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Episode hosted by: Ken Harvey, Susan Hempstead

A podcast from Sno-Isle Libraries for lifelong learners with inquiring minds.

Episode 45: Serving community with Nate Nehring and Sue Norman

Chapter 1 – Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring

Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring meets a group of first-graders at the Lakewood-Smokey Point Library.

Nate Nehring may look young for a Snohomish County Council member, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot of experience.

Born and raised in Marysville, Nehring was appointed to an open seat on the county council in 2017 at age 21. He is also the son of Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

“I remember going out and doorbelling for him,” Nehring says of his father, who was first elected mayor in 2010. Before that, Jon Nehring served as a Marysville City Council member for eight years so service to the community through local politics has swirled around Nate Nehring for most of his life.

Before his appointment, Nate Nehring says, “I was asked if I’d follow in his footsteps. I said, ‘No don’t think so because of divisiveness.’”

If not through politics, Nehring says his father’s lesson of service was not lost on him: “I got into education.” A graduate of Western Washington University, Nehring came back home for a job as a middle school teacher with the Marysville School District.

But local governance continued to be a draw. Nehring married and he and his wife moved to Stanwood where he was appointed to the city’s planning commission.

“I highly encourage anyone with an interest to look at the opportunities in their community,” Nehring says. “They are always looking for people to volunteer.”

Nehring says the issues he saw on the Stanwood Planning Commission are similar to the one he’s seeing representing the residents of county council District 1, which includes most of north Snohomish County.

“The general issues are around growth,” Nehring says. “We will be looking at those for the foreseeable future.”

He says one of the main themes for the north part of the county is jobs. “We’ve been lacking is job opportunities and a lot of people are traveling for jobs,” Nehring says. “We need more jobs in north Snohomish County so people can live and work there.”

The other big issues, he says, revolve around the opioid crisis, homelessness and mental health. He points to a collaborative program with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that pairs a deputy and a social worker as an innovative approach that is making a difference.

“We started with a goal of getting 25 people in the program and so far we’ve had 70 people go through treatment,” he says.

Chapter links

Chapter length: 46:33

Chapter 2 – Spotlight on Sue Norman

If you like libraries and live on Whidbey Island, there’s a decent chance you’ve run into Sue Norman.

Or something she has helped make happen.

“I’ve lived on the island for 29 years and been active with the Friends of the Oak Harbor Library for 25 years,” Norman says.

Norman says her connection to libraries began at an early age. “Mom was a school teacher and my father was a newspaper reporter and then editor,” she says. “I’m proud to say we were the last family on our block to have a TV.”

After moving to Oak Harbor to open a business, Norman says she kept thinking she wanted to get involved with the library in some way. “I went to a Friends meeting and got roped in pretty quickly,” she says.

Norman hasn’t limited her volunteer time to the Oak Harbor Library friends group. “There’s the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture series and Whidbey Reads,” Norman says.

Norman says she’s been asked why the focus on libraries.

“I guess because I have such a reading habit, I could never afford to buy them all,” Norman says.

Chapter Links

Chapter length: 3:46

Episode length: 57:41

Episode Hosts

Ken Harvey Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV.

Susan Hempstead Susan Hempstead is Assistant Director of Strategic Relations for Sno-Isle Libraries. Susan joined Sno-Isle Libraries in 2015 bringing 15 years of customer, community and government relations experience.

Episode Sponsors

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations.