EVERETT — Tuesday’s election brought big changes.
Voters said goodbye to seven sitting leaders — a school board director, two mayors and four city council members. More incumbents might lose their seats as ballot counting draws to a close in the coming days.
Here are seven whose time in office is ending, if the vote totals hold:
Snohomish Mayor John Kartak
John Kartak led a movement to give the Snohomish mayor more muscle in 2017. Mayors would be directly elected and serve as the city’s chief executive under a measure put to voters. It passed. And in the same election, the outspoken conservative made history when, by 80 votes, he became the city’s first strong mayor. Kartak’s response to the events of a weekend of May 2020 — you know the one — fueled his undoing. In inartful social media posts and incendiary comments, Kartak created fissures in the community he loves. He leaves with a strong base of support on which to run again, should he choose.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson
Jennifer Gregerson has been a fixture in city politics most of this century. Voters first elected her to the Mukilteo City Council in 2003. A decade later, she unseated then two-term Mayor Joe Marine, serving two terms herself — until Marine took the job back Tuesday. She brought a progressive voice to the job. She engaged deeply on transportation and housing matters, including as chair of the Alliance for Housing Affordability. She had critics of her managerial methods, on the council and off. They liked to talk about employee turnover and those who left with severance deals. More recently, Gregerson’s backing of a grant to study Mukilteo’s housing needs ruffled feathers. Debate on the Housing Action Plan morphed into a battle over high density housing. Most citizens opposed the idea, and it’s likely many voted accordingly.
Marysville School Board Director Vanessa Edwards
Vanessa Edwards’ tenure lasted four years. It proved to be one of the most turbulent for directors of public school districts. A state Supreme Court decision rewrote the rules for school funding. A pandemic drove students out of shuttered campuses and into remote learning at home. As board president the past year, Edwards sought to calm a community divided over COVID-19 mandates, critical race theory and sex education content. Directors absorbed criticism for the district’s handling of racial conflicts among students and had to boot — but keep paying — a superintendent. Edwards exited with two big wins: getting student voices on the board and enacting a clear policy to ensure equity across the district.
Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts spent 16 years soaking up granular factoids on transit, transportation and climate change — imprinting them into policies aimed at benefiting residents of Everett and Snohomish County. He’s the council’s voice on the Puget Sound Regional Council and the chair of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Board of Directors. He’s also one of the county’s three votes on the Sound Transit Board of Directors. His exit creates a knowledge vacuum, which the city and county will need to swiftly fill.
Snohomish City Councilmember Larry Countryman
Larry Countryman has been winning and losing City Council elections since the 1970s. More recently, he won in 2003, lost in 2007 (to Karen Guzak), won in 2013 and lost Tuesday. Without question, the retired artist and longtime owner of Countryman Bed and Breakfast has influenced debate and decision-making in Snohomish with his conservative philosophy and comic book lampoons of political foes. With his health down, age up and allies ousted, one of the city’s booming voices the past half-century will be less audible.
Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
Adrienne Fraley-Monillas was elected in 2009 and didn’t steer clear of controversial subjects in her three terms. For example, she helped push through a city law for safe storage of firearms before the idea became embedded in a statewide initiative. She was also opposed to raising building height limits in parts of the city. In this campaign, she found controversy once more when, during a virtual council meeting, her computer’s camera caught her sipping from a glass of Merlot. An apology didn’t quiet detractors who wanted her to resign. Some foes were incensed when she said racism exists in Edmonds. Increasingly, the progressive’s outspokenness riled many, and the man she opposed for mayor in 2019, Neil Tibbott, beat her handily.
Bothell City Councilmember Rosemary McAuliffe
Most figured Rosemary McAuliffe, whose political career began on the Northshore School Board in 1977, would hang up her public servant spikes in 2016 when she retired from the state Senate after a 24-year legislative career. She won a seat on the Bothell City Council to work on revitalizing the downtown of her hometown and much more, but lost a tight race this year. McAuliffe leaves a deep, lasting civic legacy in Bothell and across Washington.
Jerry Cornfield: firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.
Katie Hayes: email@example.com; Twitter: @misskatiehayes. Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.
This story has been modified to reflect that so far seven incumbents have been voted out of elected office this year.
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