MARYSVILLE — Candidates running for Marysville City Council plan to focus on reducing traffic, creating jobs and curbing opioid addiction in the city.
Five people hope to fill one position, now held by Councilmember Rob Toyer. He’s leaving after two terms in hopes of becoming Snohomish County treasurer.
Those in the running are Todd Fahlman, Gary Kemp, Kelly Richards, Noah Rui and Jeff Seibert.
Fahlman, 50, has lived in Marysville for more than two decades and has a real estate business there.
He started to become more involved with the city about five years ago when he began to join clubs and volunteer at the food bank.
“My love for Marysville has deepened,” he said. “I feel it’s my time to give back.”
If elected, Fahlman plans to focus on reducing crime, creating affordable housing and opening more parks. He also would like to see renovations to the Boys & Girls Club.
One of his major concerns is with drug dealers in the city.
“I would like to see a much, much harder position on the low-level drug dealers,” he said. “I have a very personal issue with that with my children going to high school.”
Fahlman has been visiting the WhistleStop Sweet Shop, 1508 Third St., the first day of every month to meet with voters. He plans to continue if elected.
Kemp, 48, grew up in Marysville. It’s also where he met his wife and raised his children.
Kemp and his family moved to Eastern Washington years ago, and in 2015 came back to the Snohomish County city.
After two years at home, Kemp tried to run for Marysville City Council but was 30 days shy of meeting the residency requirement.
He wanted to try again, and this year seemed like the right time. He didn’t want to run against an incumbent because he admires the work of the current council.
If elected, Kemp plans to focus on solutions for opioid addiction, better roads and affordable housing.
“My kids can’t afford to buy a house these days because of the wages and prices,” he said. “It’s not working.”
Richards, 59, is a paraprofessional at Pinewood Elementary School. He teaches small groups of children and watches over students on the playfield.
He’s also been on the city’s planning commission for the past seven years, where he works closely with the city council.
Richards has called Marysville home since 2004. He and his wife live in the house she grew up in.
If elected, Richards would like to increase the number of jobs, including in the Cascade Industrial Center — a growing hub that’s split between Marysville and Arlington. The number of jobs there is expected to triple in the next decade.
He also would like to work on reducing opioid addiction, and continue a city program that pairs police and social workers.
“The city has got a pretty good thing going, we just have to expand it and make it work for everybody,” he said.
Richards believes he’d be the best fit because of his recent involvement with city council.
“I have the most background as far as where we’re at and how we got here having been on the planning commission,” he said.
Rui, 36, moved from China to Marysville about 14 years ago. In February, he took Mayor Jon Nehring and some city councilmembers to the country he grew up.
“I am proud to be an American citizen, but I also am proud of the unusual path that has led me here,” Rui said. “Before moving to America, I lived in a community with dirt floors and no plumbing or electricity.”
Rui serves on Nehring’s Diversity Advisory Committee and has helped established a sister city relationship between Marysville and Yue Quing City in China.
If elected, he plans to focus on public safety, building jobs and easing traffic. He believes he’s the best choice because of skills he’s learned on the advisory committee.
When Rui moved to the area, he found a job and began school at Everett Community College. He later received his real estate license and now works at the PUD.
Rui hopes to make Marysville more than a bedroom community.
“Policies that I introduce and support will always be centered around a high quality of life and opportunities for all of our residents to grow,” he said.
Seibert, 58, is the only candidate who has been an elected official before — he served on the Marysville City Council for 16 years. He was up for reelection in 2017, when Councilmember Tom King was voted into the position.
Seibert has lived in Marysville since 1987 and has been an electrician for three decades.
During his time on city council, Seibert voted against raising property taxes and worked to bring more businesses to Marysville, he said.
If elected, he plans to create more affordable housing, to help stop opioid addiction and to focus on public safety by supporting the police and fire departments.
He believes he’s the best choice because of his time on the council and on multiple committees.
“I have a 16-year record of serving our community,” he said. “I have shown that I will do what is best for our citizens.”
Seibert has been endorsed by Mayor Nehring and a few councilmembers, including Toyer who currently holds the position.
Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. Aug. 6. Marysville’s drop box is in the City Hall parking lot, at 1049 State Ave.
The top two candidates will move forward to the Nov. 5 general election.