Three Snohomish County incumbents have earned re-election: County Executive Aaron Reardon and County Council members Brian Sullivan and Stephanie Wright.
IN the midst of distracting, difficult times, Snohomish County is admirably keeping its eyes firmly on the horizon. Re-election of County Executive Aaron Reardon, and Snohomish County Council members Brian Sullivan and Stephanie Wright will maintain that focus.
Reardon is endorsed for a third term over state Rep. Mike Hope, a Republican who lives in Lake Stevens and represents the 44th District.
Voters looking for a symbol of stability can turn to Democrat Reardon’s budget for 2012. County finances are balanced for a seventh year without a general fund property-tax increase, public-safety spending is maintained, and the budget reserve tops 11 percent.
The county is adjusting to the financial realities of annexations, but there is ample money for road and traffic projects. Beyond the potholes, Reardon has convened county leaders to think long term about transportation and how it supports economic development.
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The low points for Reardon have been combative relations with council members in his own party and messy personnel issues. Two key hires have calmed the work environment.
Challenger Hope, a Seattle police officer, answers a key question with a single word. How much management experience does he have? “None.”
Eight years ago, in an open race for county executive, The Times did not endorse Reardon, but conceded he was a knowledgeable policy wonk. Hope does not come close. His meandering, circular arguments can make one dizzy.
Paine Field is an example. Reardon is working to keep the airport in top shape for Boeing’s manufacturing and sales needs, while dealing with the looming potential for expanded commercial flights. Hope supports and opposes something or other.
Reardon has kept the county ready and welcoming to economic development. He has been a staunch ally of educational efforts that support the county’s major employer.
His re-election sustains efforts to keep looking ahead. The Times endorsed Reardon in 2007, and confidently does so again.
The race for the County Council Position 2, which includes Mukilteo and Everett, is simple. Sullivan is the only credible choice. First elected in 2007, Sullivan uses his experience in local government and the Legislature to provide solid representation.
As the county prepares for a lengthy, detailed review of state land-use laws and zoning, Sullivan is all the more valuable to the council and county residents.
In sharp contrast, both candidates for council Position 3 offer strong civic résumés. The endorsement goes to incumbent Wright, who was appointed to the council in 2010. Her knowledge and background in local government from service on the Lynnwood City Council is too valuable to lose. The district covers Lynnwood, Edmonds and Woodway.
Challenger Kathy Vaughn is a three-term Snohomish County PUD commissioner, who helped guide the utility through the turmoil of the Enron scandals and related economic and environmental adjustments.
Wright, a schoolteacher-librarian, and Vaughn, who owns a mortgage company, both have skills and knowledge that complement their public service.
Wright is simply better prepared and connected to deal with regional transportation and land-use planning topics. Her combined service on regional panels and experience in local elected office earn her election to her own four-year term.