Open seat draws three to race for Arlington City Council
When Arlington City Councilman Ken Klein decided to give up his seat to run for Snohomish County Council, three people jumped at the chance to replace. All three say they are eager to serve their community in the nonpartisan job and glad they aren't running against an incumbent councilman.
Mike Hopson is a familiar face at City Council meetings and serves on the city's Airport Commission. Scott Keith serves on the city's Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission. And Jan Schuette is known to many people in the city for her work as chairwoman of the Arlington Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Under the state's top-two primary rules, only the two candidates receiving the most votes move on to the general eleciton. Primary election ballots mailed to voters this week are due back Aug. 6.
Hopson, a retired teacher, said his consistent attendance at council meetings during that past three years gives him a good sense of what is required of the City Council.
"I just enjoy local government and I really like Arlington," Hopson said. "I'm familiar with the issues and the personalities, and now I'm in a position to represent the average person, take seriously how I would spend their money and deal with the issues equitably and even-handedly."
Keith said Councilman Klein has endorsed him for office.
"I've always wanted to be active in my community, and with Ken leaving, I figured now would be the perfect opportunity to make a run for office. I want to support our parks and get free Wi-Fi in Legion Memorial Park downtown," Keith said. "I believe one of important things for voters to consider is that when a person is elected and he takes the oath of office, all aspects of the Constitution should be defended, including the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms in this city."
Schuette said she has been busy ringing door bells throughout Arlington.
"Last summer I started attending City Council meetings and I've been really impressed with the direction the city is going, including the work to attract aerospace business," Schuette said. "I want to be part of the vision of the elected officials and the city employees. With my 18 years of administrative and budget experience, my leadership skills and work ethic, and the extra time I have because I am retired, I would be a good fit."
The Transportation Benefit District Proposition on the ballot, which would add a 0.2 percent increase to the sales tax in the city for road repair, has the support of all three candidates.
All three are eager to see more economic development and more jobs in Arlington and the revenue that would benefit the city.
On the issue of whether Arlington should keep its own fire department or join a north Snohomish County regional fire district, Hopson and Keith said they are waiting to see the results of a study commissioned by the city to investigate the best fire safety program for Arlington.
A meeting to unveil the study results is set for 6 p.m. July 31 at Arlington High School.
"My instinct is that I would rather have a city fire department," Hopson said. "If it's a cost benefit to have a regional department, then OK. But if it's close, I would like to keep local control."
Schuette said she has been endorsed by the Arlington firefighters union.
"We need to return our fire and police personnel to an adequate level and provide these departments with up-to-date equipment," Schuette said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
Today: Arlington City Council Position No. 7
Monday: Mukilteo mayor; Monroe Proposition No. 1
Tuesday: Lakewood School District; Arlington Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1
Wednesday: Lynnwood mayor
Thursday: Camano Island Library Proposition No. 1; Lynnwood City Council Position No. 1
Friday: Lynnwood City Council Position No. 2
July 27: Lynnwood City Council Position No. 3
July 29: Mill Creek City Council Position No. 1
July 30: Mill Creek City Council Position No. 2
Previous stories: Snohomish County Council; Index, Snohomish fire district levies
Arlington City Council Position No. 7
At stake is a four-year seat on the Arlington City Council currently held by Ken Klein, who is running for Snohomish County Council. The job pays between $400 and $800 a month, depending on how many meetings council members attend.
Experience: Arlington Airport commissioner; attending City Council meetings and workshops for three years; retired public school teacher with master's degree; current community college online instructor.
Experience: Parks, Arts and Recreation commissioner; information systems manager for a Seattle commercial real estate firm; degree in information systems business management
Experience: Retired principal of Stanwood High School; as director of alternative schools in Yakima, managed budgets of more than $3 million; served on state Council on Vocational Education; Arlington Relay for Life chairwoman; longtime community volunteer.
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