By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
EVERETT — Scott Murphy is up for his first election since being named to fill an Everett City Council vacancy.
Jackie Minchew entered the race to prevent an appointee from going unchallenged. He’s run unsuccessfully in four previous council races, against candidates from Everett’s politically connected families and neighborhoods.
“They’re a group and any group has group think,” Minchew said. “I think outside the group, outside the box.”
Murphy said he’s glad to have competition: “When you don’t have an opponent, are you really going to give it 110 percent?”
Thanks to Minchew, Murphy is the only Everett city incumbent facing an opponent this year. Mayor Ray Stephanson is running unopposed in November. So are city councilmen Paul Roberts and Jeff Moore.
All of Everett’s elected officials are nonpartisan. The General Election is Nov. 5, with ballots scheduled to go out Oct. 17.
Murphy, 51, has served on the City Council since January, when he was appointed to fill out the year remaining on retired Councilman Arlan Hatloe’s term.
Since then, the certified public accountant has used his time at the council dais to ask thoughtful, in-depth budget questions of city staff. He said the City Council benefits from his business experience, including his current job as chief operating officer of Everett-based glass company Goldfinch Bros.
“I bring a small business perspective that maybe isn’t there,” Murphy said.
Raised in Bellevue, Murphy moved to Everett after marrying into a local family. He lives in View Ridge.
Minchew, 63, is known as a passionate supporter of progressive causes, particularly those involving the environment and social justice.
The music teacher at Lowell Elementary School can often be seen riding his bicycle around town. He supports the grass-roots group 350.org, which seeks to raise awareness about carbon-dioxide emissions and their effects on the planet.
Minchew said he’s dedicated to serving the city’s south end, where many people tell him they rarely interact with elected officials.
“If you live north of 21st street, you can walk to a city council member’s house and you probably know where they live,” he said.
Though he’s lived in Lowell for more than 20 years, Minchew’s an Arkansas native, a fact he said helps him relate to the area’s newcomers.
Murphy’s top priorities are economic growth and improving government efficiency through lessons learned in the business world. Convincing the Boeing Co. to produce its future 777X jet here “would be a huge win for us.”
Murphy also wants to focus on solving some of the city’s thornier financial issues, including unfunded pension liabilities for retired city workers.
Minchew recognizes that Everett has three big job bases in Boeing, Providence Regional Medical Center and Naval Station Everett. He wants to keep them, but believes the city should do more to support more small businesses to soften the blow should any of the big employers go away.
“If and when Boeing scales back or gets into a slump or, God forbid, moves away, we need to have an economy that will stand,” he said.
Neither candidate is opposed to scheduled commercial flights at Snohomish County’s Paine Field, but their positions aren’t identical.
Murphy supports allowing commercial flights, which he said has made for some interesting conversations while out doorbelling.
Minchew admits he’s more or less on the fence.
“It’s not necessarily a thing I’m in favor of, but it’s something that’s going to happen,” he said.
Both candidates agree a top priority for Everett should be fixing a combined sewer-stormwater system that has flooded dozens of homes during recent rainstorms.
As of last week, Murphy reported raising $22,160 for his campaign, Minchew $3,921.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett City Council, Position 3
What’s the job?
At stake is a four-year term on the Everett City Council. The seven nonpartisan council members constitute the city’s legislative body. The annual salary is $26,964.48.
Neighborhood: View Ridge
Experience: chief operating officer for Goldfinch Bros. of Everett; certified public accountant
Web site: www.scottmurphyforcitycouncil.com
Experience: Music teacher at Lowell Elementary School