Candidate Endorsement Questionnaire
Greg Hansen – Candidate for Mayor of Ferndale
My name is Greg Hansen and I am running to be the next Mayor of Ferndale. Ferndale has been my home for fifty years, and I love this community. Four years ago, I ran for City Council because I believe government can be a force for good in peoples’ daily lives. Over the last four years I have learned a lot about our city government and the people who make Ferndale a unique community; proud, caring, hard working, thoughtful, and friendly.
These are important times for Ferndale. Our city is growing fast. Important projects are underway in our city – projects that will likely change Ferndale forever. I think this is a good thing! Now, more than ever, Ferndale deserves a choice in leadership that is authentic, humble, and collaborative.
I am Ferndale made! I am a Ferndale High School and Western graduate. I hold Bachelor degrees in Economics and Political Science as well as History and Social Studies from Western Washington University. I have also completed significant Graduate work in History at Western.
Early in my career, I was a manager at the Resort Semiahmoo and the Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club. My work at the Resort Semiahmoo included virtually every job in the restaurant industry starting as a “busser”, moving on to waiter, bartender, and eventually Food and Beverage Manager and later Director of Restaurants. My Semiahmoo experience also included numerous other hospitality related roles in hotel administration, events and catering, sales and marketing, and golf.
After almost 20 years in the hospitality industry, I joined the Business Administration faculty at Whatcom Community College as an adjunct instructor in 2006. At Whatcom, I teach Hospitality and Tourism Management and Business Administration classes, and I have been the Hospitality and Tourism Management program coordinator for the last 13 years.
I have dedicated my professional life to business management; leading, teaching, and mentoring individuals to reach their full potential. My entire life has been a preparation for this role in our community. I will bring thoughtful and engaged leadership Ferndale voters can trust. I believe that my education and experience make me uniquely qualified to lead Ferndale as its next Mayor.
Three reasons why I should be elected Mayor.
#1 – A leadership style that is inclusive, collaborative, and engaged.
When we respect and consider the diversity of opinions, identities, and backgrounds in our community, we make decisions that enable everybody to thrive. It is important that community leaders have honest and vigorous discussions where disagreements and differing opinions are a valued part of the decision making process. It is through this process that sound, reasoned, and balanced decisions are made.
As a leader, I do not seek the spotlight, but rather seek to shine the spotlight on accomplishments of others. For me, leadership is primarily about service to the organization, its mission, the individuals who make up the organization, and its constituents. A great leader is an engaged listener who asks “what do we need in this moment?” A great leader humbly shares power and provides ample opportunities for others to lead. Finally, a great leader is interested in being both transformational and transformed; both teaching and learning from those around them. Now, more than ever, Ferndale deserves a choice in leadership that is authentic, humble, and collaborative.
#2 – A Vision for downtown Ferndale
It’s no secret that Ferndale’s downtown has been struggling for years. What the City can do to encourage investment downtown has been a challenging question, one that has confounded many community leaders. I believe there are a number of factors that have contributed to downtown Ferndale’s struggles; social drivers like changing work and shopping habits and evolving demographics; Economic drivers such as industry and jobs outside our community; and Government factors such as development standards, restrictive codes, and environmental considerations. It costs a lot to start a business, to renovate an existing building, or build a new building downtown. In most cases, however, these are rules and regulations (and corresponding costs) that we as a community have asked for; cleaner water, open space, adequate roads and sidewalks, flood control and protection. I do not believe that the City should be taking steps to remove these obligations for individuals and businesses, but rather, the City should help by communicating reasonable expectations for what will be required. I also believe that looking for ways that incentivize investment in our City’s downtown core, like the recently passed Catalyst Incentives, is an example of how City government can take an active role in fostering an active and vibrant environment downtown.
The Catalyst Incentives are a very focused incentive program to encourage investment in the city’s downtown core, focusing density where infrastructure and services already exist. The city would waive all city fees and the developer would be required to build no less than 15 housing units and 5000 square feet of retail space. These incentives are designed to off-set the increased costs of development downtown. The belief is that large projects like this would have the potential to transform our city center into a vibrant and welcoming place, with restaurants, shops, and events that encourage families and residents to spend their time and dollars in Ferndale while also spurring additional non incentivized investment downtown.
#3 – Long-term and sustainable economic development.
Cherry Point industries are critical to our economy. They are a significant economic driver for our region, contributing not only jobs, but tax revenue as well as much needed charitable work for our community. Losing a major Cherry Point industry is the “doomsday scenario” for Ferndale. Losing even one of the major industries out of Cherry point would have a devastating impact. Given recent history, however, I believe our community leaders must prepare for the loss of at least one of these organizations in the future by welcoming a diverse array of industries with an eye toward emerging technology and clean energy manufacturing. Fortunately, Ferndale is much more than what’s going on at Cherry point. In Ferndale, we make all sorts of stuff: high-tech rope, some of which is on Mars (Samson Rope); artisan doors (Northstar Woodworks); prosthetic limbs (Cascade DAFO); premium, stylish kitchen cabinetry (Hertco Kitchens): even some of the best shoes on the planet (Superfeet), and that is the short list.
I want Ferndale to protect the jobs that we have but also look forward to attract industries and jobs in the modern economy. That is why I support initiatives like “Ferndale Made” which is designed to bring attention to the diverse array of industries already in Ferndale while also highlighting why others should look to our community to locate their business. I also believe our city needs to work even more closely with the Port of Bellingham’s economic development team to make sure that great jobs continue to come to Ferndale and the surrounding area.