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Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 11:52 a.m.

Lake Stevens man to challenge Somers for county council

LAKE STEVENS -- Republican Chris Vallo on Tuesday announced plans to challenge Democratic Snohomish County Councilman Dave Somers this election season.
They'll be vying to represent District 5, which includes Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Monroe and points east.
"The reason people should vote for me is that I am concerned about the people's welfare and prosperity, and I am a connector who can execute and get things done for the people," said Vallo, a Lake Stevens resident who works as a real estate broker.
Vallo, 55, said Somers is a "great guy," but believes he's better suited to connect to people in the district. Vallo lists supporting business, public safety and improving local roadways among his goals. In particular, he singled out safety upgrades to U.S. 2, which have factored into the County Council's legislative priorities for years with limited results.
Vallo previously worked as an telecommunications engineering manager. He's also served for more than 20 years in leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America Mount Baker Council. Other volunteer commitments include Lake Stevens Junior Athletic Association and the United Way.
Vallo lost a bid to become county assessor in 2011, when incumbent Cindy Portmann took nearly 68 percent of the vote.
Somers, 60, is a fisheries biologist by training who will be running for his third consecutive County Council term. He has been a regional leader in environmental causes, but also garnered support from the building community during his last run for re-election, in 2009. In that cycle, Somers fended off Republican Steve Dana, a Snohomish business owner. Somers captured nearly 52 percent of the vote.
Somers in 2011 withstood pressure from members of his own party when he found himself entangled in what became a Washington State Patrol criminal investigation of County Executive Aaron Reardon, a fellow Democrat. A county social worker in October 2011 approached Somers. She said she'd been accompanying Reardon on business trips during a years-long extramarital affair with the executive, whom she has known since high school. Somers referred the issue to county prosecutors, who sent the case to the patrol for investigation. No charges were filed.
Somers said he might be interested in competing for Reardon's seat, following the executive's announcement that he plans to resign May 31. Somers has since backed away from those ambitions after Sheriff John Lovick, a Democrat, announced his plans to seek appointment to Reardon's position.
The official filing week for the county election is May 13 to 17. Primary ballots are due Aug. 6. The top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » County CouncilLocal

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