EVERETT — City Councilwoman Cassie Franklin has joined the race for mayor.
Franklin, 45, is the third candidate to announce a campaign for the seat currently by Mayor Ray Stephanson. Stephanson announced in January that he would not seek re-election.
Originally from Oregon, Franklin moved to Everett five years ago with her husband, David, a computer engineer, and their daughter. They live in the Port Gardner neighborhood.
“This is the kind of community I’ve always wanted to be part of,” Franklin said. “The fresh eyes that I bring to these issues are absolutely needed in government now.”
Stephanson has endorsed Franklin.
“Obviously we’ve paid a lot of time and attention to the most vulnerable in our community, and she clearly has been a champion in Cocoon House,” Stephanson said. “She has a very strong sense of getting the right team around her and how important that is to any mayor’s success.”
Franklin’s top priorities are public safety, which includes the challenges of homelessness, addiction and mental health, and diversifying Everett’s economy beyond aerospace.
“We’ve been relying on it for far too long,” she said. “We need to be able to expand on that.”
That means bringing in more retail and industry, especially in areas such as the Everett Mall and the former Kimberly-Clark waterfront property.
On the public safety front, the city’s police department has shown it can adapt to new programs addressing homelessness, she said. However, city leaders will have to adjust those programs as needs change, much like what’s happened at Cocoon House.
“Now we’re seeing 12-year-olds who are opioid-addicted dropping into our center at the same time as 20-year-olds. How do we deal with it?” she said. “That plan is going to have to be adaptable because this environment is changing daily.”
The next mayor also will need to continue working with the Legislature to remove the bottleneck at the state police academy so the city can fill officer vacancies. A number of officer retirements are expected this year.
Franklin said the city likely will need more supportive housing projects for the chronically homeless, such as the building planned for the Pinehurst-Glacier View area near Evergreen Way. She’d like to create more partnerships with other cities, along with neighborhoods, nonprofits and churches.
“The city of Everett alone can’t build our way out of this … The community needs to be working on this problem,” she said.