LAKE STEVENS — Election season here is looking a little like a Guns N’ Hoses tournament.
Unlike a charity sporting event, a police officer and a firefighter are playing for keeps in their upcoming campaigns.
City Councilman Brett Gailey, an Everett police officer, recently announced that he’s entering the mayor’s race. His council colleague Kurt Hilt, a south county firefighter-paramedic, started campaigning earlier this year for the city’s top job.
Current Mayor John Spencer has opted not to run for re-election to take care of his ailing wife.
Gailey, 47, believes his experience as a police officer, soldier and public servant makes him the best fit.
“I’ve always been a leadership kind of a person, whether it’s in my law enforcement role or my military role,” he said last week.
Gailey served on the city planning commission before he ran unopposed for the City Council in 2017. After just over a year, he’s looking to step up the ladder. He’d like to see the city, population 32,570, address its needs for more parks and athletic fields, while working to attract businesses big and small.
“It’s a growing community, and we need to make sure that we’re balancing out growth,” he said. “Not only our residential growth, but making sure we provide the amenities that our residents require.”
Gailey has been in the military for 24 years. He is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, and said he served two tours of duty in Iraq.
“I have a planning focus and a let’s-get-the-mission-done type of mentality,” he said.
His police career spans 20 years, most of the time in patrol. He worked in Boise, Idaho, before coming to work in Everett in 2004.
His job puts him in regular contact with the area’s homeless population, an ongoing concern for his constituents in Lake Stevens.
“I think I’m uniquely positioned to deal with that issue because it’s what I deal with every day in Everett,” he said. “If it’s not housing and growth, they (constituents) go right into talking about their concerns about homelessness in the city.”
Hilt, 48, is nearing the end of his first term in office. He has worked as a firefighter-paramedic for nearly 20 years. As a professional, he has responded to natural disasters, including the Oso mudslide, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria. Through his role on the City Council, he serves on the state and county boards of health.
If elected mayor, Hilt said his top priority would be working to secure money to upgrade the U.S. 2 trestle.
The outgoing mayor has endorsed Hilt to take over the job.
The coming election season could bring some churn on the Lake Stevens City Council, where three of the seven positions are up for election.
Shawn Frederick has filed paperwork to start campaigning for Hilt’s Position No. 3 seat.
City Councilman Todd Welch faces a challenge from Mary Dickinson for Position No. 4.
Anjanette Jorstad has filed campaign-finance paperwork with the state for council Position No. 5. The incumbent in that seat, Rauchel McDaniel, had yet to make a similar move.
The paperwork filed so far allows prospective candidates to start election activities. The official filing period will be May 13–17.