EVERETT — John Lovick has some competition if he hopes to remain Snohomish County executive, and the challenger is someone from within his own Democratic party.
Dave Somers, who serves as chairman of the county council, on Monday filed for the county executive job.
“I feel I don’t have any choice. Things are going too badly to let it go,” Somers said in an email.
In a press release announcing his candidacy, Somers said Lovick has demonstrated an inability to lead.
Lovick filed Monday to remain in office. He was first appointed county executive in mid-2013 when Aaron Reardon resigned after years of scandals. At the time, Lovick was serving as county sheriff.
Somers said Lovick has demonstrated a “failure to grasp the complex issues facing Snohomish County,” and that is having “a deeply damaging impact” on the community.
Under Lovick’s watch, Somers said, the sheriff’s office saw serious problems at the county jail, including ballooning overtime costs and a series of inmate deaths. Some of the deaths have led to lawsuits and one led to a $1.3 million settlement.
As county executive, Lovick’s administration and the county council have repeatedly clashed. Somers said Lovick has submitted budgets that were “millions of dollars out of balance” and given large raises to some of the county’s highest-paid employees.
The discord has become so pronounced that a majority on the county council asked for an investigation of Deputy Executive Mark Ericks, whom they accused of creating a hostile workplace. A review by an outside attorney concluded Ericks violated no county policies. Lovick recently accused Somers of racism directed at the Tulalip Tribes — an allegation that largely backfired when tribal leaders said they were not offended by the councilman’s recounting of history that he learned while working as a tribal biologist for 18 years.
Somers said he wants to focus on encouraging job growth and tackling traffic woes.
He wants to pursue state and federal money to upgrade highways and to push for light rail into the county.
“One of my top transportation priorities will be replacing at-grade rail crossings throughout the county so we can provide true traffic congestion relief,” Somers said.
Somers was first elected to the county council in 1997. This is his fifth stint as its chairman. He and his wife, Elaine, have lived near Monroe since 1986.
Somers’ campaign website is here: davesomers.nationbuilder.com
He’s also recorded a campaign announcement: