By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — Shery Christianson said her candidacy is not as much a referendum on Arlington City Councilman Chris Raezer’s two terms in office, as it is about her own strong desire to be involved.
“I am retired from Boeing now, so it’s time to give back,” Christianson said. “My family has been in this community for a long time. I want to help out and have a voice.”
Christianson said she believes she has an uphill battle against the incumbent, but she hopes voters will take a look at her candidacy.
“I want to renew people’s faith in local government,” Christianson said. “I am not backed by any special interest groups. I tend to believe that there are always strings attached when one is in that kind of relationship.”
Raezer said he doesn’t owe any allegiance to special interests. He did say he is proud of his endorsements from the Arlington fire and police unions.
“I am honored,” Raezer said. “These people are professionals and my job on the council is to make sure all city employees are able to do their jobs. I am a strong supporter of public safety programs in our city, but I am not beholden to unions. Instead, I answer to the voters and the taxpayers. We’re all working for the same people, the citizens of Arlington.”
Christianson’s husband Craig, a former mayoral candidate, is a Seattle fireman, and among his family are longtime Arlington firefighters.
“It was a little odd not to be endorsed (by the public safety unions),” Christianson said. “But a lot of voters like to go with the candidate who is not backed by a special interest group. I have nothing against labor unions. I was in one. But I don’t think they should be backing anybody.”
Christianson said she wants adequate funding for police and other services that will ultimately reduce crime caused by drugs.
Keeping the city’s budget balanced also is part of Christianson’s list of goals should she be elected, she said.
“We also need to hold enough money in reserve so we don’t go in the red,” Christianson said. “Nobody wants higher taxes, but a slight increase in property taxes is something we might need to look at, especially considering that Arlington has one of the lowest tax rates around.”
Raezer said his top priorities if re-elected would be to ensure public safety for a growing population, better roads and economic development.
“We want to stay ahead of the curve on the demands for services,” Raezer said. “It’s no secret that we have streets unable to handle peak traffic, including on state roads such as 172nd Street. We need to keep the pressure on Olympia to get the work started. And without retail development and good-paying manufacturing jobs, which are dependent on good roads and public safety, we won’t have the revenue to fund what we need for Arlington to continue to be a vibrant community.”
It’s all related, he said.
“We need to make sure the city is performing as well as possible, keeping alive our partnerships with the school district, the county, the hospital and our great volunteers,” Raezer said. “If I am re-elected, it’s my goal to challenge myself to stay fresh in this job. We constantly need to find better ways to do all that it takes to run the city.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arlington City Council, Position No. 2
At stake is a four-year seat on the Arlington City Council. The job pays between $400 and $800 a month, depending on how many meetings a council member attends.
Experience: Retired Boeing manager, with experience in budgets and team leadership. Employed with Windermere Realty. Volunteers with Arlington Kids Kloset.
Experience: Two-term incumbent on the council. Experience on most council committees, including service as the Snohomish County cities representative on the Puget Sound Regional Council Economic Development District Board. Works for Boeing. Before elected to City Council, Raezer served on the city parks board.
A candidate forum, 1 to 3 p.m. today, Stillaguamish Senior Center, 18308 Smokey Point Blvd. Candidates for Arlington City Council and Snohomish County Council Position No. 1 plan to speak.