Christine Grant for PUD Logo

I trust Christine. She knows this stuff well – she’s been working with utilities for over twelve years and helped secure $25 million in competitive grant funding for clean energy jobs.  Do yourself a favor and vote for her.

My Vision for Our PUD

Better services for a better Whatcom County

Christine Grant ProfilePublic Utility Districts throughout the state are innovating to serve their communities through cheaper and cleaner power, responsible water stewardship, and widespread access to affordable high speed internet.

But here in Whatcom county, our PUD has fallen decades behind. This must  change .

Common to every successful public utility I’ve worked with is a commitment to evolve.  Water, electricity, and fast, affordable internet are building blocks for economic success.

I am an industry expert and passionate about improving these services for our community.  Please join me for a better Whatcom County PUD.

 Because our PUD  matters .

A Public Utility District for Whatcom County

Christine is committed to affordable, fast internet infrastructure across Whatcom: unlike other PUDs, ours hasn’t built broadband infrastructure and has missed millions of dollars in grant opportunities. We can do better.

Our internet infrastructure in most of Whatcom County is outdated. Much of the rest of the world (and many other parts of WA State) have fiber optic internet infrastructure. We have almost no fiber in Whatcom County—but the average household’s bandwidth needs are doubling each year. PUDs can build open-access fiber optic internet infrastructure—which they lease to internet service providers (ISPs).

Other PUDs in Washington started building broadband infrastructure twenty years ago. Fifteen PUDs now benefit their communities with faster internet access at a lower cost. Unfortunately, the Whatcom PUD took no meaningful action on broadband for almost 20 years. Our PUD has developed a plan with the Port, but hasn’t built any actual broadband infrastructure for the public and has no plan for last-mile services.

Christine’s top priority for the PUD will be expanding broadband access across Whatcom County. Fiber optic internet infrastructure is widely considered to be a “future-proof” investment due to the nearly unlimited bandwidth offered by fiber connections. Fiber “backbones” are not enough.

Christine supports building open-access fiber meaning it will be leased to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), to promote competition to keep costs low and prevent monopolies. The internet should no longer be considered a luxury. It should be seen as more of an essential utility—although not fully public.

Christine will deploy open access last-mile fiber optic internet infrastructure countywide using readily available up-front financing options without levying new taxes, such as state and federal grants, local utility districts (LUDs), community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and patient capital sources.

Reliable, high-speed broadband internet is critical to attracting jobs and industries while making sure kids have the education they need to succeed. She is the only candidate endorsed by our teachers, the Washington Education Association, because teachers and kids need reliable, fast internet.

Christine has spent her career working with utilities and has the experience needed to move forward on this critical infrastructure county-wide.

To learn more, watch Christine’s event on broadband with Christopher Mitchell, Director of Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Ferndale Mayor Greg Hansen and Bellingham City Council-member Hannah Stone.

Christine will use her background in finance to help attract clean energy jobs to Whatcom that provide family-wages and reduce pollution.

Christine has helped her clients secure $25 million in competitive grants for clean energy and energy jobs programs. She also has a background working with community development financial institutions to leverage grant dollars to maximize benefits to communities using tools like on-bill financing. Christine will bring these valuable skills to our PUD as our community focuses on funding infrastructure and economic revitalization.

Major transformations are underway with respect to our energy system. By state mandate, electricity must be carbon-free in Washington State by 2045 . And, BP recently announced a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Transforming our energy system will be a major challenge—as well as an opportunity. The PUD—as an energy utility with the mission of maximizing benefits to the people of Whatcom County—is well positioned to play a role in this transition. The combination of the PUD’s access to cheap, clean electricity—in addition to new fiber optic internet infrastructure—can help attract new jobs and industry to Whatcom County.

