MARYSVILLE – Five candidates are facing off in the Aug. 6 primary to replace City Councilman Rob Toyer, who is running for Snohomish County treasurer.
The top two vote-getters advance to the general election Nov. 9.
One candidate, former councilman Jeff Seibert, did not return our questionnaire.
Todd Fahlman, 50
Employment: Realty One Group – franchise owner, Community Homebuyer Education Services, LLC executive director
Education: Two years Western Oregon University, Washington Real Estate School, Real Estate Negotiation Institute Why are you running?: Six years ago I decided I wanted to become more involved in my city. I’ve lived in Marysville since 1998. The more I got involved the more it became part of my life. Experience: I run a small business in Marysville, and I understand the growth concerns as well as the effects that city leadership has on businesses. My team and I started volunteering monthly at the Marysville Food Bank almost two years ago. We have also supported many events at the Opera House and Parks Recreation and Culture. Being in the Marysville Sunrise Rotary Club has also allowed me to see things that you can only see while volunteering. As a member at the Marysville/Tulalip Chamber of Commerce and serving on the Emissary Committee, I have been able to meet the leadership in Marysville, and I know that we can work together on projects that best serve Marysville.
Top 3 issues:
•Transportation. The exponential population growth in Marysville has caused major headaches. I would like to see the expansion of roads as well as improved public transportation. •Opioid epidemic. This problem is horrible. I would like to see an affordable expansion of the embedded social worker program.
•Housing affordability. With median sales prices rising 7.95% there’s no surprise home prices continue to reach peaks we thought were impossible. There has been a record breaking number of permits approved in the first quarter of this year in Marysville. When this inventory hits it will help reduce the pressure on pricing. The biggest need is attainable first-time home-buyer homes. As the Cascade Industrial Center provides families with living wages they will need to seek ownership without having to live paycheck to paycheck in order to buy a home. Taking a look at smart zoning and regulations that allow developers and builders to produce housing that is designed for this demographic is going to be critical. Why should someone vote for you?: Being a volunteer and business owner in Marysville allows me to best represent its residents. My common sense plus the ability to ask tough questions and get to the bottom of issues is what separates myself from my opponents.
Gary E. Kemp, 48.
Employment: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 191, as a business representative for four years.
Education: Finished a five year apprenticeship program through the IBEW/NWEJATC Local 191.
Why did you decide to run?: Civil Service has been on my heart and mind since I was in my early 20s, wanting to give back to the community I grew up in. Now 28 years later, with my children grown, I have the time, and more focus, on what is important to our community.
Experience: As a rep I have the privilege of looking after our 1,900 members. Negotiating contracts with our contractors and customers, as well as spending time in Olympia, lobbying for different aspects of our electrical licensing. I have been put in charge of several programs, as well as balancing and tracking large budgets. Plus I love being with people and helping solve issues if I can.
Top 3 issues:
•Affordable housing. Young people have a hard time getting into any house due to prices. •Infrastructure: Our roads need improvements, whether widening, traffic revisions or just repaving. I would potentially create new ways to pay for these projects.
•Jobs: Family wage jobs are needed. I am a supporter of bringing new business into our community. If jobs are created here, the money is spent here, and our economy will grow.
Why should someone vote for you?: I believe in Marysville, I have lived here most of my life. My wife and I both graduated in the Marysville area. I would like to see my grandchildren, which I have three, grow up here having the same pride I have in my community.
Kelly Richards, 59
Employment: Pinewood Elementary School paraprofessional. I have worked as a real estate agent/broker and in management for a large, local coffee company.
Education: Everett Community College. Why are you running?: Being part of City Council was on my mind when I was chosen to be part of the Planning Commission. Currently serving my second term, I have spent seven years steering growth in Marysville. The time is right for me to step up to the next level. Experience: I am a member of the Marysville School District Enrollment and Demographics Committee. I have volunteered supporting my children’s school organizations including: Cascade Elementary PTA (past president), 10th Street Middle School Boosters, Marysville Music Boosters and the Marysville-Pilchuck High School PTA. I have been an active leader with local scouting. My volunteer service has also included Marysville Rotary where I served two years as chairman and two years as the assistant chairman of the Marysville Rotary Pumpkins for Literacy project. I was honored with the Paul Harris Award. I am a past president of Normanna Lodge (Sons of Norway), past president of the Washington Jaycees and past U.S. Jaycees National vice president. Top 3 issues:
•Drug use and homelessness: I am impressed with the current work the city is doing with the embedded social work program.
•Employment opportunity: We need to bring decent-paying jobs to our community so that people who live here can work here. We are trying to do that with the creation of the Cascade Industrial Center. This will hopefully create the jobs that we need so we do not have to be the bedroom community to our neighboring cities to the south.
•Traffic: With the success of the CIC we will have more local jobs and hopefully people can avoid the need to travel through miles of backups just to get to work in the cities to our south.
Why should someone vote for you?: I believe the knowledge and experience I have gained as Planning Commissioner make me uniquely qualified to serve on the City Council. I have had the opportunity to actively participate in decisions affecting the growth and development of Marysville.
Noah Rui, 36
Employment: Snohomish PUD
Education?: AA from EvCC (Business focus)
Why are you running?: I am invested in this community, raising my four children here, so I want to help our city be great. I was waiting for an open seat because I have great admiration for what our city leadership is doing, and I want to join in. Experience: I have worked on the Mayor’s Diversity Advisory Committee for five years and have volunteered in classrooms and on Marysville School District committees for six years. I have been involved with real estate in Marysville for 10 years. I studied business and founded the sister-city relationship Marysville has with Yue Qing City in China. The top 3 issues:
•Public safety. I appreciate the successful programs that we have here—such as the embedded social worker program. This decreases crime and works with local agents to establish solutions while mitigating vandalism, graffiti, drug use and the like. •Economic development. A safer community will attract more business to our area, expand our economic potential, and give us more opportunities like the Cascade Industrial Center. •Traffic. As job opportunities increase, fewer residents need to leave our community to support their families. This will reduce traffic congestion.
Why should someone vote for you?: I am proud to be an American citizen, but I am also proud of the unusual path that has led me here. Before moving to America, I lived in a community with dirt floors and no plumbing or electricity. I grew up working very hard. My family were subsistence farmers for hundreds of years. Many people and most women were not allowed to receive any education. I had to leave school at a young age to help support my parents and extended family. Because of all this I have the deepest appreciation for the educational and work opportunities available in America. My wife Rachel is a third-generation Marysville resident whom I met when she worked in China. I waited over two years for my visa to come to America so we could be married. I arrived with $600 in my pocket. This unique journey has enabled me to appreciate the great things Marysville has to offer.