Junelle Lewis, left, Will Schlegel and Jacob Walker

Junelle Lewis, left, Will Schlegel and Jacob Walker

Planning board members face off in 3-way primary for Monroe council

Planning board members Jacob Walker and Junelle Lewis, along with Will Schlegel, filed to run for Monroe City Council.

MONROE — Three candidates are vying for the fifth City Council position in Monroe.

Jacob Walker, Junelle Lewis and Will Schlegel have all filed for Position 5 and will be on the Aug. 1 primary ballot. Council members serve a four-year term.

Ed Davis, who holds the seat, is not seeking reelection after 12 years on the council. Two candidates will advance to the general election Nov. 7. City Council members are paid $900 per month. The position is nonpartisan.

Junelle Lewis

Junelle Lewis

Junelle Lewis

Lewis works for the Monroe School District and recently started a food truck business with her husband.

She also serves on the Monroe Planning Commission and is on the board of a local nonprofit, Take The First Step, which works to combat homelessness.

Affordable housing is high on her list of priorities. Lewis said there needs to be an increase in multi-family housing development and more options for renters.

She would also like more protections for renters.

“I think that a lot of times, these apartment complexes and landlords, they take advantage of a person’s desperate need of housing,” Lewis said. “And I feel that as the city we need to support our residents more in that space.”

Lewis said she would like to see a mentorship program with established, successful businesses.

Lewis moved to the area from California in 2018 with her eight kids and is running for City Council for the first time.

“I’m not afraid to be disliked, I’m not afraid to enter uncomfortable places and have conversations that are needed,” Lewis said. “If we want to see better, we cannot keep doing the same thing. … We’ve got people in our community that we’re not listening to and we need to listen to them.”

Will Schlegel

Will Schlegel

Will Schlegel

Schlegel did not agree to a phone interview. On his website, he said he survived COVID by using ivermectin, a horse dewormer. Ivermectin was popularized as a COVID treatment by former President Donald Trump.

“Our individual rights were taken without our permission, and we should never let that happen again,” his campaign website states. “Our State Constitution declares that our government is to protect your individual rights, not manage or take away our rights.”

On a panel earlier this month with the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, he said he spent 12 years in Turkey doing humanitarian work.

“I am the choice for City Council because I bring small community passion, I have a global work and view experience and my interest in supporting individual rights,” Schlegel said. “It’s about protecting everyone’s individual rights equally.”

Jacob Walker

Jacob Walker

Jacob Walker

Walker is an agency partner with PNW Insurance Group and is running for City Council for a third time. Walker lost to Kirk Scarboro by 38 votes in the 2021 election and by around 400 to Jeff Rasmussen in 2017.

Walker serves on the Monroe Planning Commission with Lewis and previously served on the Monroe Economic Advisory Board.

“I love seeing the way policy can make a difference to help people and I just want to serve,” Walker said in an interview. “I just think I’ve got a good perspective on what our citizens need.”

Transportation and safety are high among Walker’s concerns. Better infrastructure is needed, he said. Highway 203, Highway 522 and U.S. 2 all come through Monroe, which can cause traffic headaches. He would like to see the completion of Highway 522, which residents have wanted “for decades.”

“That’s just the main roads, the other issue is arterials and safety and walkability outside the city,” Walker said. “We’re starting the process of getting our comprehensive plan going and looking at the population growth, our infrastructure is going to be strained even more.”

Monroe is expected to add around 5,000 residents by 2035, according to the city’s 2021 Housing Action Plan. Walker said if elected, one of his first priorities would be building a coalition to lobby for funding for Highway 522.

Walker feels crime is becoming more prevalent in the community. Homelessness is also an issue, he said, as are drugs like fentanyl.

“I’ve seen people walk out of stores with carts full of electronics, things like that you’re starting to see be more common,” Walker said. “To just kind of start experiencing those crimes out here, it just feels like, ‘What can we do to be proactive in fighting it or stopping it?’”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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