Barbara Brenner is currently serving her sixth term on the Whatcom County Council. Her first term began January 1992. In 2015, Councilmember Brenner is Chair of the Council's Public Works, Health, and Safety Committee and is a member of the Planning and Development Committee. In addition, she is appointed to several community boards and committees, including the Intergovernmental Tribal Relations Committee, Integrated Behavioral Health Advisory Board, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and Public Defense Advisory Committee.
USA Weekend Magazine described Barbara Brenner as, "...the hero next door...sacrifices long-term for the common good...thinks of others constantly...creative, energetic, independent-minded...takes big risks to make things better." She is persistent, investigative, responsive, and compassionate to the citizens of Whatcom County.
Barbara has a long history of working with local farmers to support Whatcom County’s economy and local jobs. The Bellingham Herald named her the Health and Social Services Newsmaker of the Year.
Barbara spearheaded efforts to stop hundreds of tons a day of imported infectious waste to a local incinerator that made the workers sick, improve phone service, curb unfair cable practices, reform regressive property taxes, create affordable housing, promote and provide incentives for low impact development, and especially to stand up for individuals who need a voice. She works tirelessly to protect those who are generally ignored by government, as well as all other residents.
“Everyone is important to me! I have never taken endorsements and owe no favors. I have always limited my campaign spending. My service on the County Council is about trust, not confusing the residents with political double-speak.”
Barbara has participated in many community activities since 1983, including being a certified erosion control lead, master gardener, and master composter/master recycler.
She has served as a member of the Washington State Farm Forestry Association, Sean Humphries Hospice House, Black Mountain Forestry Center, Rome Grange, and Northwest Women's Hall of Fame Steering Committee. She is the Whatcom County Mental Health Advisory Board’s longest sitting Board member.
Her volunteer work includes being a guest panelist at the Leadership America Forum, Trees for Streams Program participant; Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer, Hovander House docent, and many more activities. Her home and property were showcased on the Re-Store Tour of Recycled Homes and Sustainable Connections Tour of Low Impact Development.
Barbara is passionately determined to protect people and the public purse. She researches details obsessively and has a strong instinct regarding right and wrong. Sometimes popular issues that may seem obvious turn out to be inefficient, wasteful, and/or unnecessary when examined below the surface. She believes the small details that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on.
Barbara is a good fit for the Whatcom County Council because she examines everything closely and always shares her findings. She closed her business, Heritage Furniture Refinishing, to focus on county issues more than full time. She is an excellent investigator and student. She makes her decisions carefully after listening to and researching all points of view. She does not vote her taste, but is open-minded about all perspectives. She believes in nurturing a diverse community.
Barbara’s husband, Ed Morris, is a pilot. They have been together for 30 years. Their son, Wesley Brenner, is a deputy prosecuting attorney in another county. Their other son, Collin Morris graduated in civil engineering last year and is working for a marine engineering company in Washington State.