Lynnwood City Council member won’t seek re-election

LYNNWOOD — The Lynnwood City Council is going to see a shake-up come January.

Two council members are leaving, and another is fighting for his spot on the November ballot. The mayor’s race promises to be a close one, too.

Councilwoman Kerri Lonergan-Dreke, 49, chose not to seek re-election after serving a single four-year term. She was council vice president for about a year and a half, and she’s been an outspoken critic of Mayor Don Gough.

Lonergan-Dreke, who runs Lombardi’s Italian restaurants in Everett and Mill Creek, needed more time with her husband and her family, she said. She hasn’t ruled out seeking office in the future.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the council,” she said. “It’s truly been a joy to serve the citizens.”

Lonergan-Dreke said she is most proud of her work to improve the council’s access and attention to financial matters.

“I think there was a lack of transparency,” she said. “The administration has been very reluctant to share information with the council.”

Lonergan-Dreke also admits to a regret: her vote to increase the city’s employee head tax.

The tax paid by employers went from $15 to $85 per employee annually, without making allowances for part-timers, she said.

“It is a priority for most of us on the council to roll that back by allowing the part-time equivalent,” she said.

Lonergan-Dreke has endorsed mayoral candidate Nicola Smith, a political newcomer who led the primary election results by just under 2 percent.

During the post-election changeover, the council also will lose Mark Smith, who gave up his seat to run for mayor but trailed in the primary. Mark Smith has been on the council eight years.

“A dramatic change of chemistry is going to happen, regardless of who’s elected,” Councilman Sid Roberts said earlier this week.

Roberts didn’t always agree with Lonergan-Dreke but appreciated the “fervor with which she held her positions,” he said.

“Two strong voices, Mark and Kerri, are gone,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be different, but that’s OK. It’s democracy.”

The three council races on the ballot now are set between councilman M. Christopher Boyer and Michael Moore for Position 1, Ian Cotton and former councilman Jim Smith for Position 2, and former councilwoman Ruth Ross and Douglas Lovitt for Position 3.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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