Top (L-R): Bill Wheeler Jr., Demi Chatters, Brian Hennessy, Scott Bader. Bottom (L-R): Judy Tuohy, Judith Martinez, Bryce Nickel.

Top (L-R): Bill Wheeler Jr., Demi Chatters, Brian Hennessy, Scott Bader. Bottom (L-R): Judy Tuohy, Judith Martinez, Bryce Nickel.

Tuohy, Bader hold commanding leads in race for Everett City Council

Scott Bader was set to face Demi Chatters in the general election. Meanwhile, Judy Tuohy took 57% of the vote in a three-way race.

EVERETT — Former Everett City Council member Scott Bader was leading Demi Chatters for a seat on the council Tuesday night, early primary vote tallies indicated.

Bader led with 44.3% of the vote. Chatters had 32.9%.

Two other challengers, Brian Hennessy and Bill Wheeler Jr., trailed far behind.

Meanwhile, it appeared incumbent Judy Tuohy would cruise to the general election, with 57.1% of Tuesday’s vote in a three-way race for her seat. She’s set to defend her office against political newcomer Judith Martinez, who took 28.4%. Bryce Nickel came in third with 13.29%.

Positions 6 and 7 are at-large seats, meaning they represent the entire city. They have four-year terms and a $30,132 annual salary.

Top (L-R): Bill Wheeler Jr., Demi Chatters; Bottom (L-R): Brian Hennessy, Scott Bader

Position 6

For the first time in 20 years, an election for Position 6 lacks an incumbent. Brenda Stonecipher had held the position since 2004. She didn’t seek a sixth term.

Bader served on the City Council for nine years until he opted against seeking re-election in 2021. While in office, he pushed for “no sit, no lie” zones, where people are prohibited from sitting or lying on the street.

He also pursued a federal grant for the city to pay for police officers.

Now, Bader believes the council is on the edge of tipping more liberal, he said in an interview with The Daily Herald. He wants to address drug abuse and homelessness through a combination of treatment and consequences for people who refuse services. He also wants to implement a jail diversion program that offers alternatives to jail time.

In 2022, Mayor Cassie Franklin appointed Bader to the city’s redistricting commission, which largely left the former council districts intact.

Chatters works as operations director of a small law firm, serves as chair of the Everett Planning Commission and is a member of the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission. She lives in the Pinehurst-Beverly Park neighborhood.

On the planning commission, Chatters worked on the 2044 Comprehensive Plan. The project gave her insight into Everett’s need for another 37,000 housing units by 2044, she said. Chatters wants to increase the city’s density, beyond adding a few accessory dwelling units in backyards. She also wants to create incentives for “green” construction.

Chatters also hopes to improve response times for emergency medical services and preserve Everett’s legacy as a “union town.” A project labor agreement ordinance narrowly passed in December, over the mayor’s veto. Chatters would like to see the council consider similar ordinances.

In 2021, Chatters ran for the council’s District 5 position, now held by Ben Zarlingo.

Hennessy and Wheeler will likely conclude their campaigns. Hennessy picked up 13% of the vote, and Wheeler got 9.6%.

Hennessy, retired from a career in the U.S. Coast Guard, focused his campaign on homelessness, drug abuse and mental health. He supports the direction of city laws and policies already in place and wants to continue that trajectory, he said in an interview.

Wheeler, a former bikini barista stand owner, was convicted in 2014 of sexually exploiting a 16-year-old barista after she exposed her breasts for tips. He was sentenced to three years in prison and allowed out on bail until an appeal failed in 2016.

Throughout the trial, Wheeler maintained he was innocent, a statement he recently echoed in an interview with The Herald. Wheeler now works as a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician.

(L-R) Judy Tuohy, Judith Martinez, Bryce Nickel

Position 7

Tuohy has served on the council since 2014. In 2017, she narrowly lost the city’s mayoral election to Cassie Franklin.

On the council, Tuohy spearheaded a gun buyback program and expanded the Pallet shelter program, according to her statement in the voters’ pamphlet. She also advocated for expanding the South Everett branch of the Everett Public Library and created the Council Neighborhood Liaison program, she wrote on her website.

Tuohy’s top priorities will continue to be homelessness and crime, she wrote on her website. She wants to add day shelters and improve housing affordability.

Tuohy is executive director of Schack Art Center in downtown Everett.

Martinez, who was second after Tuesday’s vote drop, is a safety specialist with the Snohomish County Public Utilities District and a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 77 union.

Earlier this year, Martinez advocated in the Legislature for a worker safety bill.

She was concerned by the council’s recent vote to let the mayor expand “no sit, no lie” zones. Pushing people from one location to another is not the answer, Martinez said.

She worried for people who give clothes, food, water and basic hygiene supplies to people living on the street, as this is not allowed in “no sit” zones without a permit.

“It’s really disheartening that something (that) could save a life could be something that could get you into trouble,” Martinez said.

Nickel trailed with 13.29% of the vote Tuesday. He was homeless for about 20 years, he said. He wants to end ordinances like the “no sit, no lie” law unless the city provides land with utilities or designated areas for encampments.

Surya Hendry: 425-339-3104; surya.hendry@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @suryahendryy.

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