Cassie Franklin (left) and Judy Tuohy at the Everett mayoral candidates debate Sept. 11. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Cassie Franklin (left) and Judy Tuohy at the Everett mayoral candidates debate Sept. 11. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Q&A: The Everett mayoral candidates discuss the issues

We put questions to Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy about the challenges in a growing and evolving city.

EVERETT — Voters will be choosing a new mayor next month.

Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy are competing in the Nov. 7 election to succeed Mayor Ray Stephanson, who is retiring after a 14-year reign at the administrative helm of Snohomish County’s most populous city.

The two women, who both serve on the City Council, also are looking to make history as the first woman elected mayor in this city.

The winner will earn a four-year term as the full-time, non-partisan administrator of a municipality with nearly 1,200 employees at full staffing and a yearly general-fund budget of about $132 million. The job pays about $182,000 a year.

The next mayor will inherit an array of challenges associated with a growing and evolving community. From the outset, that will mean wrestling to keep the city’s budget in balance as they look to boost spending on public safety and human services.

The new mayor must figure out where to build housing for a coming surge of new residents and how to provide shelter for those who are homeless right now.

While the landing of Funko is a big win for the city, those empty storefronts downtown are a constant reminder there’s economic development work to be done.

Franklin won the August primary with 31.6 percent to Tuohy’s 29.5 percent. Her margin of victory was 286 votes.

Brian Sullivan finished third, just 63 votes behind Tuohy. The Democratic county councilman has since endorsed her. Shean Nasin came in fourth with nearly 10 percent. He’s backing Franklin.

Franklin, 46, moved to Everett four years ago with her husband and daughter. But she’s been working in town more than a decade, most of it at Cocoon House, which provides housing and supportive services to homeless and at-risk young people, including their children and their parents.

She worked there as deputy director from 2005-09, then returned in 2011 to become chief executive officer. She recently transitioned to CEO emeritus. In 2015, she won a seat on the City Council by beating longtime incumbent Ron Gibson.

Tuohy, 63, the mother of two grown children, stresses her Everett roots. She won a 2014 special election to get on the City Council and followed it with a win in 2015 for a full term. She is the current council president.

Since 1995, she’s served as executive director of Schack Art Center, formerly known as the Arts Council of Snohomish County. Under her leadership, the center has grown steadily in its size, reach and reputation. A highlight came in 2011 with the opening of the multi-purpose art center with its premiere glass hot-shop on the site of a former city parking lot.

Ballots will be mailed Thursday.

The Herald recently sat down with Franklin and Tuohy to discuss how they’ll approach these issues.

Read the interviews

Yes, there is a write-in candidate

Everett business owner Gary Watts, who has been outspoken with blunt criticism of the city’s response to homelessness and substance abuse, is registered as a write-in candidate in this race. His name will not appear on the ballot.

County election officials have said votes for Watts will be counted if the total number of write-in votes is more than received by candidates Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Watts, 75, owns two Z Sports automotive shops in the city. This is his first bid for public office.

He garnered attention this summer when he called Everett “Tweakerville” on his business reader board. He’s also installed a camera which provides a live stream online of an area near his shop on Smith Avenue frequented by drug users and homeless.

On his campaign website, Watts wrote it has been frustrating to watch Everett “become filled with addicts over the past decade. I no longer feel safe in my own city which is simply unacceptable. Many fellow residents and business owners feel the same way. I am running for mayor to make this city a safe and family friendly place again.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield @herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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