Our PUD is the largest processor of water in the County—moving about 17 million gallons of water per day. Christine supports a feasibility study determining how much electricity could be generated from installing turbines in PUD water and outflow pipes. Turning piped water into electricity is a way to leverage existing PUD infrastructure into a potential new revenue stream—while generating local hydropower that doesn’t harm ecosystems.

Christine will balance the water needs of residents, industry, farms, and fish. She will listen to everyone and work to keep services affordable and predictable.

Lack of certainty related to water rights is a major challenge in Whatcom County. The PUD needs to do more to help the farming community—while also making sure all water users are playing by the same rules. Christine will insist that every grant/financing opportunity to help expand PUD irrigation infrastructure to our farming community is explored and, if there is a fit, pursued.

Christine does not support levying taxes when there are so many other vehicles to finance infrastructure—especially broadband—that our county needs.

It’s extremely disappointing that in her opponent’s time on the Whatcom PUD, they have missed out on millions of dollars of grants that other Washington PUDs have won to build broadband infrastructure over the past two decades.

Grants, local utility districts and patient capital partners are all ways to finance smart investments that pay for themselves over time without additional taxes.

Internet

Equitable access to fast, affordable internet

Unlike other PUDs statewide, our PUD hasn't made meaningful progress on broadband.

Christine is committed to affordable, fast internet across Whatcom. Our economy and kids' education are at stake.

Power

Clean & affordable
electricity

Christine will use her expertise in clean energy finance to create family-wage jobs and advance climate goals.

Christine is endorsed by Washington Conservation Voters and labor unions such as LiUNA and IBEW.

Water

Respectful & responsible stewardship

Christine will balance the water needs of residents, industry, farms, and fish.

Christine will listen to everyone, and base decisions on thoughtful analysis.

About Christine

Experienced Utilities Expert

Twelve years experience consulting for electric cooperatives, utilities, and government agencies including National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inland Power and Light, Columbia River PUD, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Port of Seattle, American Farmland Trust. Secured $25 million in competitive grant funding for clean energy and energy jobs in Washington State.

Committed to High-Speed Internet

Christine knows first-hand how important reliable, affordable, fast internet is for our students, businesses, and well-being. Christine will use her utility finance expertise to structure the financing and win grants to build this critical infrastructure across Whatcom.

Educator and Community Member

Christine teaches energy policy with the Institute for Energy Studies at Western Washington University. She lives in Bellingham with her husband and daughter, who is often seen around town in her blue cargo bike.

Christine Grant

Grant is known for her thoughtful analysis of policy issues, and has spent her career working with utilities, PUDs and rural electric cooperatives across the country […] She seeks an expanded role for the PUD in all of its current (though mostly dormant) areas of activity.

My Story

Three generations of my family have called Whatcom County home. In the 1970s my parents moved to a farm house just outside of Deming. My dad—a recently returned Vietnam veteran—and my mom both enrolled at Western Washington University as young parents. My dad built houses as part of a construction crew in the summers to make ends meet. My mom taught science classes at Acme Elementary. 

I attended Wellesley College where I earned a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies with an Economics and Policy concentration. I’ve spent most of my career advising utilities and working on energy and resource conservation policy. I also teach energy policy with Western Washington University’s Institute for Energy Studies. I’m a mom and live with my husband and daughter in Bellingham.

Endorsements

Organizations

Washington Laborer's Union Local 292
Northwest Washington Central Labor Council
IBEW 77 Logo
International Brotherhood of Electroical Workers, Local 77

State House and Senate

Mayors and County Executive

County Council

City Council

Other Elected Officials

Business Community

John Bosche

President and Principal Engineer, ArcVera Renewables

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Get Involved

Tell us your interests and I'll provide details on how you can help.

CONTACT

I’m having conversations with people all across the county about how our PUD can support families and businesses while protecting our climate and environment.

I’d love to hear from you.

Paid for by Christine Grant for PUD

1050 Larrabee Ave Suite 104 PMB 382
Bellingham, WA 98225

Logo Christine Grant for Whatcom Public Utility District