By Leslie Moriarty
SULTAN — Politics in Sultan is never a simple thing. And with five city council seats up for grabs, there’s a lot of positioning going on.
What has emerged is a slate of five candidates for city council, including two incumbents, who are trying to get voters to commit to electing all of them.
"We believe that the time has come for a real change in Sultan’s leadership," said Mark Raney, one of the five candidates.
"Just as many residents of Sultan have discovered and witnessed, elected officials in Sultan have often neglected or abused their obligation to serve all Sultan citizens and to make and enforce decisions that benefit the whole community."
Raney, a family physician, was appointed to a seat created to bring the council to seven members in 2000. He is running for a two-year term.
Among the others on the slate are: incumbent Cindy Broughton and newcomers Jeff Everett, Ron Kraut and Russ Sumpter.
If they are all elected, they would control a majority of the votes on the council.
Raney, speaking for the coalition, said the core issue for the five of them is that laws and regulations should apply equally to everyone in Sultan. He added that those in leadership should not use their positions to skirt the law for financial gain for themselves, friends and developers.
"Stability and order are the best environment to keep and attract high quality and appropriate business and residential development," Raney said. "Fair and equitable application of the law is the only way to accomplish that goal."
Raney didn’t speak specifically of any acts of any council member. But both Mayor C.H. Rowe and councilman Jim Porter are the subjects of recall petitions that state that they acted contrary to their oaths of office.
Porter and Rowe are not up for re-election.
Raney said the five candidates on the slate, unlike their opponents, worked openly to halt a proposed gravel operation along the Sultan River north of the city. He said they have received the endorsement of the Sultan Police Management Association and are committed to a strong, professional, fiscally sound and locally controlled police department.
Broughton, an administrative secretary at Sultan Middle School, was appointed to the city council in 2000. She is running against Robert Criswell, who filed against her, rather than filing for his own seat, position 7.
Raney filed for Criswell’s seat because he wanted to serve a two-year term. Criswell, hence, filed for Broughton’s seat. Raney, however, is being challenged by Walter Hanna, a newcomer to city politics.
Everett is a quality control inspector for the Boeing Co. and is new to Sultan. He decided to get involved in politics after working to stop the gravel pit and after discovering problems in working with the city on the development where his home is located. He is running against Lawrence Koehler, a longtime resident of the city, for the seat that is currently held by Raney.
Kraut is chairman of the Sultan Planning Commission and is a natural gas emergency response technician. His opponent is Dustin Boucher. They are both after a council seat that is being vacated by longtime councilman Bob Ostrom.
Sumpter is a member of the Sultan School Board and longtime resident. He is running against Bruce Champeaux for the seat that is being vacated by longtime councilwoman Carolyn Eslick.
With several of the experienced council members deciding not to run, Raney said it is vitally important that the slate of five is elected.
"These five candidates are dedicated to open government and open communications," Raney said.
Raney, himself, was the subject of a recall this year. A Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled it has no foundation in truth.
None of the candidates running against those on the slate have issued a response, and they have not formed a coalition themselves.
You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.