EVERETT — Cassie Franklin has about six weeks to get ready to lead Snohomish County’s largest city.
On Thursday, she was starting to put together a transition team. Members will include folks from business, aerospace, faith organizations, the housing industry, and underrepresented populations, she said.
“It’s very humbling to be elected mayor, and I’m incredibly honored,” she said. “I really want to do everything I can to serve this community.”
Still, Franklin acknowledges that her victory was by no means a mandate. In the latest tally, she was ahead of fellow City Councilwoman Judy Tuohy by just 198 votes. That amounts to a difference of less than 2 percent of the 17,470 ballots counted so far. Tuohy conceded Wednesday night, saying she was looking forward to working with Franklin.
In many parts of the city, the votes from a single household were enough to decide the precinct, and a handful of precincts were tied, according to canvass data. Write-in candidates — presumably led by businessman Gary Watts — collected 11.8 percent of the turn-out.
Franklin won in 53 precincts while Tuohy claimed 38. Write-in votes didn’t take any precincts, but in many cases they made the difference between Franklin and Tuohy.
The two candidates differed in experience and history but shared significant overlaps in their platforms.
Franklin reads the election results as confirmation that voters shared the candidates’ concerns about public safety and social issues, along with economics and civic involvement.
“Sitting down with Judy is going to be one of my top priorities,” she said.
People who supported Watts were “frustrated with what we’re seeing on our streets and feeling like we’re not making progress,” Franklin said. She hopes to connect with those folks as well.
Franklin declined to share names from her transition team while she confirms the line-up. They will be helping her make goals for the first year in office, she said.
New mayors sometimes switch up city department leaders, including the police and fire chiefs.
Franklin said she plans to meet with department heads and others in appointed positions, “to make sure we have the right team in place,” she said.
One key conversation with law enforcement will be about addressing the surge in gang violence, she said.
Franklin will face budget decisions in an era when the city’s expenses are growing faster than revenues. There are never-ending demands for services, and years of tensions have bubbled over police staffing and working conditions for firefighters.
Franklin said she is aiming for a leadership style of “transparency and inclusion.” She does not expect to return to her work at the nonprofit Cocoon House. She stepped down as CEO earlier in the campaign.
Tuohy also shared a message Thursday on her campaign’s Facebook page.
The race “did provide a great platform for many voices being heard and many issues raised to a high level of importance and I am determined to keep those issues at the forefront,” she wrote.
Franklin’s council seat will need to be filled. The timeline for that will be decided by the council members.
Reporter Scott North contributed to this story.