12 candidates apply for Everett City Council seat

EVERETT — A dozen people have applied to fill Shannon Affholter’s soon-to-be vacant City Council seat.

The candidates who submitted names by the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline are split evenly between men and women. Most have been active in the city’s business, politics or cultural scene.

Affholter announced his resignation from council Position No. 7 earlier this month to take a job with the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County.

The council expects to make the appointment during its Nov. 13 meeting.

Here’s the list, in the order supplied by Everett:

•Stephen Bugge, an Everett Community College student who has worked for 12 years in the freight industry. Moved to Everett about two and half years ago. Pledges to make the city “a desirable high-tech, blue-collar city of the 21st century.”

•Art Thomson, a commercial real estate broker and professional engineer who has lived in Everett most of his life. Wants to support existing business while diversifying the city’s job base. Says he would “continue to support Everett’s high quality of life through its parks and recreation programs.”

•Jim Staniford, a restaurant owner, karate teacher and lifelong Everett resident. Committed to restoring historic buildings. As the city grows, he wants to “secure a solid plan for education, transportation, human services, diversified business opportunities, safety and all the amenities that make a great city.”

•Andrea Sweerus, a middle school behavior intervention teacher in the Lake Washington School District. Sweerus wants to balance the gender ratio on the City Council, where only one of seven current members is a woman.

•Megan Dunn, an academic research analyst and postpartum doula who has lived in Everett for about eight years. Dunn is an active community and political volunteer who says she also brings policy understanding.

Cover letters for Dunn and Sweerus share several identical passages, including: “I am submitting my name for consideration in order to increase the pool of qualified female candidates and to bring attention to an important issue — a need to increase diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity and socio-economic status on the city council.”

•Kimberlee Nieslen, who works with homeless teens, but had a past career as an analyst for aerospace companies. The widow of the late City Councilman Drew Nielsen, she is an active community volunteer who aims “to focus on economic development, educational opportunities, public safety, continued support in the maintenance (and new development) of parks and recreation, cultural arts and fiscal stewardship.”

•Richard Anderson, a certified public accountant and lifelong Everett resident. Has served on numerous government advisory boards and says, “my experiences in business, municipal and civic activities make me well suited for this City Council position.”

•David Simpson, a security officer at Safeco Field, served on the City Council from 1998 through 2001 and briefly as an appointed state Legislator. He’s a past member of the city Planning Commission and various government boards. Simpson has lived in Everett for more than 30 years and says he has “the commitment and the passion” for the appointment.

•Jackie Minchew, an elementary school music teacher, also is challenging City Council incumbent Scott Murphy in the Nov. 5 election. Minchew, an Arkansas native, has lived in Everett about 20 years and has been involved in progressive political causes. He has frequently challenged the status quo among city leaders. He promises to do the same if appointed, “but I won’t pound my shoe on the table to make my point.”

•Judy Tuohy has directed the Schack Art Center since 1995 and promises to push economic development as a catalyst for recreation, entertainment and the arts. Born and raised in Everett, Tuohy says she wants to help the city guide projects such as the redevelopment of industrial land along the Snohomish River, a future Washington State University branch campus and the pending sale of Kimberly-Clark’s former mill site.

•June Robinson, a manager in public health and housing programs, lost a close race to City Councilman Scott Bader last year. She’s an active volunteer who has served on several city advisory groups. If appointed, she wants “to help make Everett a thriving and vibrant city that all of our citizens feel proud of and connected to.”

•Elly Smith, a licensed real estate broker, aims to “be a resource encouraging the importance of community involvement.” She has served on several civic committees. Her priorities include police protection and better communication between the Everett School District and neighborhood groups.

The interim appointee is supposed to serve until results from the 2014 election are certified. Next year’s election will determine who serves the final year of the unexpired term. An election for the full four-year term is scheduled in 2015.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Everett council appointment: What’s next?

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: Candidates to introduce themselves during the regular council meeting. Council members will nominate up to six candidates to move forward in the process.

Nov. 13: Public interviews with candidates in council chambers from 3 to 6 p.m.; public comment and council vote at that evening’s 6:30 council meeting.

Nov. 20: New candidate to be sworn in. Interim council member to serve until the November 2014 election results are certified.

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