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Editor’s note: Election day is right around the corner, and voters in Snohomish County will be selecting their next executive — incumbent John Lovick, who was appointed to the position in 2013 after the resignation of former County Executive Aaron Reardon and won election to a one-year term in 2014, or challenger Dave Somers, the County Council Chairman who has served 14 years on the council.

Issues like county finances, population growth and the new courthouse — with a cost estimate that has more than doubled — are key in this race. The two candidates’ full responses to our questionnaire are below.

Jump to each question


What are your plans for the future Snohomish County courthouse?


John Lovick

John Lovick:

The Council and the Executive Office need to re-evaluate the project and understand why the process created so much friction in our community. It is imperative at this point that we keep all options on the table. We want to gather input from all stakeholders and proceed cooperatively in moving ahead with the most cost effective plans that will meet the county’s needs.


Dave Somers

Dave Somers:

The courthouse project has been badly mismanaged by Executive Lovick’s administration. I am working to convene the courts, council, executive and other elected officials and pertinent county departments, and architects to develop and review a range of alternatives that could resolve safety concerns but also be within our budget.

The county’s general fund reserves are at an all time low, and the county has needed to borrow money eight times — totaling $35 million — so far this year to meet payroll and pay our bills. Currently 75 percent of the county’s general fund budget is dedicated to criminal justice including the sheriff’s office, jail, courts, prosecuting attorney’s office and clerks. In light of this situation, we must look for lower cost options.


If elected, what would your role be in helping Paine Field becoming a more commercial enterprise?


Lovick:

Paine Field businesses continue to grow and provide good jobs for our county. Boeing, aerospace development and manufacturing, educational facilities, and related businesses all provide sustainable growth around Paine Field. I will continue to support and promote business development at Paine Field and throughout our county.


Somers:

My role as executive will be to make the airport even more successful. Paine Field is extremely successful now. The airport’s economic impact is estimated at 76,000 jobs (46,000 direct) and output of $30+ billion annually. As executive, my role will be to make it even more productive.

I support limited (two gates) commercial passenger service out of Paine Field to destinations from Hawaii to the East Coast. This service would be a great asset to our businesses and citizens. Commercial passenger service must not impede the industrial and general aviation role of the airport and be respectful of residential uses around the airport.

We have additional space to accommodate growth in the aerospace industry, attract more tourism and grow jobs. As county executive, my role will be to assure that we make the best use of every square inch and provide services to our businesses and public.


What’s your personal vision for Sound Transit 3? How far north should it go?


Lovick:

The No. 1 thing we need to do is complete the spine from Tacoma to Seattle, to Lynnwood (transit center), to Everett (Paine Field and Everett Station), and Redmond. There will be a lot of competing interests, but we must move forward. I would like to see Link light-rail extend to north Everett at the community college and WSU campuses.


Somers:

We need ST3 to link our major metropolitan center, Everett, with King County, Pierce County and their cities. It must go north to the Everett Community College and WSU campus, serve the Everett Transit Center, and also directly serve Paine Field and Boeing (our major employment center). Stations must be at each of these locations as well as Lynnwood, 164th and 128th at a minimum, with potential for other future stations.


How would your approach to serving on the council differ from that of your opponent?


Lovick:

My approach has always been to speak of the hopes of the community, rather than focus on fears. I see a bright future for Snohomish County. We have one of the lowest jobless rates in the state, business is growing, and this is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Our diverse workforce is first in the state in the concentration of manufacturing jobs, second in aerospace manufacturing, and second in the number of technology-based jobs. My goal is to emphasize collaboration and positive decision-making.


Somers:

I had the pleasure during my first term of serving with former County Executive Bob Drewel. Mr. Drewel had an open and collaborative approach that I will emulate. Under the county’s form of government, the County Council and the executive must work together in order for Snohomish County to be successful. Mr. Drewel understood that.

I am committed to respecting the role of the council and working to implement the policies adopted by the council while living within allocated budgets. I will apply my 14 years of experience on the council to help solve the day-to-day issues facing the county.

Mr. Lovick has instead taken a “my way or the highway” approach and has chosen to continuously and unnecessarily fight with the council majority. It is clear from my direct experience that former Executive Drewel’s approach is more effective, efficient and better serves the citizens of Snohomish County.