As the Nov. 5 deadline approaches for Snohomish County voters to return their ballots for the general election, one county-wide elected office has become something of a local equivalent to a “subway series” for Arlington, the hometown of both candidates for Snohomish County Council Position 1.
Democrat Bill Blake and Republican Ken Klein have remained friendly and cordial throughout their public speaking engagements together, including their appearance at the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum on Tuesday, Oct. 8, but while the two men share common ground on a number of issues, they’ve also taken care to clarify those areas on which they stand apart.
One point on which both Blake, the stormwater manager for the city of Arlington, and Klein, the at-large member of the Arlington City Council, agree is that a personal touch counts for at least as much as campaign resources in an election.
“Getting past the primary election proved to me that winning doesn’t have to be about how much money you bring in, but about the message you share and the legacy of your past actions,” Blake said. “It is okay to remain fiscally conservative, even in a campaign.”
“Meeting people matters,” Klein said. “Whether it’s going door-to-door or attending events, it is critical for elected officials and candidates to hear their constituents’ concerns, and to communicate their message.”
In the midst of all the other issues that have been raised during the election, each candidate wished to highlight details that they believed voters might not already know. Blake sought to underscore what he sees as his ability to “bring together opposing opinions to accept a common solution,” while Klein wanted to publicly express his gratitude to his “incredibly supportive and hardworking wife” for taking such an active role in his campaign.
“I can generally take the tension out of a heated debate by making sure everybody’s voice gets heard,” Blake said. “That leads to a better understanding of the issues.”
“Running for political office is much easier when you are part of a team,” Klein said.
When asked what traits set them apart from their fellow candidates, Blake and Klein’s answers illustrated the divide between not only the experiences they would bring to the office, but also their political leanings.
“If elected, I will bring to the table up to three decades of working relationships with landowners, local businesses, tribes, and state and federal representatives living and working in Snohomish County,” Blake said. “When somebody wants to know who to talk to about various issues, I am normally only one phone call away from helping them out.”
Blake touted his creative thinking skills and his technical abilities, “that have on multiple occasions turned ideas into reality through hard work and dedication.”
“My experience in the private sector, working for both small and large companies, gives me unique insights into the impacts that government can have on different industries and regular people,” Klein said. “I’ve been in business all my life, and my time on the Arlington City Council has allowed me to work with incredible people towards a common goal, despite our differing opinions.”