A look back at south Snohomish County politics in 2016

By Evan Smith

Politics around south Snohomish County in 2016 was marked by continued Democratic domination of local legislative races, but there were other events to look back on.

They include passage of several local tax levies, selection of a new Mountlake Terrace city manager and continued work on consolidation of local fire service.

Democrats won all seven south Snohomish County legislative positions on the Nov. 8 ballot despite intraparty challenges in three of the contests.

In the 1st Legislative District, the retirement of Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe set off a battle to replace her and another contest to replace State Rep. Luis Moscoso after Moscoso decided to run for the senate position.

Moscoso lost a close primary contest to fellow Democrat Guy Palumbo, who easily won election in November.

Moscoso’s unsuccessful primary bid for the senate brought four Democrats and a Republican into a contest to replace him. Democrat Shelley Kloba won the November election.

The third intraparty challenge came to Democratic 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi, who defeated a fellow Democrat by a greater than 6-1 margin in the primary and went on to beat her Republican opponent by a nearly 3-1 margin in November. Kagi won despite not getting an endorsement from the 32nd District Democratic organization.

State Reps. Derek Stanford in the 1st District, Cindy Ryu in the 32nd District and Reps. Strom Peterson and Lillian Ortiz-Self all won re-election easily.

In February, voters in the Edmonds School District passed a $59 million four-year levy for technology improvements and upgrades to buildings and sports fields. In August, voters in Mountlake Terrace passed a levy-lid lift to allow a four-year levy to pay rent on city-hall space and a continuing levy to pay for parks and recreation. In November, voters in Lynnwood passed a sales-tax increase for transportation improvements and voters in Fire District 1 re-authorized a regular property-tax levy, but voters in Woodway defeated a levy to support police, fire and emergency medical services.

Mountlake Terrace’s new city manager is long-time assistant city manager Scott Hugill. The city Council hired Hugill in May.

Fire service consolidation moved ahead when Lynnwood and Fire District 1 began negotiating to write a proposal to form a regional fire authority.

The city and the fire district had taken a first step toward consolidation in July, when Lynnwood Fire Chief Scott Cockrum, a strong supporter of regional fire authorities, also became Fire District 1 chief as part of a combined administration.

Negotiation for the regional fire authority continued into 2017 despite Cockrum’s having resigned after taking family medical leave.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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