Candidate withdraws from Snohomish race but is still on ballot

SNOHOMISH — City Councilman Derrick Burke has a challenger on the Nov. 5 election ballot, but that candidate is not actively seeking the council’s Position 5 seat.

In a Sept. 26 email to The Herald, Michael Whitney wrote that “I have decided not to run for the Snohomish City Council for personal reasons.” He wrote that he missed a deadline to withdraw from the race, so his name remains on the ballot. He declined to be interviewed about his decision.

Burke was appointed to the council in 2010. A Snohomish resident since 1999, he owns Puget Sound Woodworking. The business in the city’s downtown historic district teaches woodworking classes and offers custom woodworking and other services.

The 43-year-old incumbent has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington Bothell. He has worked in the biotechnology field, environmental resource consulting and financial advising.

A father of two, Burke said he has volunteered on projects for the Snohomish Parks Foundation and served as a liaison to the city’s Public Safety Committee and Historic Downtown Snohomish.

“It’s a very well run city,” he said. Burke said that as a business owner, he understands the need for economic development. “I also think there have to be checks. How much is too much economic development?” he said.

In April, Burke joined in the 6-0 City Council vote to reject a Seattle developer’s plan to build very small apartments, called “apodments,” in a vacant building near Snohomish High School. He does not oppose a more recent plan for another apartment development in downtown Snohomish. “We really need to create housing for people of all income levels,” he said.

Burke said he is “incredibly proud of our park system” and sees “Snohomish with a future that is very bright.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

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