With more than 65,000 residents, Marysville was the state’s fastest-growing city in 2015, a pace that slowed only a bit last year. (Everett led Snohomish County cities in 2016, as the state’s ninth-fastest.)
Even with that growth, Marysville, the county’s second-largest city, has adapted and responded well to that growth, keeping crime statistics relatively low, pushing solutions forward on traffic and planning for future commercial and business development, including a joint project with Arlington for a manufacturing industrial center that could become home to 20,000 jobs over the next 20 years.
Four of the Marysville City Council’s seven positions are up for election this year, offering four challengers for four long-serving incumbents.
Position 1: Incumbent Jeffrey Vaughan is challenged by Robert “Bob” Weiss.
Vaughan, a resident since 1998, is a manager for a lighting and safety products business and previously served as an occupational safety and health professional with Boeing and PacifiCorp.
Weiss has lived in Marysville since 1998. He has been an engineer with Boeing for 26 years.
Weiss’ past service to the city includes two terms on the mayor’s salary review panel. He has also served as a council representative for his union. Weiss makes the point that he’s not running to counter any major problems in the city, but believes the city can do more to address traffic congestion and city street conditions.
Weiss demonstrated strong knowledge of city issues and a desire to serve his city.
Vaughan was first elected to the council in late 2003 to fill an unexpired two-year term, and won reelection in 2005, 2009 and 2013 and has served four years as council president.
Vaughan said his focus has been on traffic congestion and public safety and parks. Vaughan has opposed property tax increases, and instead prefers to see the city rely on generating revenue through commercial development, with which the city has seen success even in the shadow of development by the neighboring Tulalip Tribes.
Vaughan has sought a balance to the city’s response to the issues of opioid addiction and homelessness, seeing law enforcement as important but recognizing the need for the city to cooperate with social services and community groups to meet needs.
He also backs the investment that the city is making in the industrial center, preparing the infrastructure there to better attract employers.
Vaughan’s past experience and care with the city’s finances warrant a fourth full term on the Marysville council.
Position 2: Prior to the primary election, the editorial board interviewed three candidates for the position, endorsing challenger Mark James over incumbent Donna Wright.
Wright has served twice on the council for a total of 26 years, providing the council with valuable institutional knowledge while continuing to offer considered guidance on issues. But James, a U.S. Army veteran, and a resident since 1990 showed an understanding of the city’s issues and the ability to work collaboratively with others on the council, city staff and other local governments.
Position 3: Jeff Seibert, who has served on the council for 16 years, is challenged by Tom King, who previously served on the Marysville School Board.
Seibert, an electrician for nearly 30 years and resident since 1987, has focused his time on council on public safety, economic development and transportation, and, like his fellow council member Vaughan, has preferred raising revenue from encouraging new business, a strategy that has allowed the city to make improvements to roads, bike paths, pedestrian trails and parks.
King, born and raised in Marysville, recently retired after 16 years with the city as a traffic signal technician.
In addition to his previous service on the school board, King has served on a number of city and community committees, including the library board, and parks boards for both city and county. A current volunteer driver with the Marysville Food Bank, King is also president of Marysville Kiwanis, and has volunteered with the Strawberry Festival. He also formerly volunteered as a firefighter with the Marysville department.
Both candidates demonstrated detailed knowledge of Marysville issues and appeared to differ little on how to address them. Seibert has shown dedication to the city and thoughtful leadership on the council, but King’s range of experience, specifically regarding transportation, parks and public safety would serve the city council well, especially paired with a fresh perspective. King has the editorial board’s endorsement.
Position 4: Incumbent Michael Stevens, who has served on the council since 2010, is challenged by Elijah Olson. Olson did not respond to requests for an interview with the editorial board. And he offered no profile to the county Auditor’s Office for its voters guide.
Stevens wins the endorsement by default, but still has much to recommend him.
An architect, Stevens previously served on the city’s planning commission. He also has completed the Association of Washington Cities leadership and advanced leadership certification programs, showing a commitment to good governance. He also serves on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Economic Development Board and Snohomish County Tomorrow’s steering committee.
Stevens’ focus has been on parks and public safety and community health, providing support for the city’s Healthy Communities program and other city activities.
Stevens know his city well and shows a desire to serve its residents.
Correction: Position 1 candidate Robert “Bob” Weiss has been a Marysville resident since 1998. An earlier version of this editorial misstated his length of residency.