M'ville Chamber hosts candidates forum


October 4, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Photo by christopher Andersson Candidates for Marysville City Council Pos. 3, Jeff Seibert, left, and Tom King, talk at a candidates forum hosted by the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 29.

Local candidates for Marysville and Snohomish County races in the upcoming general election talked about their platforms at a candidates forum on Sept. 29.

Candidates from two Marysville City Council races and a Snohomish County Council race talked at the event hosted by the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.

The Snohomish County general election will be held on Nov. 7. Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9.

Snohomish County Council District 1

Nate Nehring and Ray Miller are running for the Snohomish County Council District 1 seat.

District 1 includes Marysville, Arlington, Darrington, Stanwood and Granite Falls.

Ray Miller is an Air Force veteran and certified drug and alcohol counselor.

He prefers the Democratic party.

"Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States and we must plan for a future that includes housing, economic development in south and north Snohomish County, and protecting our environmental and agricultural resources," said Miller.

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As a drug counselor, Miller said he has "worked with homeless individuals to get them off the street and into stabile environments."

He prefers to approach the opioid epidemic with therapy, social services and treatment centers.

"Drug and alcohol addiction are just the symptoms. The real problem is pain, whether it be mental health pain, physical pain, emotional pain," said Miller. "We need to reach to the root cause of that."

He also hopes to help the community identify addiction.

"We explain to the community what the signs and symptoms of addiction are," he said.

Miller said that 75 percent of the county's $240 million general budget is spent on the criminal justice system and he wants to look into a reduction of that.

"I'm not opposed to criminal justice, but I think if we can get rid of the need for it," said Miller, who added social programs are a better way to approach the problem.

He noted that cuts to the criminal justice budget doesn't necessarily mean cuts to the Sheriff's Department, and there are other parts of that budget.

He also hopes to encourage businesses to come to the area. "We need incentives to bring businesses here and make it attractive," he said.

Nate Nehring currently holds the District 1 seat after he was appointed to the position in January to fill the vacancy after Ken Klein resigned. Nehring is a former science teacher at Cedarcrest Middle School.

He prefers the Republican Party.

Nehring is the son of Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and is a vice-chair of the Planning Commission in Stanwood.

He said there are three strategies the county should use to fight the opioid epidemic: prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

Prevention includes "getting into our schools and working with our youth on preventative efforts," he said.

Treatment and support should be available for those "who want to get their lives turned around," but law enforcement is necessary for those who don't have a desire for that, he said.

"The reality is a large portion of folks are unwilling to turn their lives around," said Nehring.

Nehring recently proposed and helped pass legislation at the Snohomish County Council that put an emergency ban on safe injection sites.

He also supports embedding social workers with police officers who go out to interact with the homeless population.

The Manufacturing-Industrial Center in Marysville and Arlington will help improve jobs in the area, he said.

"I've been advocating on behalf of that center," said Nehring. "We've got a fantastic opportunity here in the Marysville/Arlington area with the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center. It's a great way to attract family-wage jobs to the area."

Nehring said he is for conservative spending for Snohomish County. "I'm committed to ensuring fiscal responsibility in the county," he said.

Although he still said county law enforcement should be well-funded. "I think law enforcement is the absolute last thing we should cut," he said.

Marysville City Council Pos. 2

The Marysville City Council Pos. 2 race is between Donna Wright and Mark James.

Incumbent Donna Wright is a six-term council member with the City of Marysville.

She is also a business owner, involved with local church organizations and is a past president of the Marysville Soroptimists Club.

Marysville has been able to get through the previous decades with low taxes, which is something that Wright hopes to continue.

"We are solvent and have a reserve, but there are issues that are coming up," she said.

"The public safety building is old and is something we'll have to address. That is one of our main issues of how we will pay for that without taxing our citizens."

Marysville is one of the only cities without a Business & Operation tax as well (although businesses are still charged a tax by the state).

"We do not have a B&O tax and that is one area that I would work to keep," she said.

Wright said policies like that have helped bring businesses into Marysville.

"I think our city is business friendly," she said. "You talk to people that have tried to establish businesses in other cities and they choose Marysville."

More road projects are coming to help with traffic, she said.

"Traffic congestion is an issue, but soon you'll be seeing on I-5 that you'll be able to exit onto State Avenue," she said.

Mark James is a long-time local business owner.

He is a member of the Marysville Sunrise Rotary, local church organizations and volunteers for the cold-weather shelter, as well as other nonprofits, he said.

He hopes "to bring a fresh new perspective and energy to our Marysville City Council," he said.

James said that the opioid epidemic will likely take a group effort to solve, from families, local organizations and government.

"We can realize that city government can only be just a part of the solution," he said.

He hopes that the city can take active steps in recovery as well.

"Marysville can partner with treatment facilities and embed social workers with the police," he said.

Public safety in the city needs some additional support, said James.

Fire and emergency services "need more staffing to keep up with the population growth," he said.

James supports a Regional Fire Authority with Arlington "in order to ensure the future safety of our citizens."

The city's public safety building also needs an upgrade, he said.

"Police need a modern, larger jail with an integrated court," said James.

James also hopes to make small business start-ups easier to get off the ground in the city.

"One local businessman told me the process was broken and it was very time-consuming for him to set up business here," he said.

Marysville City Council Pos. 3

The Marysville City Council Pos. 3 race is between Jeff Seibert and Tom King.

Incumbent Jeff Seibert was originally elected to the Marysville City Council in 2002 and has served since them.

He is employed as an electrician and raised two daughters in Marysville.

Public safety is an important part of his platform, he said.

"The first priority of government is public safety. I have and will continue to support the fire district and police department," said Seibert.

The city's public safety building is an issue that needs to be worked on, he said.

"Our jail is starting to reach capacity, so we're looking at a new facility and that is something we have to work though."

Seibert is also working with both Marysville and Arlington councils on forming a Regional Fire Authority, although said he is supporting a partnership in which Marysville has a voice proportional to their citizens.

To keep the city affordable for families Seibert has "consistently voted against" raising property taxes.

He hopes work on the waterfront will help attract businesses.

"We're working to develop the waterfront and not just the park, and we're bringing in some developers on what they would like to see there," he said.

Seibert's past work with the city includes efforts to bring retail to the city as well.

"I was involved in an economic property development strategy that has brought more retail businesses to Marysville," he said.

Challenger Tom King is a long-time Marysville resident who has raised three children in the city.

He is a past volunteer fireman, past school board member and current Kiwanis Club president.

"A dream of mine is to see Asbery Field refurbished into a first-class athletic and events facility," said King.

By partnering with the school district he hopes to upgrade the facilities parking, lighting and restrooms.

"I see Asbery Field as the core of our downtown and there is so much potential there," he said.

Marysville has already made strides in attracting businesses, said King, such as Third Street improvements, but he hopes more can be done around areas like the Marysville Town Center mall.

"I realize it's privately owned but I think there are some improvements that could be done," he said.

As a food bank volunteer, King said he "sees firsthand some of the results of the homelessness and addiction issues."

He supports continued law enforcement with increased social supports.

"As a society we need to focus our support and funding in counseling and rehabilitation," he said.

King supports reaching an agreement to form a Regional Fire Authority with Arlington and Fire District 12.

"I think it would be beneficial for all of us, Arlington and Fire District 12 to combine our equipment into one Regional Fire Authority."

Christopher Andersson

Marysville City Council Pos. 2 candidate Mark James, right, talks with local Robyn Warren after a candidates forum hosted by the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 29.


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