North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

State Rep. Eslick meets with constituents


December 20, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Carolyn Eslick, 39th State Legislative District, talks with constituents in Arlington on Dec. 12.

Recently appointed 39th State Legislative District Rep. Carolyn Eslick met with some of her constituents on Dec. 12 to talk about local issues.

Eslick was appointed to the seat this September to replace John Koster, a former Snohomish County Council member, who left the seat for another position offered to him.

The 39th District covers much of Arlington, the northeast portion of Marysville, parts of rural Snohomish County including Monroe and Sultan, and parts of Skagit County including Sedro-Woolley, Lyman and Concrete.

"I was thrilled to be the one chosen," said Eslick.

Previously Eslick had served nine and a half years as the mayor of Sultan, owned a restaurant there and worked in business development.

She said she is just beginning to start work in the legislature and has been learning about issues around her district.

"It's different than my life before. I've never had to make decisions of this magnitude," she said.

Initially Eslick wanted to continue acting as mayor of Sultan but resigned as of Oct. 31, which she said gives her more time to visit the more northern parts of her district.

"South district folks know me, but Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Darrington, not so much," she said.

On Dec. 12 she met with constituents at the Arlington Buzz Inn to talk over lunch and coffee.

Arlington City Council member Mike Hopson said that homelessness is one of the biggest local issues.

People who are homeless have always been around, he said, "but never in such great numbers."

Hopson hopes that putting a social worker with police units will increase the amount of homeless individuals reaching out for help.

"If you're talking about the homeless on the streets, Arlington has the embedded social worker and I'm sitting back and seeing how that works," he said.

Eslick said that working with homeless individuals can yield benefits.

"When I became mayor 9 and a half years ago we had 40 homeless people across the river in county-owned property," she said. After an intervention with the sheriff's office and Catholic Community Services, they were able to get many of those individuals in programs.

She also hopes to see more accountability and prevention programs for homeless individuals as well.

The D.A.R.E. program has been discouraged because of studies that point to its ineffectiveness, but Eslick hopes that some program like it will continue in elementary schools.

"Just the fact that you're talking about drugs and giving the message that it's not a good idea," she said.

"It's got to be in the grade school. I was very adamant that we get a counselor in our elementary school [in Sultan]," she said.

Hopson said he also hopes to support the working poor in addition to addicts though, who are simply priced out of affordable housing.

"There are people working in restaurants and such that can't afford housing at the market rate," he said.

"A problem that I see in this town is that private enterprise people seem to be able to pencil things out at about 0.6 AMI [average median income] and above," said Hopson.

Making housing for those who earn 50 percent or under the average median income is not as feasible for private developers, he said.

"What I'd like to see at the state legislature is to provide more tools to the cities, Arlington in particular of course, to deal with this," he said.

Other issues around Arlington include some of it's projects being tied up in the capital budget.

The capital budget has not been passed as it's been tied to finding a solution to the Washington State Supreme Court's Hirst Decision, which shifted the responsibility of water resource stewardship, specifically from wells, onto the county instead of the state's Department of Ecology.

This is interfering with some rural property owners, especially those seeking permits for use of a newly drilled well.

"Right now the [local Native American] tribes want to be involved in ... at what point are they allowed to come onto our properties and tell us what to do," said Eslick.

"I'm not against tribes, I'm for property owners and their rights," she said.

A resolution for the situation is currently tied in with the capital projects budget.

"There were logical reasons behind that, but it is time to separate the two," said Eslick.

Other issues that Eslick said she has been talking about include fully funding education, which was required by the Washington State Supreme Court in their McCleary decision.

"And what that means is different to everyone in every district," she said.

"I don't think that is ever going to be perfect, but I think there are some changes that can happen," she said.

Eslick said she met with the Marysville School District the same day and hopes to take back their concerns to Olympia.

A bill Eslick hopes to sponsor would allow a training period for small businesses so that they don't have to pay the full minimum wage during that time.

"I owned a restaurant for 20 years and I know what the net profit is. Very small, and every time there's a minimum wage increase it really hurts that net profit and that means you have to raise the profits," she said.

Other issues around the district include flooding in Lyman.

"It looks like the next flood will take out three houses," she said.

Eslick hopes to meet with constituents in her district a few times a year, she said. More information about the representative and e-mail updates are available at


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