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James looks forward to serving on council


December 13, 2017 | View PDF

Courtesy Photo

Mark James

Longtime Marysville resident Mark James will step into the Marysville City Council next year as one of two new council members.

In the Nov. 7 general election James defeated incumbent Donna Wright for the City Council Pos. 2 seat with 59.03 percent of the vote as of Nov. 26.

James describes himself as an "Air Force brat" growing up. His father retired from Fairchild Air Force Base in eastern Washington, which caused his family to settle in the Pacific Northwest.

After high school he joined the Army and met his wife, active community member Renae James, in Germany.

Eventually the two came to Marysville in 1990.

"After some further schooling at Georgetown we got out of the military and ended up coming over here because we both liked the northwest," said James.

Around the community James has been involved in many service projects.

"Most of it is through church organizations," he said. Currently James is with the Damascus Road Church in Marysville.

"I head up the hospitality team and I also join in the cold weather shelter that we host as a church," he said.

James is also the current president-elect for the Marysville Sunrise Rotary.

The Sunrise Rotary Club is the smaller of the two Marysville Rotary service clubs, however James said he likes the hands-on projects that they participate in.

"We do a lot of cool things. We run the Shrimp Boil and give money back to the community through the food bank and the Salvation Army," he said.

Even though he has been active in the community, city council was never really on James' mind until a couple of years ago when a discussion spurred a desire to be more political.

"Before then, if you had asked me if I was going to be involved in politics I would have looked at you like you were crazy," he said.

Although he didn't jump straight to a city council race, a friend of his encouraged him to try for a seat.

"Service has always been on my radar and I never really put the two together. But after thinking about it, I came to realize here's a real meaningful way that I can reach the community," he said.

Preparing to take a seat on the council, James said he has talked with many of the department heads at the city and has done ride-alongs with the police department and the Marysville Fire District.

"I don't assume that I'm going to be able to walk right in and take something by the horns and steer it the way I want it to go," he said. "I need to learn a lot."

He said he hopes to work with his fellow council members and draw from their experience.

"There's a lot of combined years on the council that I will be able to draw wisdom from," he said.

On the council he hopes to bring a new voice, and one that will be an advocate for small businesses.

"There are other business owners on the council, but not in the same way that Renae and I are, with our finger on the pulse of the small businesses in Marysville," he said. "We are very much involved in that part of the life of Marysville."

In terms of big business, James hopes to further the Manufacturing Industrial Center in north Marysville.

"That excites me because that's really going to be some juice for Marysville's growth," he said.

Other projects that have already been started by the council include the Ebey Waterfront Park and the potential merging of Marysville Fire District and the Arlington Fire Department into a single Regional Fire Authority.

James said he is looking forward to being a part of those efforts.

"I appreciate the work the council has done to this point, and it will be great to have the baton passed and run through the finish line with those things," he said.

For the waterfront area, he hopes that a combination residential and recreation area can be part of that gateway to the city.

"It can be part of the personality of Marysville, and we need that, something to be our personality," he said. "We don't even have strawberry fields anymore. And the Strawberry Festival is great, but that's two weeks and the rest of the year we need to be somebody,."

In addition to parks, James said that the less exciting projects need to get taken care of, such as a potential new jail and court building for the city.

"That is very important as you have a city that is growing at the rate ours is," said James, added the current jail is getting small.

"If you don't handle that, it can stifle your growth," he said.

James official city e-mail is not set up yet but citizens that want to reach him for comment can send messages to for the time being.


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