MUKILTEO — He lost the mayor’s job more than five years ago, and now he’s angling to get back into politics.
Joe Marine wasted no time putting in his name to run for the Mukilteo City Council this year. He filed paperwork with the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office on Monday, the first day to file online or in person.
“I felt the city might be backsliding, and I figured I could come in there and give them some help,” Marine said.
Marine won’t be the only recognizable figure entering a Mukilteo council race this season.
There’s also Peter Zieve, the controversial aerospace exec who was behind an anonymous postcard campaign against a Muslim group’s plan to build a house of worship in Mukilteo. Zieve is running for a different seat.
Marine is looking to fill City Council Position No. 7. City Councilwoman Christine Cook, who now holds the post, won’t be seeking re-election, he said.
Cook couldn’t be reached to confirm her plans.
Marine, who served on the City Council from 1998 to 2001, was first elected to lead the city in 2005 and won another term four years later. In 2013, he was beaten at the polls by the current mayor, Jennifer Gregerson. He returned to work as an insurance broker.
Though he often disagrees with Gregerson, Marine said he still supports the current “strong” mayor form of government. There’s been talk on the City Council of doing away with an independently elected mayor and switching to a council-manager system in which council members select one of their own to be mayor. The council could vote later this month on putting the issue to voters.
“I’m not a big supporter of Jennifer, but it’s not about her,” Marine said. “It’s like we need new carpet, but let’s burn down the house. That’s what elections are for. You don’t throw out the whole form of government.”
Marine said he’s been disappointed by the city’s failure to open a new park-and-ride lot in town, among other issues.
During his time as mayor, Marine, like most leaders in the city, raised concerns about regular commercial flights at Paine Field. He said his specific worry was that the passenger terminal would hurt aerospace manufacturing at the airport. Now that flights started in March, he said he’s satisfied there won’t be conflicts.
Council members in Mukilteo earn $500 per month. The council seat is nonpartisan. Throughout his career, Marine has identified as a Republican.
Four of the council’s seven seats are up for election.
Councilman Steve Schmalz said he won’t be seeking a third term in Position 4.
That’s the seat Zieve is looking to fill. Zieve founded the firm Electroimpact in the 1980s and became an enormously successful aerospace entrepreneur. He’s also stirred up controversy during the past few years.
In 2016, he tried to raise fears that a proposed mosque would become a haven for terrorists. He sent out anonymous mailers, but apologized for riling people up after his involvement became public.
A year later, alleged discrimination against Electroimpact employees resulted in a $485,000 state fine against the firm. The attorney general concluded that Zieve refused to hire Muslim applicants, harassed workers based on their religious faith and rewarded employees who married and had children.
Zieve lost a city council race in 2017.
Also running for Position No. 4 this year is Charles Eakins. Four years ago, Eakins came up short when he challenged Cook for her seat. A newspaper story from the time described him as a software developer and an artist.
In another Mukilteo council race, incumbent Richard Emery is being challenged by Exekiel Aranez.
Christopher Maddux has filed for council Position No. 5, now held by Councilman Scott Whelpley.
More candidates could turn out. Candidate filing for this year ends Friday afternoon. All told, 188 offices will be on the ballot. The primary election is Aug. 6.
Reporter Andrea Brown contributed to this story.