As you look at the Nov. 7 general election ballot you should receive by this weekend, you will see two exceptional candidates running for Snohomish County Council in Nate Nehring and Ray Miller.
Miller, 67, has decades of experience working behind the scenes in the Democratic Party getting key legislation passed and working on issues that are still important today.
Nehring, 22, is an up-and-coming star in the Republican Party who was appointed to the County Council and been on the job for nine months.
We questioned when Nehring was appointed why someone with a little more experience wasn’t named. We liked the idea of picking someone young to add some diversity to the council, but we thought Marysville City Councilman Michael Stevens or Arlington City Councilwoman Jesica Stickles might have been a better choice because they had more political experience. Nehring had just started a career as a middle school teacher.
But now we see why the GOP is so high on Nehring. In his short time on the county council he already has proved that he can work across the table with Democrats, and he has a lot of bipartisan support this election. He is very knowledgeable about most of the key issues in the county, having immersed himself in talking to people to obtain information.
He also has already played a major role in passing some key legislation. He proposed an emergency ban on safe drug-injection sites in the county, which passed unanimously. He also voted against a new county building, saving taxpayers $150 million. Instead, the county plans to fix up the old one.
Nehring also is onboard to battle drug abuse and homelessness with police working with an embedded social worker. And he is against increasing property taxes, something that is a very popular stance with voters.
He feels he can increase efficiency and reduce waste in government. He said there could be up to 90 full-time jobs that are unfilled right now that could remain unfilled and save the county a bunch of money without laying off anyone. He also would like to see merit pay ended for department heads to save even more.
Miller said he dealt with a $130 million budget when he was in the Air Force, and he knows he can find up to 20 percent in cuts due to inefficiencies in any budget. He has said he could support a small tax increase to improve public safety.
Miller touts that he has experience that can help the county deal with its No. 1 problem – opioid addiction. He is a drug-and-alcohol counselor who has helped hundreds if not thousands of people, mostly veterans, beat their addictions. And he actually was an embedded social worker in the 1990s in Seattle. He said he knows that issue from top to bottom.
He said he’s not waiting to be elected to work on this issue. He is working with 32 youth in a volunteer capacity on an NAACP Youth Development Program right now. Goals include building leaders to keep kids off drugs.
Nehring agreed drug education is lacking so he is working with local leaders to bring great resources in communities already to schools at no cost to taxpayers.
Miller feels economic development also would help in that area, saying poverty leads many people to drugs. And he wants people in North County to have more access to county services without having to go into Everett.
Both have impressive credentials. Miller was elected to the county Charter Review Commission, has been on the county Human Rights Commission, is a past director of the National Association of Black Veterans and is a past chairman of the 38th Legislative District for county democrats.
Nehring was 10th Legislative District chairman for the GOP, former vice chairman of the Stanwood Planning Commission and co-vice chairman of the Snohomish County Tomorrow Steering Committee.
Both would add diversity to the county council – Nehring because of his youth and Miller because he is African American. Both are severely needed on the council keeping that in mind. We wish both could be on the council.
But in a battle between the experienced pro vs. the young star we have to look at the future, so we would vote for Nehring by the slightest of margins.