By Debra Smith Herald Writer
EVERETT — Five candidates have stepped forward to fill the spot left vacant on the Everett City Council by the death of Drew Nielsen.
Voters should recognize some of the names on the primary ballot, scheduled to be mailed out Thursday.
Another candidate, Pete Kinch, served as Everett’s mayor two decades ago. He also was a city councilman in the ’70s.
The other two candidates, bank manager Bill Paulen and retired police officer Jon Ott, are political novices.
Bader, an attorney now employed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, lost to Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher last fall.
Then and now, he said he’s focused on fiscal responsibility and making Everett as friendly as possible for new employers and the businesses that are already here.
Bader spent most of his life in Everett, much of it in south Everett, and now lives in the Riverside neighborhood. He’s concerned the city hasn’t always funneled as many resources to the south end of town.
Robinson just took a job as a health program manager. She has a long work history in human services, formerly serving as the executive director of an affordable housing organization.
She ran unsuccessfully against long-time Councilman Ron Gipson last fall.
Many supporters of the late councilman — including his widow, Kim Nielsen — are writing checks to Robinson’s campaign.
Drew Nielsen encouraged her to run for office last year. Ideologically, her views align with his on many issues such as the importance of open government and continued investment in parks, libraries and a vibrant downtown.
“Nobody can be Drew,” she said. “He saw himself representing the neighborhoods. He was always a champion of the citizen’s voice … that is the piece I want to preserve.”
Kinch served one term as mayor, which ended in 1994 when he was unseated by Ed Hansen.
He’s now executive director of the Everett nonprofit Hands for Peacemaking.
Kinch said he threw his hat in the ring because he has experience and thought he could get up to speed quickly.
“It’s purely a matter of serving our community,” he said. “I don’t need it for the ego or any other purpose than to offer my services to the community.”
He’s concerned about the fate of the city’s multi-million dollar riverfront project that’s supposed to eventually put apartments and shops by the Snohomish River. Now it’s a muddy field waiting for the economy to perk up.
The city bought that land during his time as mayor and he feels that project’s completion could be one of the most important things to happen to the city in the past half century.
“Thousands and thousands of cars go by there every day,” he said. “It’s important it’s developed and developed right.”
Ott brings experience as a former police officer and now an educator at Shoreline Community College*. He was forced to retire from the Everett Police Department because of a degenerative eye condition.
He supports an industrial use for the former Kimberly Clark mill site that would provide good, family-wage jobs. He’s also concerned about the uneven distribution of resources in south Everett, citing park maintenance as an example.
He described himself as a creative problem solver, who could think about alternatives to city issues that don’t involve increasing spending. He also said he supports open government saying, “The people have a right to know.”
This is Paulen’s first stab at political office. He said he could bring his professional skill set in retail banking and commercial lending to the council.
“Fiscal discipline in light of declining revenues is of paramount importance,” he said.
He ranked public safety and the local economy as his top concerns.
“The main reason I’m doing this is I would like to make the city a better place for my wife and my son to grow up in,” he said.
Debra Smith: 425-339-3197; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett City Council, Position No. 5
What’s at stake?
At stake is the remainder of the late Drew Nielsen’s term. Only two candidates will progress to the general election. The winner would take office as soon as the general election is certified in November and serve out the remaining three years of the term.
The council oversees policy making for the city of Everett. The annual base salary is $26,279 annually.
Meet the candidates
Experience: Director of Parish Stewardship for the Archdiocese of Seattle.
Experience: Mayor of Everett (1990-1994). Now executive director of the Everett nonprofit Hands for Peacemaking.
Experience: former Everett Police Department officer, now an instructor at Edmonds Community College.
Experience: Vice president and manager at American West Bank.
Experience: Former executive director of Housing Consoritum of Everett and Snohomish County. Now a program manager with Public Health Seattle and King County.