SNOHOMISH — People in Snohomish will see substantial turnover in city leadership this year.
Five of the City Council’s seven seats are up for grabs, two of which are contested.
Larry Countryman, a former councilman and bed and breakfast owner, and Eric Reyes, who sells advertising, are vying for one seat. Dale Preboski dropped out of the race because of health reasons. However, her name will still be on the ballot.
Lisa Caldwell, who works in marketing; Steve Dana, a real estate agent who formerly served as mayor; and Meagan Gray, a hair stylist, are campaigning for another seat.
They are focused on city growth, addressing marijuana businesses and the need for stability in a time when Snohomish is adopting a new form of government.
A strong mayor is expected to take office after the November general election.
Countryman, 76, has owned Countryman Bed and Breakfast for about 30 years. He is a retired artist and has restored historic homes as a contractor.
Countryman served on the council in the 1970s and 1980s. He decided to run again because he is interested in helping the city transition to a strong-mayor form of government.
During his time on council, he made sure streets in town had paved sidewalks.
“I look at the city as a park in itself and it needs to be walkable,” Countryman said. “We’re trying to keep it looking like a small town.”
He also does not support high-density housing.
Reyes, 29, moved to Snohomish in October 2016. He is a senior account executive with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
He hopes to become more involved in the community his 10-year-old son is growing up in.
Reyes plans to use technology to fix problems.
“I feel like technology could be put to better use in a small town like this, without messing with the historic, nostalgic mystic,” Reyes said.
He suggested replacing trash bins with solar compactors, for example.
Reyes acknowledged he had run-ins with police, but said he was younger then.
He was charged with driving while under the influence in 2009 and later admitted to negligent driving. In 2015, a court commissioner signed off on a protection order against Reyes after a woman accused him of domestic violence. Reyes said he was not aware of the order. Court documents show he did not attend the hearing.
The Daily Herald checks court history for candidates running for public office.
Caldwell, 52, works in sales and marketing for Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in Monroe.
She has lived in Snohomish for about 30 years, but her husband’s family bought the home where she lives in 1896. Her great-grandfather was a blacksmith. His shop is still in their back yard.
Caldwell hopes to expand on the city’s celebrations, such as the Easter parade and the Kla Ha Ya Days festival.
“That tradition, those things are really important to me,” Caldwell said. “Those are things you just can’t find in some other places.”
Steve Dana, 67, is a Realtor with Century 21. He previously owned the Hub Drive-in and served on City Council as both a member and mayor.
Dana said after a politically contentious year, “we need some stability and people with experience.”
He has spent the past 30 years working with the city in some capacity.
He believes law-abiding marijuana businesses could bring in additional revenue. In 2014, the city implemented zoning restrictions prohibiting the production, processing and sale of marijuana within city limits. An advisory measure on the August ballot will ask voters whether they would like to lift the ban.
“Realistically, the fact that we have marijuana vendors that are on the border of the city means that whatever we were trying to do by banning them originally was not accomplished,” Dana said. “I think the issue is not really an issue anymore.”
Gray, 28, is a hair stylist at Luxe Salon downtown. She grew up in Snohomish, and has recently volunteered on the city’s open-government committee.
“It got me thinking about what transparency looks like in government,” Gray said.
That spurred her to run for City Council.
She has talked with people whose parents can no longer live in Snohomish. Housing has become too expensive, she said. Gray hopes to offer more affordable housing options.
She said it is important to help out the generations who came before her.
An influx of people from around the Puget Sound area also are moving to Snohomish.
“We have growing pains because we have people moving in from different areas and then we have longtime residents,” Gray said. “We really need to come together on why we love Snohomish.”
The last day to vote in the primary election is Aug. 1. Two candidates from each race with the most votes will proceed to the November general election.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.