Hickman, left, Jilk

Tonya Hickman, left, and Steve Jilk.


Story updated as of Nov. 9

Challenger widens lead over Lynden School Board president

WHATCOM — In 2010, Steve Jilk was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Lynden School Board. More than a decade later, Jilk is on the verge of losing his seat.

With an estimated 99 ballots left to count, Jilk is more than 3,300 votes behind Tonya Hickman in his quest to remain president of the Lynden School Board.

As of about 4 p.m. Friday, Hickman’s lead over Jilk is 5,475 votes to 2,160 for the school board’s Position 4. A seat on the Lynden School Board is a four-year term.

With Hickman’s victory all but official, Jilk said this past weekend that he wished he could have been part of the board’s selection of a new, permanent superintendent.

Jilk also said he would miss out on “continuing to build on our changing curriculum, supporting the management of a large and growing budget and development of a plan for a new high school and additional elementary school.”

Jilk’s last official day on the Lynden School Board would be Dec. 31. 

Hickman would take over on Jan. 1. 

Any advice for the new board member?

“I would ask her to take time to listen to other board members, understanding that this is board work and not a single individual’s opportunity to get what they want unless they can convince four other board members it is the right thing,” Jilk said. “Work with, not against the superintendent, and take every opportunity to learn, learn, learn.”

Jilk also said he hopes to remain involved in community and school activities.

“Which ones, I am not sure of yet.,” he said. “I plan on volunteering in ways that are meaningful, and I want to continue to help our kids learn. There are so many additional ways to help. While being on the school board, it is almost impossible to join in some direct volunteer work in the schools, although my wife and I have done a few things. I am here to continue to do what I can.”

At press time, Hickman was not available for comment.

Laninga keeps seat on Lynden City Council

In Lynden’s only contested city for the city council, incumbent Nick Laninga is ahead of challenger Khush Brar, 4,008 votes to 1,345, for Position 5.

Laninga said it is “an honor to be elected and I do not take it lightly.”

“I thank everyone who voted in this election, not just for me but all who voted,” Laninga said. “I want to thank Khush for running. She had a true desire to serve the community of Lynden and it is apparent that she cares about Lynden.”

Running for council for the first time, Brar said that through the election process she “learned so many things along the way and met with kind-hearted people who supported me despite not having any endorsement, by just believing in me.”

Brar wished Laninga “the best in serving Lynden, in being a light that guides the decisions for this town in these challenging times.”

“You have knowledge and experience in public service, that I know will be useful to many,” she said.


In Nooksack, incumbent Mayor Marshall Judy now trails challenger Kevin Hester by 43 votes, 278-235. On election night, Judy led 133-129.

Also on election night, Dave Finet and Collin Hester were tied with 127 votes for the Position 3 seat on the city’s council. As of press time, Hester is ahead of Finet, 269-225.

Next ballot count

With a measured 48.55% voter turnout as of Wednesday, the next ballot count will be posted by the Whatcom County Auditor at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12.

However, Whatcom County Auditor’s office’s estimated figure of ballots to count only includes ballots currently in the Auditor’s office. It does not estimate ballots that have not yet been received.

According to the Whatcom County Auditor’s website, https://results.vote.wa.gov/results/20211102/whatcom, ballot signature cures and overseas ballots are not included and can be received up until the day before the Nov. 23 certification date.

Of Whatcom County’s 156,982 registered voters, 76, 221 ballots have been counted as of 4:22 p.m. Friday.

Lynden School Board Director 4

Tonya Hickman: 5,475 (71.64%)

Steve Jilk: 2,160 (28.26%)

Lynden City Council Position 5

Khush Brar: 1,345 (25.09%)

Nick Laninga: 4,008 (74.76%)

Nooksack Valley School Board Director 2

Stephen Jones 1,673 (54.3%)

Chris O’Day: 1,385 (44.95%)

Nooksack Mayor

Kevin Hester: 278 (53.98%)

Marshall Judy 235 (45.63%)

Nooksack City Council Position 3

Dave Finet: 225 (45.36%)

Collin Hester 269 (54.23%)

Nooksack City Council Position 4

Jayson Loreen: 177 (38.15%)

Ryan Steward 287 (61.21%)

Everson City Council Position 1

Michelle Beck Fox: 270 (40.24%)

Trevon Myhre: 400 (59.61%)

Everson City Council Position 2

Jennifer Lautenbach: 540 (81.94%)

Josh Ordos: 114 (17.3%)

Sumas City Council Position 1

Steven Brock: 117 (29.77%)

Todd Daniels: 272 (69.21%)

Whatcom County Council At-Large Position A

Kamal Bhachu: 33,005 (45.36%)

Barry Buchanan: 39,407 (54.16%)

Whatcom County Council District 3

Tyler Byrd: 8,060 (53.18%)

Rebecca Lewis: 7,053 (46.54%)

Port of Bellingham Commissioner District 1

John Huntley: 31,072 (43.39%)

Michael Shepard: 40,398 (56.42%)

Port of Bellingham Commissioner District 2

Ken Bell: 38,730 (53.95%) 

Kelly Krieger: 32,371 (45.09%)

Fire Protection District 4 Proposition 2021-12

(Levy Lid Lift)

Rejected: 59.06%

Fire Protection District 21 Proposition 2021-9

(Levy Lid Lift)

Rejected: 60.25%