This year has been about igniting change to tackle Washington’s most pressing environmental challenges. We’re building momentum for clean water as our Puget Sound team connects with decision makers across boundaries and sectors to chart our course for healthier waterways. And as we work toward our bold goal of transitioning one million acres of forestland to sustainable management, we can feel the momentum building as well. Our innovative project on the Olympic Peninsula at the Chimacum Community Forest is ensuring our forests work for our economy and our environment.

As we reflect on our progress over the last fifty years, we’re also realizing the potential we have to power our future. Together, we defeated the nation’s largest proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, WA. And now we’re taking that energy of saying no to the fossil fuels of the past into saying yes to the equitable, clean energy solutions of the future by putting Initiative 1631 on the ballot in November. In order to accomplish all of this, we need strong, innovative leaders throughout our organization – from staff to volunteers to the board. People power drives environmental progress.

That’s why I am happy to introduce WEC’s next Board Chair, Julie Colehour. Julie is the co-founder of the communications firm C+C, a public relations and social marketing firm that focuses on environmental and sustainability issues for a variety of public and private sector clients. Julie is a Seattle-area native who grew up hiking, skiing, and kayaking in our beautiful backyard.

For the past seven years, Julie has served on the board of Washington Conservation Voters. During that time, we’ve deepened the partnership between WEC and WCV to use both organizations’ strengths, and we’ve further aligned the two boards to better support our strategic collaboration. Julie also serves as the chair of the WCV board. We know that in order to make environmental progress we not only need smart policy, we also need effective leaders in office making decisions that protect our state.

As we round out WEC’s 50th Anniversary year, we’ve reflected on five decades of vital work. Today I am inspired by our potential to protect, restore, and sustain Washington’s environment for all – for the next 50. We are grateful to have Julie’s leadership and a strong Board alongside her to help us reach that vision.