Top from left: Roger Pence, Christine Eck and Mackey Guenther. Bottom from left: Michelle Dotsch, Susan Paine and Kevin Fagerstrom.

Top from left: Roger Pence, Christine Eck and Mackey Guenther. Bottom from left: Michelle Dotsch, Susan Paine and Kevin Fagerstrom.

Housing, zoning, policing are top topics in Edmonds City Council races

At least two seats will be filled by fresh faces. One incumbent, Susan Paine, faces a challenger, Kevin Fagerstrom.

EDMONDS — Finances, population growth, public safety and the environment are major topics in three contested races for Edmonds City Council.

At least two of the seats will be filled by fresh faces.

Christine Eck and Roger Pence are seeking the seat now held by Dave Teitzel in Position 1.

Either Mackey Guenther or Michelle Dotsch will take Position 4, held by council member Diane Buckshnis.

Council member Susan Paine is running for re-election for Position 6, with Kevin Fagerstrom hoping to unseat her.

Incumbents Vivian Olson and Jenna Nand are unopposed.

Position 1

Roger Pence

Roger Pence

Roger Pence

Pence, 78, a former King County transit planner, opposed the state’s move to override local zoning laws, and thinks the city and local property owners should be at the head of addressing population growth.

He wants to bring Edmonds up to current ADA standards. He said he is an ally of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. He has roots in Edmonds, while his opponent moved to Edmonds last year, he said.

“We need someone who knows the city of Edmonds,” he said. “Her learning curve would be very long.”

Pence has been staying up-to-date on city issues and attending City Council meetings for a long time, he said.

Pence, a former communications specialist for the Pentagon, is endorsed by current council members Neil Tibbott, Will Chen, Jenna Nand and Dave Teitzel.

Christine Eck

Christine Eck

Christine Eck

Eck, 56, has lived in south Snohomish County for almost 30 years. She’s currently a Snohomish County planning commissioner.

Eck is endorsed by Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson and council member Susan Paine. Other endorsements include state Sen. Marko Liias and Reps. Strom Peterson and Lillian Ortiz-Self..

If elected, Eck would support diverse housing options to address affordability.

“You know we have a problem when our teachers and firefighters can’t afford to live in the community,” she said.

She wants to expand green space and preserve the city’s tree canopy.

Eck would support funding for projects to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. She favors narrowing roads, decreasing speed limits and installing red light traffic cameras in the city.

Eck would also work to increase resources for mental health and addiction services.

Eck said she moved “three miles” from Lynnwood to Edmonds last year. She argued her decades of professional leadership experience, as well as being a working mother and community member qualify her to serve in Edmonds.

When asked how she differs from her opponent, Eck said, “I am motivated not by my grievances,” she said. “I am driven by wanting to get out there and use my skills and leadership to move things forward and help the community.”

Position 4

Mackey Guenther

Mackey Guenther

Mackey Guenther

Guenther, 22, wants to have a say in the decisions affecting his generation’s future.

He served as a planning and development intern for the city in 2022, and he’s studying neuroscience and economics at Seattle Central College.

His endorsements include Paine and state Rep. Peterson.

“I am going to be dealing with the decisions the city makes for the rest of my life,” Guenther said. “I want to have a family here and I want them to grow up in a city that’s as good for them as it was for me.”

He plans to do this by focusing on climate issues, diversity, housing affordability and public safety. Guenther wants to ensure each child in the city has access to nature, so he supports increasing green space in Edmonds.

Edmonds should offer competitive salaries to bring in more police officers, Guenther said. He would propose subsidies for first responders to assist with housing costs.

Edmonds’ housing crunch could be addressed if the city supported “compact” development, he said. He would propose codes ensuring new developments are up to high environmental standards and maintain existing neighborhood aesthetics.

Michelle Dotsch

Michelle Dotsch

Michelle Dotsch

Dotsch, 56, did not respond to a Daily Herald request for an interview.

A first-time candidate, she owns a dental practice and is president of the Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds.

City Council members Teitzel, Tibbott, and Buckshnis have endorsed Dotsch.

She wants to focus on environmental preservation, safe neighborhoods and “responsible growth,” according to her candidate bio.

“I pledge to work collaboratively, continue to seek out and listen to all voices around local issues, and to work for a more responsive and candid government,” she wrote. “I am about good policy, not politics.”

Position 6

Susan Paine

Susan Paine

Susan Paine

Paine, 61, was elected to the council in 2019.

Her endorsements include several Democratic state legislators, Planned Parenthood and former Edmonds City Council members Laura Johnson and Luke Distelhorst.

Paine’s priorities are economic growth, sustainability and public safety.

She wants to “get people out of cars” by strengthening public transportation. She also hopes to make the city more electric-vehicle friendly. She wants to improve sidewalks, add bike lanes and lower speed limits.

Paine is passionate about preserving the environment, stating, “Now is the time we really need to act on the climate crisis and what we can do here in Edmonds to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Paine worked in courts for 20 years and often helped domestic violence survivors with protection orders.

“I have always worked closely with law enforcement,” she said.

In her professional experience as a regulatory adviser in Seattle, she worked to ensure policy was smoothly put into place, which she believes gives her a leg up over her opponent.

“I think Edmonds is such a great place to live,” she said. “It’s a place that will always attract more visitors and I want to make sure it’s a welcoming place for everyone.”

Kevin Fagerstrom

Kevin Fagerstrom

Fagerstrom, 70, is the former Everett code enforcement director. He worked in the King County Sheriff’s Office for 33 years.

He is endorsed by three former Edmonds mayors: Dave Earling, Gary Haakenson and Barbara Fahey. He is also endorsed by current City Council members Buckshnis, Teitzel and Tibbott.

“We need to get real,” Fagerstrom said, stating Edmonds has huge issues at hand such as population growth, homelessness and public safety. These are regional concerns, Fagerstrom said, and the city should work with neighboring communities to address them.

“Society has turned their back on law enforcement,” he said. He wants to do everything he can to restore this bond and recruit more police to protect the community.

He believes his opponent doesn’t have the community’s best interest at heart.

“I’m not satisfied with the direction city government has been taking for the last few years,” he said.

If elected, he said he would support policy to ensure Edmonds is a good city for his grandchildren and other children.

Ballots are due Tuesday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect quote from Christine Eck. Eck said she moved “three miles” from Lynnwood to Edmonds last year.

Ashley Nash: 425-339-3037; ashley.nash@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @ash_nash00.

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