October 26, 2022, Online: Child Care in Whatcom County


Panelists will explore the need for early learning programs, childcare, and support for vulnerable children and the ways that Proposition 2022-5 Children’s Initiative Levy Lid Lift (also known as the Healthy Children’s Fund) is intended to meet these needs.  We’ll consider the business impacts of this levy (and of a workforce impacted by access to child care) as well as any challenges or limitations to the proposal so that you can be an informed voter on election day.


Misty Flowers describes herself as “a single mom who had my daycare shut down and I have struggled to find relative, affordable childcare that fits my family.”

Guy Occhiogrosso has been a chamber leader in Whatcom County since 2006 and has proudly served the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2014. As President/CEO of this organization, he is responsible for the overall management and direction of the organization and its staff. He also advocates for Chamber members and serves as a community convener — someone who facilitates and engages in conversations about policies that impact the economic health of our region.

Emily O’Connor  has served as Executive Director of Lydia Place, a non-profit serving families with children experiencing homelessness, since 2012. In her tenure at Lydia Place Emily has focused on engaging the community in creative partnerships that allow for innovative and flexible solutions to the challenges individuals and families face. It is her hope that together, we can create a Whatcom County where families of all incomes can thrive. Emily has lived in Whatcom County since she was 17 and earned her undergraduate degrees from Western before completing a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. She is the mother of three young kids and, like the rest of us, feels privileged to call the PNW home.

Laurie Williams is a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 15 that live here in Whatcom county , we moved here in 1989 seeking a better opportunity for our family, I was a stay at home Mom who worked nights or weekends and also had a small cleaning business to help provide for my family which allowed me to be home with my children when needed. I or other family members helped to provided child care for my grandchildren while there parents worked or attended college.