Painting a picture of the future

POULSBO — Poulsbo City Councilwoman Connie Lord loves to paint. And though the former art teacher and Northwest College of Art graduate no longer runs her own gallery, she still likes to pick up a brush now and then. But Lord’s hands will soon be busy with campaign pamphlets, not paint, as her second four-year term on city council comes to an end and elections approach this fall.

First elected to the council in 1998, Lord said it was her hands-on experience as a land use clerk and deputy city clerk in Winslow that prepared her to take on the challenge.

“I was observing how the city was governed, and there were some issues I was interested in,” she said. “There was some stuff I wasn’t happy with. I understood the process and it didn’t seem like the process was going right. I thought I could help out.”

Now rounding out her second term, Lord said she’s learned trust and respect are the keys to successfully getting the work done.

“What we’ve been elected to do is a job,” she said. “It’s difficult enough when there are issues that divide people, but if members of a council aren’t respecting one another, it’s like putting gasoline on a fire.”

Lord said she looks forward to tackling some of the city’s major projects, such as Urban Growth Areas and Project Poulsbo, a comprehensive strategy to coordinate council projects and citizen opinions. Allowing for meaningful expansion while protecting the environment as much as possible is a balancing act and issue close to her heart, she said.

“I’m a Washington girl,” she said. “I’ve grown up with a love of our state, and I’m saddened by what’s happened in places like Mercer Island.”

Aside from environmental issues, Lord said she also hopes to expand her efforts in public art, and is currently working on both a city art committee for local artists and One Percent for the Arts, a plan that sets aside 1 percent of funds from major developments to be used for city art displays. She also would like to pair the Poulsbo City Council with North Kitsap High School in a program that would allow students to become more knowledgeable about city government.

Despite the difficult issues facing the city, Lord said she wants to stick around to see them through.

“I’m honored to be a part of this transition between the future and the way things used to be,” she said. “These are growing pains...but it’s good to know you don’t have to carry the load yourself. On the council, I’m one of seven, and we’re seven of 7,500. I worry about things and can get spun up on issues, but I always come back to that.”

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