LYNNWOOD — The Position 2 council race is full of familiar faces.
Lynnwood City Councilmember Patrick Decker, who was appointed in June following the resignation of Councilmember Ian Cotton, will face former Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission Naz Lashgari and former Mayor Don Gough.
The three have little overlap in their vision for the city, with the exception of citing a need to improve access to human services. All three candidates have served in leadership roles on city commissions.
Decker has been involved in several of the city’s decision-making boards since the early 2000s.
“My time on the Planning Commission — when we were looking at this growth years ago — makes me very uniquely qualified for this role,” Decker said. “I’ve been involved where we were laying down the guidelines, the building codes and the zoning for this infrastructure and for this growth that we know is coming.”
Among his top priorities is addressing minor crime, which he said he believes can be tackled through expanding access to mental and behavioral health resources.
“It comes down to how do we help those segments of society that are behaving in this way?” Decker said. “And it really comes to, largely, we need to address the drug use, and the mental health issues.”
Decker said he also believes the city should prioritize building the infrastructure that will support existing public transportation and new commercial growth.
“We need to find a way to partner with Community Transit and other organizations that are using our infrastructure to ensure that they’re helping us maintain that infrastructure in a way that works for their business model,” Decker said.
When Decker was running for a council seat in 2008, he told the Herald that he feels he has the ability to work well with people on either side of an issue and has more of a “moderate personality.”
Lashgari said she has a clear vision for the city, which she began developing while chairing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission.
Lashgari said she championed the commission’s “All are Welcome” campaign and said if elected she hopes to continue working toward a more accessible and equitable city.
“I know that structural and institutionalized racism has held back many people in the world, especially in America, especially in Washington, especially in Lynnwood and I want to make sure that we remove those barriers,” Lashgari said. “I want to make sure that we live in a community where everyone feels that their voice is heard and that (the community) knows that I do care, that I’m here because I care, and only for the love of Lynnwood.”
If elected, she said she hopes to advocate for sustained community partnerships with law enforcement that ensure people of color and members of the LGBTQ community feel safe. Her other priorities include diversifying residential zoning options to permit a variety of home types as well as executing citywide infrastructure improvements.
Lashgari previously made an unsuccessful run for Position 4 in 2019.
During the pandemic, Lashgari expanded her leadership skills while working in a supervisory role at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, which specialize in serving Latino communities.
“I think those are fantastic skills to have to be able to lead on city council because we have to understand that all of our communities are becoming more and more diverse by the day, and I’m very proud of that,” Lashgari said. “And I celebrate diversity, and I celebrate the fact that people from all over the world and all walks of life are part of our community and this is something that has to be celebrated.”
Gough served as mayor from 2005-2013 following a 10-year stint on the City Council. His eight-year tenure as mayor included calls for his resignation and several audits that revealed poor recordkeeping practices.
In his bid to return to the council, he said the city needs a new “vision.”
“If you’re going to have a vision, you have to be able to — and this is a really tough part — identify what programs and services are going to fulfill those broad ideas,” he said. “But also then connect it to the budget.”
Gough said he spearheaded the city’s last efforts to develop a community-led vision in 2009. He said the vision focused on creating a more open, welcoming city, enhancing public services and making sure the city’s growth was sustainable.
A new vision would create the blueprint for the city’s path forward, he said.
Gough said he also hopes to bring some of his own vision — including addressing homelessness and strengthening public safety services — to council, if elected.
The two candidates who receive the most votes will appear on the general election ballot in November. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 3. Ballot drop boxes and in-person voting are available until 8 p.m. on election day.
Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BredaIsabella
Experience: Mayor, 2005-13; City Council 1995-2005.
Experience: Chair, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission 2017-21;
Experience: City Council, 2021-present; Lynnwood Planning Commission, former member.