Hughes has always been willing to listen to views other than his own. If you have data to support an argument, you will find a receptive ear with Rick. Personally, I have debated with him about environmental issues for years and am pleased to see him evolve into a climate warrior and strong advocate for alternative energy. Rather than tow a party line, Rick approaches decisions with an open mind; he is able to remain true to his values while crafting policy that is informed by data and the disparate views of his constituents.
Rick’s personal history also gives him a breadth of perspective. His family has a long history on Orcas and he has married into a stalwart island family, yet he grew up in the Chicago area and moved to the island as an adult. This background allows him to understand the concerns of long-time residents while still seeing the islands with the gaze and appreciation of a newcomer.
Please vote for Rick Hughes as he seeks reelection as your county councilmember.