(L-R): Ethel McNeal, Tyler Rourke and Liz Vogeli.

(L-R): Ethel McNeal, Tyler Rourke and Liz Vogeli.

Everett must fight opioids, 3 City Council candidates agree

Engineer Tyler Rourke and organizer Liz Vogeli challenge appointed incumbent Ethel McNeal

EVERETT — A neighborhood organizer, an engineer and an appointed incumbent are on the primary ballot for City Council Position 4.

Ethel McNeal, 68, currently holds the seat. In January, she was appointed by the council to the position vacated when Cassie Franklin was elected mayor. McNeal worked at the Edmonds School District for 18 years and served as union president for office personnel. She also has been assistant chairwoman of the Everett Council of Neighborhoods and a member of the Envision Everett 2037 effort.

Tyler Rourke, 38, works in aerospace as a project engineer. Rourke was a finalist to fill Franklin’s position in January. He leads the city’s transportation advisory committee and is a board member of the Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop. Rourke also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County.

Liz Vogeli, 41, chairs the Westmont-Holly neighborhood association, which she and a neighbor revamped a year ago. She served as an ombudsman for the Coast Guard for a year. Vogeli is the secretary for the 38th Legislative District Democrats. She helped organize the March For Our Lives this spring at the county courthouse and the March in Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees in south Everett.

McNeal said she’s spent the past six months on the council observing and getting acclimated.

“I got my feet wet. Now it’s time to start swimming,” she said.

All three candidates said opioids are a major issue.

“People are sick of finding passed out needle-users in their lawns in the morning,” Vogeli said.

Rourke, who has lived in central Everett for about 12 years, said he and others are frustrated. When he takes his children to the park, he searches for needles before they play, he said. Additionally, his family’s car was stolen earlier this month.

“It’s time-consuming and extremely aggravating,” he said.

McNeal said the city must change the culture with compassion and accountability.

“If the homeless people saw we genuinely cared and we’re going to do something about it, they’d either work with us or get out of town,” she said.

Vogeli said the city must continue its lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. The suit alleges the company has some fault in the prevalence of opioid abuse. She said the case could bring funds for treatment services.

Solving these problems requires help from everyone, McNeal said.

Each candidate said as the city grows, affordable housing needs to become more accessible.

Vogeli said she doesn’t want to see rising property taxes run residents out of Everett.

“I think the large businesses and corporations can pay their fair share,” she said.

Rourke said a lot of people working in Everett don’t live in the city.

“We need to make Everett people’s first choice,” he said. “But people need to be able to afford to live here.”

All three candidates live south of 41st Street and say the representation from the southern portion of the city is important.

As of Thursday, Rourke is leading in fundraising with $13,512, according to public records. Vogeli trails with $4,507. McNeal said she will raise less than $5,000 and is not reporting her campaign finances.

A position on the City Council pays about $28,000 a year. Ballots are due Aug. 7.

Joseph Thompson: 425-339-3430; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @JoeyJThomp.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic’s creeping back and some transit to collect fares again

Community Transit and Sound Transit are set to resume fares June 1, but not Everett Transit.

Neil Hubbard plays the bagpipes in front of a memorial at Floral Hills cemetery in Lynnwood Monday morning. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Memorial Day tradition continues in Lynnwood amid pandemic

Loved ones placed flags at Floral Hills cemetery as bagpipes played in the distance Monday morning.

COVID-19 and domestic violence

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Counting COVID deaths isn’t as simple as you might think

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Stillaguamish Tribe gives $1M to food banks, fire services

“I had to do a double take,” said the director of the Stanwood Camano Food Bank, which received $300,000.

Island County gets go-ahead for Phase 2 of reopening economy

People can gather in groups five or fewer. Some businesses can open, if they follow guidelines.

The town the virus seemed to miss: No cases counted in Index

Some in the town of 175 fear outsiders could bring in the virus. Others just want things to get back to normal.

Worst jobless rate in the state: Snohomish County at 20.2%

In April, 91,383 were unemployed in the county. The aerospace sector was hit especially hard.

Boeing worker accused of murder after Everett party shooting

Police say the suspect, 35, made sexual advances and opened fire when he was turned down.

Most Read