Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring, left, and Jared Mead, speaking, take turns moderating a panel including Tulip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Stanwood Mayor Sid Roberts and Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell during the Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring, left, and Jared Mead, speaking, take turns moderating a panel including Tulip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Stanwood Mayor Sid Roberts and Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell during the Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

County Council members launch bipartisan ‘Building Bridges’ nonprofit

Jared Mead, a Democrat, and Nate Nehring, a Republican, hosted an event attended by 100 people this week in Everett.

EVERETT — A new Snohomish County nonprofit is the “next step” for two Snohomish County Council members who wants to bridge partisan gaps.

Council members Jared Mead and Nate Nehring announced the plan at the end of a meeting Monday advocating for bipartisanship to over 100 attendees at the WSU Everett campus.

The event included keynote speeches from state Lt. Gov. Denny Heck and former Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler. Attendees were also asked to take a pledge that begins: “It is the duty of all people who participate in political dialogue to do so in good faith and with civility.”

The nonprofit will be called Building Bridges and focus on youth. Mead and Nehring said they have met with 25 schools in Snohomish County to promote better conversations between those on opposite ends of the political spectrum. They have also held public meetings with local social organizations.

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring, left, speaks alongside Councilmember Jared Mead during the pair’s Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring, left, speaks alongside Councilmember Jared Mead during the pair’s Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

“The nonprofit is something we’re going to use, too, as a vehicle to help us to continue to go into schools to talk with youth, college level and high school level to and help them engage with things like social media, things like our current political system, help them have difficult conversations, and practice and teach the tools for those conversations,” Mead said at the event.

Nehring added: “We’ve always wondered what the next step was.”

Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin and two local mayors — Lynnwood’s Christine Frizzell and Stanwood’s Sid Roberts — also answered questions on a panel moderated by Mead and Nehring.

Roberts recalled a time when he was knocking on doors for his mayoral campaign, and someone asked him: “What do you think about abortion?”

“Well,” he answered, “we do water and sewer.”

Conversations focused on political leaders explaining how partisanship has hampered their jobs. The event also touched on better ways to communicate with one another about politics across party lines.

“We don’t have to hate each other just because we disagree,” Heck said.

Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring and Jared Mead wait in the wings and chat during their Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring and Jared Mead wait in the wings and chat during their Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Washington State University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Herrera-Beutler spoke about her time in Congress and her experience with bipartisan efforts to pass legislation. She also said the whole effort is not asking people to take centrist positions.

“You can have ardent and passionate beliefs that put you squarely in the middle of where your political ideology is, it all comes down to how you treat people,” Herrera-Beutler said. “And how you treat people with whom you disagree.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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