Smith is the clear choice

Lynnwood has a migrating center of gravity. For outsiders and Lynnwoodites alike, the Alderwood Mall is its anchor. The tendency is to look at the city through a prism, at segments of suburbia. What is drive-through country for I-5 commuters, however, is home to 36,000 souls. Neighborhoods and families are the sum of the city’s parts. They even eclipse the mall and all-thing-Nordstrom.

Mending the legacy of poor urban planning will take decades; it also requires farsighted, cohesive leadership to reignite a spirit community. The citizens of Lynnwood may get just that if they elect Nicola Smith mayor in November.

As The Herald Editorial Board noted in July, incumbent Mayor Don Gough has been an anemic and morale-bruising chief executive, with an abrasive style inversely proportional to the regard regional leaders have for his leadership. The people of Lynnwood deserve better.

Nicola Smith is the consummate citizen candidate. The dean of student life and development at Edmonds Community College, Smith took a calculated risk entering a race that included two seasoned city councilmen along with a beleaguered incumbent.

Voters, craving a fresh start, gave Smith a plurality in the August primary.

Smith combines an administrative grounding with experience finessing budgets, two critical skill sets for mayor. Like fellow candidate Mark Smith, who lost in the primary, Nicola Smith has an international-studies background that aligns with the city’s evolving demographics. Over the next several years, first-generation Americans will help shape Lynnwood’s economy along with its political culture.

There is work to do. This includes the basics of repairing communications within the city’s administrative departments as well as elevating a leader who can serve as a clear, strong voice in the final alignment of light rail. The smart-growth development of city center and the expansion and preservation of neighborhood parks are two essentials.

Nicola Smith’s agenda is foundational, with an emphasis on staff management, city services and fiscal stewardship. Her message and appeal span the political spectrum — a refreshing sign that puts people, not party first. Endorsers include her two primary opponents, Mark Smith and Loren Simmonds, along with sensible, well-regarded Republicans such as Renee Radcliff Sinclair and equally sensible Democrats such as Ruth Kagi and Mary Helen Roberts. Once elected, Smith shouldn’t hesitate to tap these political and community leaders to give Lynnwood an effective regional voice.

Nicola Smith is a political newcomer, yes, and that’s a distinct advantage. She has the experience, integrity and vision to do enormous good for the people of Lynnwood.

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