Energy, Economics and Electoral Politics

Sharon Shewmake

Washington State Representative (42nd District); Associate Professor, WWU

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

(Archived video recording of this presentation)

There are no shortage of policy proposals and carefully constructed models to transform our energy system in response to the climate crisis. The problem has been turning these policies into law, even when the American public has been supportive of environmental protection. Sharon Shewmake talks about what she has learned working on policy in academia and what are the challenges faced in Olympia.

Sharon Shewmake

42nd-District State Rep. Sharon Shewmake (“shew-maik”) is a professor of environmental economics, urban economics, and energy policy at Western Washington University in Bellingham, and a children’s book author, spouse, and mother of two young boys. She completed Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Environmental Science and Policy at Duke University, and continued her education at the University of California at Davis, earning her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Before moving to Washington, Sharon taught environmental economics, econometrics, labor economics, and conservation policy at UC-Davis and Vanderbilt University, and in Botswana (through the Experiment in International Living). These areas of academic focus dovetail nicely with her appointments to the House Transportation Committee and the Environment & Energy Committee, and her position as vice chair of the House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources — key concerns for Whatcom County and the entire state.  She is also vice chair of the House Children, Youth, and Families One Table — a round-table that regularly brings state legislators together with advocacy and stakeholder organizations to facilitate targeted conversation about bills that are being drafted or considered by the Legislature.

Sharon is a member of Bellingham’s Lettered Streets Neighborhood Association, a union member, a faculty advisor for Western Washington University’s Women in Economics and Finance Club, and a member of Whatcom County Climate Change Impacts Committee, the Riveter’s Collective, Walk Bike Bus Bellingham, and the Washington State Adult Soccer Association.

More Information

The Huxley Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

Location & Time

Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


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