Governor Jay Inslee paid a visit to our East Whatcom Regional Resource Center (EWRRC) on Tuesday, September 12th to hear about early learning, sustainability, and food insecurity.  

Gov. Inslee visited the center’s preschool facility and learned from childhood experts about the needs of preschool providers. Jessica Bee, manager of the EWRRC, led the tour, describing the host of services that Opportunity Council and our partner organizations bring to East Whatcom communities. Dr. Lisa Tsuchiya, Assistant Director of Preschool Services for Opportunity Council, spoke to the visiting group including Gov. Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee about funding needs for the center.  

Dr. Tsuchiya and Ferndale Superintendent Kristi Dominguez explained the difficulties facing early learning providers, like the importance of high-quality tuition-free education and affordable care for families. More funding for the center would help give staff the training and wages that they need to succeed, Dr. Tsuchiya said. 

The group also toured Foothills Food Bank, which operates from a building on the campus that Opportunity Council developed in 2019. A representative from Western Solar was on hand to explain a community solar project we installed recently with funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce. 

The governor visited the EWRRC’s electric school bus, a step toward combating climate change that ensures that all early learners can access transportation to school. This stop on his tour of ‘green’ energy use throughout Whatcom County highlighted the impact of our climate change work. 

Further showing the impact of our work in East Whatcom, Cascadia Daily and the Bellingham Herald wrote on the significance of the issues covered in Gov. Inslee’s visit. 

Three people stand around a woman who stands in front of a fence to speak as she gestures to punctuate her words.

Dr. Lisa Tsuchiya, Assistant Director of Preschool Services for Opportunity Council, speaks during the governor’s visit to the EWRRC.