The five-member Snohomish County Council could have three newcomers after the Nov. 5 election as term limits force a changing of the guard in what’s been a Democratic stronghold.
Only one incumbent, Councilman Dave Somers, is running for re-election. Councilmen Dave Gossett and John Koster, the council’s lone Republican, have reached the limit of three consecutive terms.
Jobs, the county’s economy and even bringing farm products to the school-lunch programs are all on the candidates’ agendas.
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In Koster’s District 1, Arlington City Councilman Ken Klein, a Republican, is running against Democrat Bill Blake, a stormwater manager who lives in unincorporated Snohomish County. The district represents the cities of Stanwood, Granite Falls, Arlington and Marysville and the surrounding unincorporated area in the northern half of Snohomish County.
Klein, 34, has campaigned for making the county more friendly to businesses both small and large, while Blake, 54, has interest in water quality, the preservation of farmland and bringing local farm products into schools for lunch programs.
Blake is co-chairman of the Stillaguamish Watershed Council, a consortium of agencies devoted to maintaining a healthy watershed. He graduated from Skagit Valley College with an associate of technical arts degree in natural-resources management. He is married and a father of two, and has been endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters. He has raised close to $16,000.
Klein is vice chairman of the Snohomish Planning Commission and formerly served on the Arlington Planning Commission. He has a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in business administration and finance, works as an operations-support manager for a food-service company that provides service to Microsoft’s Redmond campus, and comes from a long line of Snohomish dairy farmers.
Klein says he is concerned about preserving farmland and opposes government restrictions on property owners. He lives in Arlington with his wife and three children.
He is endorsed by the Association of General Contractors, members of the Arlington City Council and the 39th District Republican Party. He has raised about $46,000.
Gossett’s District 4 represents the cities of Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace and Bothell. Former Mill Creek Mayor Terry Ryan, a Democrat, is running against Republican Robert Reedy.
Ryan, 56, is a real-estate broker who served on the Mill Creek City Council for 17 years, including eight as mayor. He is married, has four children and graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle. He is endorsed by the Snohomish County Labor Council, the Sierra Club and the Business Coalition for Snohomish County. He’s proud of his work on developing Mill Creek’s new Town Center, creating jobs and opportunities for new businesses and balanced budgets.
“I really care about the county,’’ he said. In Mill Creek, “I served on a plethora of committees. I love public service.”
He’s raised almost $60,000.
Reedy ran and lost to state Rep. Ruth Kagi in the 32nd Legislative District in 2012, and also has run unsuccessfully for Mountlake Terrace City Council. He has reported no campaign contributions and did not return phone calls.
In District 5, Somers, a Democrat, is running for his fourth term. He was first elected in 1997, was defeated four years later, then won in 2005 and again in 2009. After 12 years on the council, he’s now focused on transportation funding, economic development and a new courthouse.
Somers, 60, is married, lives near Monroe and has no children. He said one of the big issues facing the county is Boeing and making sure it stays at Paine Field.
“I’m working on encouraging them and attracting other aerospace companies,’’ he said.
Somers is endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters, a long list of public officials from U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen (2nd District Democrat) and Suzan DelBene (1st District Democrat) to city-council members in Snohomish, Lynnwood, Edmonds and Everett. He has raised more than $80,000.
Campaigning against Somers is Chris Vallo, 55, a Republican real-estate broker from Lake Stevens who has never held office.
“I want to be able to grow jobs and grow the economy and work on the transportation issue because it doesn’t seem to be getting done,’’ he said.
Vallo grew up in the county, is married and has three grown children.
“I believe in limited government and accountable spending and no new taxes,’’ he said.
He is endorsed by the Snohomish County Farm Bureau. He’s raised about $5,800.
District 5 represents the rural region of the county east from Lake Stevens to Index and beyond.
Nancy Bartley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-8522