Stanwood City Council candidates are (from left) Judy Williams, Dorothy Gorsuch and Michael Braley.

Stanwood council candidates aim at parks, flooding, jobs

STANWOOD — A one-term councilwoman is facing two challengers for a seat on the Stanwood City Council.

Dorothy Gorsuch is up against planning commissioner Judy Williams and Mike Braley, an Everett police sergeant, for the four-year office, which pays $350 a month. The two who receive the most votes in the Aug. 1 primary advance to the November ballot.

The candidates say they want to prioritize improving parks, bringing in businesses, planning for downtown and protecting Stanwood’s small-town character as the area grows.

Gorsuch, 59, does accounting for Philips Healthcare and has lived in Stanwood for about eight years. She ran in 2014 because, she said, she was sick of talking about helping her community and wanted to take action.

“Most people believe in separation of church and state, but I don’t,” she said. “I believe that your faith causes you to be very involved in your community. I believe that the welfare of the community centralizes around the church.”

She hadn’t planned a second term, but changed her mind because she wants to continue working on parks. She said she would support a new parks taxing district if most of the community is in favor. The district is something that may appear on a future ballot. She also opposes recreational marijuana shops in town.

Gorsuch said she’d like to keep government in downtown Stanwood rather than relocate out of the Stillaguamish River floodplain.

“Sure, we get a really bad storm and we pull out the sandbags, but it doesn’t flood downtown,” she said. “I’m more concerned about our kids than I am about a little bit of water we might get once or twice a year.”

Williams, 55, is an account executive with Chicago Title and has lived in Stanwood for 19 years. She’s served since 2016 on the planning commission and led school-related groups such as the band boosters.

She supports a parks district following school district boundaries. She also aims to create more activities for families. When highlights such as the farmers market close at 6 p.m., it’s hard to go after work.

“I believe in where Stanwood’s at and I think there’s tremendous opportunity for growth right now,” she said

She wants to bring in businesses to boost the tax base but hopes to keep Stanwood from mirroring other cities along I-5. She lives in the floodplain downtown and wants to find options to reduce costs and improve safety for business and home owners there. She supports a new City Hall uphill.

“Heaven forbid we should flood, because I’m floating away if we do,” she said. “If we flood around City Hall, how does City Hall provide emergency services? They can’t get in their front door.”

Mike Braley, 46, is an Everett police sergeant and has lived in Stanwood for 22 years. In his job, he works closely with citizen groups and business owners, which he said gives him experience for representing the public in his town, too.

With Twin City Foods moving packaging out of Stanwood, he said it’s important to add employers. He also wants to improve connections between the east and west ends of Stanwood. There are limited safe options for walking or bicycling the short distance.

“I think it’s just working on our infrastructure here to encourage businesses to come up this way and encourage families to come up here by having nice parks, nice sidewalks, and the things that improve quality of life,” he said.

He wants to work with federal agencies on flood insurance costs and to figure out how businesses and homes can be safer and affordable in the floodplain. He supports moving City Hall, but that doesn’t mean the end of the historic downtown, he said.

Whether or not a parks taxing district is formed, he would like to focus on projects such as getting playfields at Heritage Park tournament ready. Sports are a huge draw for families, and he thinks new parks and river access along the Stillaguamish could be, too.

Ballots have been sent to voters. A drop box is located next to the Stanwood Library.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

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