By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman won’t seek another term, and only one of three Monroe school board members will run again.
Those are some of the outcomes of Friday’s deadline for filing for candidacy for public office.
Snohomish County Council Position 5
At the county level, two-term incumbent Dave Somers, (D-Monroe) who represents the Sky Valley area on the Snohomish County Council will face a challenger from Lake Stevens.
Chris Vallo, who identifies as Republican, has not held public office before, but has served as a precinct committee officer in the 44th District. He ran for the Snohomish County Assessor’s seat in 2011, but lost to Cindy Portmann. He has been on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America’s Mount Baker Council, and was on the football board of the Lake Stevens Junior Athletic Association. He has a background in telecommunications, including working as an operations manager at Frontier Communications.
Dave Somers is the only person in District 5 history to have been elected three times, and the only one to have been reelected while an incumbent. He served from 2006-2010, then 2010-2014. He also served from 1998-2002 before being unseated by Jeff Sax. Somers reclaimed the seat from Sax in 2006.
Somers has taken on some powerful opponents in his time in office; in 2008 a developer named Dave Barnett vowed to spend $2 million or more to unseat him after Somers opposed him on the creation of a fully-contained community at Lake Roesiger. More recently, just days before the November election of 2011, Somers brought forward evidence to suggest that incumbent candidate County Executive Aaron Reardon had misused public funds while conducting an extramarital affair.
Robert Zimmerman, who was elected in 2009 and took office in 2010, withheld news of his decision not to seek reelection until Friday.
In a letter explaining his decision, which he sent to supporters and press, he said that four years ago, Monroe faced big challenges including “deficits in leadership, financial burdens, hostile relationships, rising taxes, failed land purchases, cumbersome regulations, excessive ‘red tape,’ suffering from analysis paralysis and lacking a forward thinking vision for our city’s future.”
The city improved on his watch, he said.
“Once a sleepy town where people drove through on their way to someplace else, Monroe has become one of Snohomish County’s most vigorous places to live, work and play.
“Once a city that was bogged down in bureaucracy, taking years for projects and tasks to be completed, Monroe has proven that it can operate at the pace of the free market, implementing strategies quickly, efficiently and productively leading to many value-added results.
“Once, headed for a fiscal cliff, Monroe is stronger today through disciplined spending, while keeping taxes at bay. The City finished 2012 in the black and with all reserves fully funded and 2013 is looking to be as well off. Monroe’s median household income is greater than Snohomish County and Washington State. Monroe now hosts more jobs with more businesses preparing to arrive…
“Once a developer’s nightmare, Monroe is becoming one of the more sought after locations to build. In 2013, the City will see applications for nearly 300 new homes and several new commercial buildings. Changes in administrative process, fewer regulations and a customer solutions culture has resulted in more and improved development.
“Rather than being the gateway to anywhere, Monroe has become the ‘Gateway to Adventure and the Adventure starts Here.’ Each year, for the last three years, the city has welcomed several thousand visitors as host to local, regional and national events within its park system. Through valued partnerships with the Evergreen Speedway, the Fairgrounds and the soon-to-arrive Monroe Wake Park at Lake Tye, we have and will continue to generate much welcomed tourism dollars into our economy,” he wrote, thanking the city staff for their efforts, as well.
But, he said, he has done enough in the role of mayor.
“While some see politics as a means for control, I see it as a way to serve and I have been blessed to do so on behalf of the citizens of Monroe,” he wrote. “I have accomplished most all that I set out to do. I shall leave office on December 31, 2013 satisfied, without regret and confident in our city’s future.”
Two candidates, both experienced council members, hope to replace him.
Geoffrey Thomas served on the city council from 2004-2008, before deciding not to run again. Currently he is a senior legislative analyst at the Snohomish County Council Office. He has a background in development, working as a project manager for a land developer and as an environmental planner. He was also a planning commissioner for the city of Olympia from 1997 to 1999.
He holds a bachelor of science, environmental policy, analysis and planning.
Ed Davis is currently on the city council. He was elected in a very close race versus Todd Fredrickson in 2011 to a four-year position, which expires at the end of 2015. If he wins the mayor’s seat, the city council will have to appoint a replacement for him on the council. If he does not win, he will keep his council seat.
Davis ran on a platform of supporting business in order to increase job opportunities in town, and was not in favor of traffic enforcement cameras. He has lived in the era for more than 20 years, and in Monroe for about 10 years. His resume includes serving as an inspector for the Transportation Security Administration.
Monroe City Council
Kevin Hanford, who two years ago ran for and won the two-year seat on the council, has decided to abandon that seat and run instead for an open four-year seat.
He will face Brad Waddell, 53, a shift sergeant at the Monroe Correctional Complex who is active in Teamsters Local 117.
Kurt Goering didn’t qualify to run for another four-year position, because that would put him over the city’s eight-year term limit. He held the two-year position before winning his current four-year position, so instead he has filed to take the two year position being abandoned by Kevin Hanford.
Also running for that seat is Daniel Williams, a Monroe resident who works in aerospace and who has not sought public office before.
Tom Williams, who was undecided as recently as two weeks ago, did not file for reelection. There are two contenders for the seat; one is former parks board member Jeff Rasmussen.
The other is Mike Stanger.
Patsy Cudaback is running again, and is unopposed.
Monroe School Board
Of three long-time incumbents, only Jim Scott is seeking reelection to the Monroe School District Board of Directors. He is running unopposed for District 4.
Running unopposed for District 1, which covers much of the north side of the school district, is Jason Hutchinson, who is a technical sales manager at chemical products company Chemetall. The seat is currently held by Tom McIntyre, who has held it since 1996.
There are two contenders for Position 3 on the school board, which covers much of the school district south of town including the Tualco Valley west to Echo Lake. Darcy Cheesman is an office manager and a former coordinator for the Snohomish County Republican Party’s get-out-the-vote campaign. Jennifer Reiner, of Reiner Farms in Monroe, is also running. The seat is currently held by Greg Accetturo, who has held it since 2005.
Fire District 3
Two people are running for the two seats open this year on the Board of Commissioners for Fire District 3. Both are running unopposed. They are Leslie Jo Wells and Marc A. Inman.
Hospital District 1
Running unopposed for the only open seat on the three-person Board of Commissioners of Valley General Hospital is Tony Balk, who served for many years on the Monroe City Council. He will take the place of Neil Watkins, director of the Sky Valley Food Bank and former director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. Watkins is not seeking reelection.
East County Parks and Recreation
Joel Selling, a former candidate for state representative, the head of the successful campaign to pass the April Valley General Hospital levy and a trustee with Sno-Isle Libraries, is running unopposed for an open seat on the East County Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners.