Seth Fleetwood and Satpal Sidhu, two of the three Democrat candidates in Legislative District 42 positions in the November election introduced themselves to the party’s Outreach Committee last Thursday evening, 6/6. (Joy Monjure, the third candidate was not able to attend because of commitment to her business in Everson.)
Fleetwood is no stranger to Whatcom Democrats. He won two terms in the County Council, then served in the Bellingham City Council. A lawyer, well established as a progressive he will be an easy choice over one of the most conservative in the State Senate for independents as well as liberals.
Satpal Sidhu, a surprise candidate to many, came off as a very pleasant surprise, looking nifty and speaking enthusiastly. Although he does not wear a turban, Mr. Sidhu is an active member of the Sikh temple and a leader in the community as an ambassador to outsiders.
Ruth and I came to know Satpal in 2005 when we wrote an article for the Weekly. Sikhs, who are a reformed religion in India, have produced many leaders in that country. But their temple, near Lynden, was harassed as Muslim by hooligans who knew no better in the post 9/11 period. To change opinion they organized an outreach event on Martin Luther King Day that we attended. When we proposed an article Satpal was assigned to help us.
Then he was Dean at Whatcom Technical College. Previously he had worked in the oil refining industry in Canada as well as the U.S. At the Technical College he recognized that many skilled workers in local refineries would soon be retiring. He went to Texas and brought back a curriculum that schools were using to train workers. He hired refinery supervisors as part-time adjunct professors and got management on board to guarantee interviews to graduates of the program. When Satpal left the school some 300 graduates had good jobs.
(That speaks well to leaders of District 42 who hold their meetings in the Machinist Union office in Ferndale and argue loudly for jobs versus environmentalist who oppose coal and oil trains.)
Most recently Satpal has been a leader in establishing solar systems and importing Whatcom blueberries to India – score two more with the environmentalists!