From left: Nate Nehring, Nicole Ng-A-Qui and Richard Yust.

From left: Nate Nehring, Nicole Ng-A-Qui and Richard Yust.

Nehring faces two Democrats in County Council primary

Nicole Ng-A-Qui and Richard Yust are running to unseat the Republican, who joined the council in 2017.

MARYSVILLE — Republican Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring will face two Democrats in the August primary: small business owner Nicole Ng-A-Qui and golf course groundskeeper Richard Yust.

The top two candidates will advance to the November general election.

The council’s District 1 covers Marysville, Lake Stevens, Stanwood, Darrington and Granite Falls.

Nehring, 26, was appointed to the District 1 seat in early 2017 after former Councilman Ken Klein left for a job in Executive Dave Somers’ office.

Later that year, Nehring was elected to a four-year term, taking nearly 60% of the vote against Marysville Democrat Raymond Miler.

If re-elected, Nehring said, he’d continue to focus on addressing homelessness, promoting good jobs and maintaining a balanced budget.

Currently, he and others on the council are working on how to spend the $160 million headed to the county via the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“That’s a once-in-a-generation type of thing,” he said. “The federal government doesn’t usually send hundreds of millions of dollars to counties. I think it’s very important we spend that wisely.”

Another focus, he said, is to continue respectful and bipartisan discussion on the council, which currently consists of a 3-2 Democratic majority.

“Everybody, typically, has been very good about being open and transparent,” Nehring said. “That’s been really important to me. I think that sets a good example for the community.”

Ng-A-Qui, 48, runs a business as an arborist. She said she’s running to protect the district’s natural environment from “cut-and-pave” development.

“I’ve seen it go on for years,” she said. “We just cut down everything. We need to and can do things differently, and do things better.”

Another priority for her is ensuring federal relief dollars make their way to small businesses that took a hit during the pandemic, she said.

“I feel like they could use some help getting back on their feet,” she said.

The last Democrat to win in the district was Rick Larsen, who narrowly defeated Republican Bob Kraski in 1997.

Ng-A-Qui, who lives in the Seven Lakes area, said she’s ready to reach across the aisle to find consensus in the area.

“I live with a Trump supporter,” Ng-A-Qui said. “I understand where the other side is coming from.”

Yust did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Nehring has endorsements from County Councilman Sam Low, Sheriff Adam Fortney, county Prosecuting Attorney Adam Cornell, former county Executive Bob Drewel and dozens of city leaders within his district.

Some local Democrats are backing Ng-A-Qui, who’s received endorsements from County Councilwoman Megan Dunn, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen and state Reps. Emily Wicks and April Berg, both of Everett, and state Sen. Mona Das of Bothell.

Nehring holds a sizeable lead in fundraising. So far, he’s raised $211,000 and spent about $27,000, according to state campaign finance data.

Ng-A-Qui has received about $16,000 in campaign contributions.

Yust declared he will not raise more than $5,000 and thus does not have to declare his contributions.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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