By Marysville Globe and Herald staff
MARYSVILLE — Marysville voters will decide four races Nov. 7, meaning change is possible for a majority of seats on the seven-person City Council.
The most closely watched contest is between Mark James and Donna Wright.
James, 55, publishes the Hometown Values Savings Magazine with his wife. He works with diverse local businesses and said he understands their needs. He hasn’t held a publicly elected position before.
Wright, 77, was appointed to the council in 1990 and, with the exception of a two-year break, has kept the seat. She and her husband owned and now contract with a local Coldwell Banker office.
Wright said her elected experience and connections set her apart. In the three-way primary contest, however, she finished second, trailing James by more than 300 votes.
James said he believes in term limits to bring in new ideas, and that’s why he’s running against Wright.
“It’s time for a change,” he said.
Wright said her main issues are public safety, health and transportation. She is proud that the City Council has been able to build up reserves to buy items with cash, saving on interest. But she wants to keep working on getting more cops on the street, manufacturing jobs north of the city, train safety and community health.
James said he wants a Regional Fire Authority between Marysville, District 12 and Arlington because it would provide better service at lower costs. Wright said while she likes the concept Arlington has not shown much support for fire service in the past, plus negotiations with that town have been sluggish so far. So she is undecided.
The contest between Tom King and Jeff Seibert has been notable for the lack of sparks. Both candidates said they respect the other.
King, 64, a lifelong resident and city Park Board member, hopes to unseat incumbent Seibert, 56, who has been on the council for 16 years.
King in 2015 retired from the city of Marysville where he worked as a traffic signal technician and electrician. In addition to volunteering, he has time to give back to the community, he said.
“It’s time for a fresh perspective on the City Council, and I feel I’ve got the time, the knowledge and passion about our city,” King said.
Seibert said the city has made great strides in utility, transportation and parks infrastructure, economic development that has stimulated more retail activity and other investments. There are some big ticket projects that he’s eager to see through.
He cited Ebey waterfront development, five-lane design for State Avenue from 100th to 116th, the First Street bypass, and calls for a new public safety building and jail, to name a few.
“These are wonderful projects that we got started, and I would like to see some of them finished,” Seibert said.
Bob Weiss is running against incumbent Jeff Vaughan. Weiss said he has no problems with Vaughan, he just thinks with his different life experiences he would be a good addition to the council.
Vaughan, 49, said he has been a productive member of the council for years, and wants to continue in that role.
“I have a record of service that shows consistency and diligence in working on important challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, increasing local job opportunities and increasing the safety of our neighborhoods,” Vaughan said.
Weiss, 59, said he lived in New Jersey, Arizona and Texas before moving to Marysville.
“I have an engineer’s training and experience and have worked in several industries, both in tooling/industrial engineering and product engineering,” he said. “I hope to apply the knowledge I’ve gained to make Marysville a better place to live. I also want to try to keep the city running as efficiently as possible.”
Incumbent Michael Stevens is pitted against newcomer Elijah Olson. The challenger, 34, has kept a low profile, reporting no money raised and not responding to a candidate questionnaire. He also did not provide information or a photo for use in the local voter’s pamphlet.
Stevens, 41, has served on the City Council since 2010 and as a director on the Marysville Fire District since 2012. He wants to continue to serve.
“During my tenure on the council, we have improved our downtown and waterfront access, developed a plan and secured funding to connect the city to (the) Centennial Trail and established an effective street improvement plan that is bolstered by Transportation Benefit District funding,” he said. “Additionally, Marysville will benefit from several key projects in the Connecting Washington Transportation package improving access to and from I-5.”
That’s been possible in part because the city has maintained a healthy financial position, he said.