EVERETT — Everett City Councilwoman Judy Tuohy announced Friday she is running for mayor.
Tuohy, 62, is seeking to replace Mayor Ray Stephanson, who on Feb. 2 said he would not run for re-election. Stephanson has been mayor since 2003, making him the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history.
Snohomish County Councilman Brian Sullivan also announced in January he is running for mayor.
Tuohy has deep roots in Everett. She graduated from Everett High School, attended Central Washington University and worked in education and retail before becoming the executive director of the Arts Council of Snohomish County in 1995, now known as the Schack Art Center.
Tuohy won election for an unexpired term for Council in 2014, and was elected to a full term in 2015.
She said she is running for mayor because she believes citizens should have choices in their leaders, and that she can continue the momentum established by Stephanson on many issues.
“I really believe that Everett should really be the best place to live in the Northwest,” Tuohy said.
“I know there’s lots of things to do to get there with a projected population growth of 28,000 over the next 10 years. We need a strategic vision to ensure the growth we get is the growth we need and want.”
Everett now is home to an estimated 108,000 people, so the city is forceast to grow by more than 25 percent.
If she wins in November, Tuohy said her priorities would be on improving public safety, increasing economic growth and strengthening the neighborhoods.
Most recently as city council president, Tuohy initiated a plan to assign council members as liaisons to all the city’s neighborhood associations. She also wants to connect the local schools with those associations to involve parents more in civic affairs.
“Some neighborhoods felt neglected and out of loop,” she said. “I think we can do a better job of engaging and communicating with all our neighborhoods.”
She said she doesn’t anticipate making major shifts in policy from Stephanson’s administration. She promised to monitor the city’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over the opioid crisis, make sure the Evergreen Branch expansion project of the Everett Public Library is completed, and is open to building more housing projects for the homeless in line with the current project planned for central Everett near Evergreen Way.
“I would support more if that’s what we needed to do,” Tuohy said. “I would also hope that other communities step up that are near us so all the burden doesn’t fall on Everett.”
Tuohy said she wants to find new ways to fund parks and recreation in the city.
“It gets harder and harder to fund them the way I think they should be funded. At the end of the day it’s one of the easiest places to cut,” she said.
Tuohy lives in the Port Gardner neighborhood and has two adult children. Her husband, attorney Tom Tuohy, died in 2007.