Local candidates spoke at two forums in Marysville recently to discuss the future of local schools and the city.
Marysville students with the Tulalip Youth Council, ASCEND, Marysville Getchell Future Voters Club and M-PHS Black Student Union hosted a forum on July 20 and Leadership Snohomish County hosted a forum on July 22.
Candidates for Marysville City Council and Marysville School District spoke at the events.
Some of those candidates appear on the Aug. 3 primary election while others will not be on the ballot until the Nov. 2 general election.
Marysville City Council Pos. 1
The Pos. 1 race will appear on Marysville residents primary ballots this August and is between Daniel Brady, Cindy Gobel and incumbent Jeffrey Vaughan.
Gobel is a long-time Marysville resident who wants to improve all parts of the community.
“I do think it’s important for us to develop not just our economy and business but our arts and culture,” she said.
She supports more public spaces in the city.
“If you’ve been to Jennings Park on the weekend or for an event, you know it’s packed,” said Gobel.
Marysville enacted it’s own drug possession law during the brief period when the state did not have a law, and Gobel said the city should not have pursued that law after hearing from the prosecuting attorney about how much more it would cost them.
She also said the law “puts officers into a position where they’re enforcing misdemeanors in a population that is already vulnerable, taken advantage of in a lot of different ways.”
Vaughan is a long-time incumbent who said he will continue will his priorities. “Ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods, reducing traffic congestion, keeping taxes as low as possible, and providing for greater prosperity and freedom are qualities I will continue to support,” Vaughan
Creating more park land has been important for the city, he said.
“Funding parks is difficult. Like a lot of things they cost a lot of money, but we’ve been very effective at getting grant dollars,” said Vaughan.
Keeping infrastructure maintained is another goal for Vaughan. He said during his initial term the city had to get up to $1 million per year in the budget for that.
“At the time we had a fund of about $50,000 to do street overlays,” said Vaughan, however the city was able to create a sustainable fund for that maintenance.
Brady is a Marysville resident who said a “new direction” is needed for the council.
He believes in “bringing high-wage union jobs to Marysville. As an aerospace machinist myself, I know what a union wage means to a family.”
Local jobs mean less commuting and more time for family, said Brady.
“I know what it means to sit on I-5 and wait,” he said. “That is less time with my kids, less time with my wife, less time with my community, and more smog in the air."
Brady supports marijuana retailers in the city.
“I propose we repeal the marijuana shop ban and use that new revenue to fund infrastructure projects,” he said.
“It’s 2021, let’s get local jobs in the economy,” said Brady, who added that the ban simply causes people to drive and spend their tax dollars in nearby communities.
Marysville City Council Pos. 2
The Pos. 2 race is between incumbent Mark James and Ambyrlee Gattshall.
James said he will continue to “promote smart spending while fighting efforts to raise taxes.”
Traffic infrastructure is important to him and he pointed to projects the city has completed in recent years such as the 51st Avenue connector and the First Street bypass.
To support homeless individuals, James said “the role of the city is to provide citizens with a way to help each other.”
The city still supports programs directly with federal funds and other programs as well, he said.
Gattshall said she wanted to run to help highlight parts of the city.
“I would love to show most of Washington how historic Marysville is,” she said.
She also hopes the city can support business owners.
“We need to put emphasis on the local businesses that we have … a lot of them are really hurting since 2020,” she said.
Housing costs are increasing and she said the city should support homeless individuals.
“We should at least try to have funding for social services,” she said.
Marysville City Council Pos. 3
Incumbent Tom King and challenger Kevin Gallagher are the two candidates for the Pos. 3 seat.
Gallagher said he believes the city is at an important crossroads in terms of development.
“We could either go down the path of Lynnwood, doing things the easy way and creating a mess or we could develop like Mill Creek or Anacortes where it is aesthetically pleasing, draws in people, and keeps them spending their money here,” he said.
Development was also important to help increase funding to increase parks, said Gallagher.
To help small businesses Gallagher proposed low interest loans provided by the city to improve storefronts.
King said he supports continuing to pursue grants to help build more parks.
“There’s a lot of competition out there and we’re competing with other cities, other jurisdictions,” said King.
Marysville provides programs such as the Embedded Social Worker program that King said is helpful, however he also hopes the city can provide other kinds of support such as a pallet shelter.
“I think they work. There was a proposal here in town that didn’t work out, but I think perhaps in the future they may fit into our community,” he said.
Marysville School District Pos. 4
District 4 covers some of east Marysville and the Getchell Hill area. For residents of those areas, the race between incumbent Vanessa Edwards, Jim Ross, Clarence Shaw and Wade Rinehardt will appear on the primary ballot.
Edwards hopes to continue her support for all types of students.
“We should always be prepared to include our students and make sure they feel welcome,” she said.
She pointed to the board ensuring a ramp was included at a new playground.
“That’s a really basic one, but if a student can’t play on the playground you’ve failed at inclusion,” she said.
Emotional support is also important for students.
“If you’re not comfortable being in school, if you don’t want to be there, if you’re not engaged and there’s no opportunities for you, why are you going try?” she said.
After criticism of the board over the last year Edwards acknowledged that work is needed to heal.
“Trust takes time and there’s not a magic bullet for that,” she said. “We’re going to make sure we’re continually listening, taking what we hear and making adjustments to it."
Shaw has served on a school board in southern California in the past and hopes to bring that experience to Marysville.
The district’s challenges passing levies and bonds is something he hopes to change.
“We need money in this district and I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could run and pass a successful levy,” said Shaw. “I want to get on the board and pass a bond measure."
Shaw supports transparency, but said the community needs more.
“There’s no use to just sending data,” he said. “I’ll go beyond that and look at recommendations for the next quarter and so on,” he said.
The public needs to have trust in the board to function, said Shaw.
“Apologies need to be in place. That needs to be number one,” he said. “You cannot run a public school district without backing from the community.”
Ross has been a resident of Snohomish County for 23 years and hopes to improve local schools.
He hopes the district can move forward with it’s desire for improved equity.
“You need to be loud and proud that that is your intention. We want to be a district that values diversity and reflects all of the colors, shapes and sizes of the community,” he said.
The school district recently created a Director of Equity role, however Ross said that to be effective the position will need committed funding and support.
Ross also noted that the district should start now supporting LGBT students.
He made it clear that schools should have an inclusive curriculum.
“People are arguing about curriculum in schools today and about teaching history that may tarnish the image of the country,” he said. “We have a responsibility to teach about this."
Candidate Rinehardt was not at either forum but his statements are available at his website at rinehardt4schoolboard.com.
Marysville School District District 1
District 1 covers all of Tulalip and some parts of the Marysville downtown and the race will be between Ray Sheldon and Connor Krebbs.
Incumbent Chris Nation is not running for re-election.
Krebbs came to the area from the Navy.
“I don’t want to wait for my daughter to go into public school to get involved,” he said.
The district needs “active community transparency,” he said.
“Things have to get in the hands of parents,” said Krebbs, not simply put onto a website.
He hopes to promote a culture of safety and respect.
“We can bring local schools to a place where respect is being incorporated into everything being taught,” he said.
Sheldon is a Tulalip Tribal member who hopes to improve equity in the district.
“It’s getting better, but we could do much better,” he said.
Tulalip has a large influence, he said, but there are other groups as well.
“I’m really frustrated that we don’t talk about the Hispanic people here in this town,” said Sheldon.
Sheldon has three grandchildren with special needs and said budget is the biggest barrier.
“We have to get the money somehow … we need to figure out how to help these kids,” he said.