By Rikki King Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — Four people are vying to serve as Lynnwood’s mayor next year, including current controversial Mayor Don Gough.
Gough hasn’t spoken publicly about his campaign since filing two weeks ago.
The other candidates running for the mayor’s job are current council members Loren Simmonds and Mark Smith, as well as Nicola Smith, a dean at Edmonds Community College. This is Nicola Smith’s first run for office. She is not related to Mark Smith.
Gough did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story.
All three of the candidates who did speak with The Herald said they want to address the city’s financial troubles, including several recent rebukes by the state Auditor’s Office.
Simmonds, 70, has been on the council 14 years, including six as president.
The economic downturn and leadership problems have hurt the city in recent years, he said.
“I honestly believe that our collective psyche has been bruised badly, and the fabric of our unity within the community has been dealt a heavy blow,” he said.
If elected as mayor, Simmonds wants to focus on “healing and building,” he said.
Mark Smith, 51, has been on the council eight years. The city’s long-term financial goals need work, he said.
“I think it’s time for new leadership and a different direction in the city,” he said. “I think I can bring a skill set and the ability to work with people to the mayor’s office.”
Mark Smith wants to create a team atmosphere and do a better job providing answers to people in town who have questions for City Hall, he said.
Nicola Smith, 54, has worked at the community college 26 years. Her current title is dean of student life and development.
She was encouraged by friends in the business community to run for mayor, she said. If elected, she hopes to streamline the city’s permit process and improve employee morale.
“We have great people that work in the city, and I think they need to be empowered to do their job well,” she said.
Gough has been mayor since 2006 and served on the council for years before that.
He’s been at the center of several personnel investigations in recent years, at least one of which resulted in a settlement for a former city employee.
Voters in 2011 chose not to support a measure aimed at stripping the mayor’s office of much of its power. The idea was pushed by those who disagreed with Gough’s leadership style.
The primary election is Aug. 6. The two candidates who receive the most votes will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Primary ballots mail out in June and July.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.