Three candidates are on the Aug. 4 primary ballot for election to the Skagit County Board of County Commissioners, District 2: the incumbent, Ken Dahlstedt; Mary Hudson, a Mount Vernon City Council member; and Peter Browning, a member of the Public Hospital District No. 1 Board of Commissioners. The two top finishers in the primary will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.
County commissioners are elected to four-year terms.
State law empowers county commissioners to budget and appropriate funds for all county activities; build and maintain county roads; make and enforce civil and criminal resolutions and ordinances not in conflict with state law; support and implement state and federal mandates; oversee all appointed county agencies; construct and maintain public buildings; fix the tax levies for the county and its subordinate jurisdictions; authorize payments owed by the county and audit all officers having control of county funds; manage county property and county funds; and prosecute and defend all actions for and against the county.
The Anacortes American asked the candidates to answer the following questions. Browning did not respond.
Name: Mary Hudson
Party preference: Democrat
Residence: Mount Vernon
Occupation: General manager, Wells Nursery; City Council member, Mount Vernon
Education: High school graduate
Elected offices held: City Council member, Mount Vernon
Community involvement: Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation, Skagit Community Foundation, Home Trust of Skagit, MoNA, Skagit County Farm Bureau, Immaculate Conception Regional School
Campaign website: Mary4commissioner.com
Why are you running for office?: Being an effective leader means more than talking about issues. As commissioner, I will facilitate groups around these important topics and create action plans to follow through on. Leadership also means being accountable – after action plans are developed, I intend to communicate our progress to the public through a variety of arenas; for example, the county website, e-newsletters, video greetings, social media and holding public information sessions.
What are the five biggest issues facing the candidate who is elected to this position?: Economic recovery from COVID-19, affordable housing, homelessness, water issues/rights, living wage jobs.
How will you address them?: I will lead collaboration of cities, ports, EDASC and all Chambers of Commerce as they work toward helping their small businesses safely reopen. I propose using CARES funding and federal monies for small business grants. I will commit to a countywide collaboration of city planners to align actions for affordable housing in our cities, where over 60% of Skagit County residents live. They are our experts. The county, state and federal governments are responsible for health and human services. My support, through the Mount Vernon City Council, of the new permanent supported housing project in Mount Vernon has been consistent and I look forward to groundbreaking soon. I support more services for homeless individuals in all Skagit cities. We need to look at repurposing or remodeling existing county-owned properties for a homeless shelter. It would be the most cost-effecting and efficient way to address this issue. Water rights mean different things to different parts of our county. They are all important. I support county facilitation with others to work through required connection fees. The county is compelled to follow the laws of the State of Washington and I maintain good relationships with our state legislators.
What sets you apart from your opponents?: Being on the Mount Vernon City Council, I have experience with cooperative, efficient and transparent government. As the treasurer for the Skagit County Farm Bureau, I have learned from and worked with many of our farmers; I have a good understanding of their issues and how we can work together to solve problems. I have been a community volunteer in Skagit County for many years, so
I’ve been involved in many wonderful organizations whose arms wrap around worthwhile causes.
How are you campaigning and engaging with voters during the pandemic? Lots of phone calls, Zoom meetings and Zoom forums, social media and mailers.