SNOHOMISH — A shift in Snohomish leadership is nearly here.
Come November, the city plans to adopt a new way of conducting business under a different form of government. The first strong mayor in more than four decades is expected to take office next month.
Meanwhile, the City Council also could feature almost entirely new faces, though some candidates vying for seats are familiar with small-town government.
Five of the council’s seven positions are up for election. Councilwoman Karen Guzak, who is running for mayor, also would cede her position if elected.
Among other changes, the city is considering the option of allowing marijuana businesses to operate in town. An advisory measure will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot asking voters for input.
Many candidates have said they would follow the direction of the advisory measure results. A couple, including mayoral candidate John Kartak, have opposed the idea.
The new City Council will play a key role as Snohomish moves into its next chapter.
Daryl Ferguson, 51, is campaigning against incumbent Jason Sanders, 48.
The council appointed Sanders in January after former councilman Zachary Wilde resigned. Sanders serves on the city’s economic-development committee and the EvergreenHealth Monroe Foundation’s board. He has worked for Puget Sound Energy for the past 18 years.
Ferguson unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2005. That year, he campaigned against Guzak and R.C. “Swede” Johnson, whose name also will appear on the November ballot.
Ferguson said he has worked in real estate since 2003. He currently works for Realty One Group as a broker. Prior to that, he owned a janitorial business based out of Snohomish.
Johnson is campaigning against Tom Merrill, a first-time candidate.
Johnson, 74, retired from the Snohomish Public Utility District after 31 years. He also spent 18 years in sales at Bickford Motors.
Johnson served four years on the City Council, and four more on the Snohomish County Council. He also was on the Snohomish School Board for a decade. He is one of a few candidates who have spoken out against marijuana stores coming to town.
The city implemented zoning restrictions in 2014 prohibiting the production, processing and sale of marijuana. The upcoming advisory measure asks voters whether they would support lifting those restrictions.
Merrill, 65, has 30 years of experience in computer information systems. He was the director of technology at Bellevue-based PACCAR for 20 years. He since has started a coaching practice helping young managers develop skills.
Merrill served on Snohomish’s open-government committee, as well as a couple nonprofit boards.
Bob Dvorak, 60, and Linda Redmon, 47, are campaigning for another seat.
Dvorak is the director of the Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett. Before that, he worked in construction and in corporate leadership for clothing stores such as Nordstrom. He also was the executive director of Snohomish’s senior center.
Dvorak is the president of the Kla Ha Ya Days festival and has participated on the Hal Moe Pool committee, a group that researched renovation ideas for the recreation site.
Redmon volunteered on the same committee. She also has helped out at Emerson Elementary, the Boys & Girls Club and the local food bank. Redmon was elected to serve on Snohomish County Tomorrow where she works with representatives from the county, 19 cities and the Tulalip Tribes.
She owns Redmon Psychological Services in town. She previously has worked as a health educator, nutritionist and massage therapist.
Larry Countryman, long a figure in Snohomish politics, is vying for a council seat against newcomer Eric Reyes.
Countryman, 77, graduated from Snohomish High School and served on the City Council in the 1970s and 1980s. He has owned Countryman Bed and Breakfast for about 30 years. He also is a retired artist and has restored historic homes as a contractor.
Reyes, 30, moved to Snohomish in October 2016 with his young son. He sells advertising for Sinclair Broadcast Group. Before that, he managed a marijuana store in Kirkland and worked for the AquaSox.
Reyes acknowledged he had run-ins with police when he was younger.
He was charged with driving while under the influence in 2009 and later admitted to negligent driving. In 2015, a court commissioner signed off on a protection order against Reyes after a woman accused him of domestic violence. Reyes said he was not aware of the order.
The Daily Herald checks court history for candidates running for public office.
Steve Dana and Lisa Caldwell, who both were interviewed for Wilde’s position earlier this year, again are running against each other.
Dana, 67, served as mayor for four years and a councilman for another eight years. He has been involved with the city in some capacity since 1987, including the planning commission and food bank board.
Before the restaurant closed, Dana ran the Hub Drive-in. He now works as a real estate agent with Century 21.
Caldwell works in sales and marketing for Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in Monroe. She has lived in Snohomish for 31 years, but her husband’s family bought the home where she lives in 1896. Her great-grandfather was a blacksmith and his shop is still in their back yard.
Ballots are scheduled to be mailed out to voters on Thursday.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; email@example.com.
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