LAKE STEVENS — Those running for city council in the growing lakeside town are focused on public safety, reducing traffic, and increasing the number of jobs.
Three people are vying for one four-year position on the Lake Stevens City Council. Incumbent Todd Welch is seeking a third term.
He’s up against Carolyn Bennett and Mary Dickinson. Neither have held public office before.
The Aug. 6 primary election comes as the city is working with Costco Wholesale to potentially build a store along Highway 9. Other big projects are coming to that road, including work on an intersection near Frontier Village.
Welch, 49, has been on the city council for eight years and has lived in Lake Stevens for about 15.
He moved to the area with the Navy in 1995, when he was assigned to Naval Station Everett aboard the USS Ingraham.
Welch hopes to stay on the City Council to see planned projects through to completion, such as the roadwork on Highway 9.
Another of his priorities is public safety. He’d like to retain the number of officers in the Lake Stevens Police Department and keep their training up-to-date.
He hopes to work on bringing more parks to the city and to create more jobs. That’s one of the reasons he’d like to see Issaquah-based Costco move in.
“I think they are exactly the kind of commercial partner the city wants to have,” he said. “It’s a good local company, they provide good wages to their employees, they are environmentally conscious.”
Welch believes he’s the best choice because of his experience, and the relationships he’s built with other city and county councilmembers, and state lawmakers.
“They know I’m somebody they can trust,” he said. “When I say something my integrity is there and I follow up.”
Bennett, 48, has spent most of her life in Lake Stevens. Her first job was at a drug store called Mitchell’s Pharmacy that used to be in Frontier Village.
“I’ve seen the ups and downs of the population boom, and all the challenges we’re experiencing, the growing pains,” she said. “So I certainly understand them from the inside out.”
Bennett became a reservist in the Marine Corps after high school, and attended Edmonds Community College and the University of Washington.
Heavy traffic is one of her biggest issues. She also has noticed more people who are homeless in Lake Stevens.
“I’ve experienced encampments in the property bordering my property, so I’ve dealt with the situation kind of directly and feel that is something we need to get ahead of and be proactive,” she said.
Lastly, she wants to bring more small businesses to Lake Stevens. She also is looking forward to a possible Costco, for sales tax revenue that could benefit those who live in the city.
Dickinson, 74, moved to Lake Stevens about three years ago to be closer to her children. She believes that’s one reason she’d be the best choice.
“Because I’m newer here, my eyes are fresher,” she said.
Dickinson first walked door-to-door when campaigning to bring a new library to the city.
“I met so many people and learned so much about this community that I decided I would like to serve this town,” she said.
She’s had the same neighborhood-surveying approach in her own campaign.
People told her they’d like to see safer walkways, affordable housing and a bigger library or community center with more resources. Those are some of the main issues she’d address on the City Council.
When it comes to Costco, Dickinson is worried about the impact on wetlands and the traffic and noise the big store could create. On the other hand, she’d like to see the tax dollars used on infrastructure in the city, such as sidewalks.
“I can’t say, ‘Ya-hoo, I’m so glad Costco is coming.’ I wish I could,” she said. “I do know we need something like that. We need that revenue.”
Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. Aug. 6. The drop box in Lake Stevens is located at 1800 Main St., near the boat launch.
The top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @stephrdavey.
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