The Skagit County Elections Office will mail ballots on July 17 for the Aug. 6 primary election. Three candidates are seeking election to Position 2 on the Anacortes City Council. The top two finishers in the primary will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

City Council members are elected to four-year terms and receive $1,200 a month. The council meets on the first four Mondays of each month and approves contracts, ordinances and resolutions; decides land-use issues; and approves the city budget. Council members serve on committees addressing issues related to finance, housing affordability and community services, parks and recreation, personnel, planning, public safety and public works. They also represent the city on local and regional committees.

Christine Cleland-McGrath

Age: 34

Neighborhood: 1613 41st St., the south side of Anacortes

Occupation: Realtor, Windermere Anacortes

Education: Anacortes High School graduate, 2003; B.A. in art history and visual culture studies, Whitman College, 2007;

visual communications, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, 2009.

Party preference: This is a non-partisan position; I believe in voting for the candidate that aligns with my values.

Elected offices held: None

Community involvement: Anacortes Planning Commission, 2015-present; board member and past president, Anacortes Arts Festival, 2013-present; volunteer and Mountain School chaperone at Fidalgo School, 2007-2013; Port of Anacortes Convention Center Advisory Committee, 2019; Anacortes Landlord Tenant Coalition, 2019; City of Anacortes Hiring Committee, 2018; Anacortes Rotary Club (2016-present).

Campaign website: ChristineForCouncil.org

Q: What motivates you to run for office?

A: I am a mother, businesswoman, Planning Commissioner and fourth-generation Anacortes resident. I am a Rotarian, Anacortes Arts Festival board member, and community volunteer. Growing up in Anacortes, I flourished in our caring town. My husband and I are raising our daughter here, and now is the time to pay it forward. I have lived in Ward 2 for 30 years and experienced its growth. My family established and operated two longtime local businesses, in which I actively participated. I am motivated to become a council member because I care deeply about our community. Our council benefits from a variety of voices that represent all of our citizens. It is important that city government work together and utilize a local perspective to address those issues facing our community. I want to serve as a city council member who encourages citizen engagement at all ages. We have been fortunate to have the leadership of our current mayor and city council. Ward 2 has been represented by fellow Anacortes High School graduate Brad Adams for 16 years and he has endorsed my candidacy for the position. I ask you for the opportunity to serve as your Anacortes City Council member for Ward 2.

Q: Name three priorities if elected.

A: Preserving and enhancing the unique character of Anacortes that has been enjoyed by both our longtime and more recent residents is of utmost importance. First, the city must work to increase the economic opportunities for our citizens. Second, the city must actively address the challenges of housing that face much of Skagit County and Western Washington. Third, as a city council member I look forward to the opportunity to improve engagement in our community.

Q: How would you address those issues?

A: We must continue to support existing local business. I will champion the collaboration of the city, port and school district to encourage sustainable business opportunities offering living-wage jobs. These entities must work together to complement our region’s strengths. City Council has a responsibility to maintain and improve our infrastructure, services, fiscal health, public safety, and anticipate changes.

Housing is a complex issue and our citizens must be involved in the discussion and implementation of solutions. It requires a multi-prong approach to deal with workforce housing, neighbors needing government assistance, and citizens experiencing homelessness. I participate on the Landlord Tenant Coalition, including representation from Anacortes Family Center, Housing Authority and Community Action of Skagit. Coordinating efforts of various groups, public-private partnerships, and utilizing successful programs from similar jurisdictions, while tailoring them to fit our community will improve our current housing situation.

Community engagement means learning about our neighbors, listening to their concerns, and asking for their help. Sometimes it is as simple as connecting people to solve a problem. The city council should reflect our citizenry and I will provide another viewpoint to the seven-member group.

Q: Provide some examples where you’ve worked with others of opposite views to reach some sort of reconciliation.

A: During my time on the Anacortes Planning Commission, I have had the opportunity to experience the importance of community engagement and the public’s involvement for the betterment of our city. I helped with the 2016 Comprehensive Plan and the resulting Development Regulations. Our citizens brought ideas, concerns, and asked questions. What is most important is having all the stakeholders and voices at the table. Varying viewpoints and critical discussion encourages better outcomes. So I do not shy away from those people with opposing views, but look toward them for a more critical analysis. Ultimately, tough decisions have to be made. My hope is that the people I represent feel that I have listened, reasoned, and used the most accurate information available to make the best decision possible for our community.

Q: Name some issues on which you’ve disagreed with significant donors to your campaign.

A: Growing up in Anacortes, I am fortunate to have longtime relationships with people who have known me through various parts of my life. Some are newer friends who I have met in recent years through the Anacortes Arts Festival, Planning Commission and the Landlord Tenant Coalition. Others are the parents and classmates from my time in the Anacortes School District. What seems to be consistent is that the people willing to volunteer, endorse, and donate to my campaign are people that have known my character and trust that I will use sound judgment in whatever issues that come before the council.

* * *

Dom Tor Fleming

Age: 52

Neighborhood: The Orchards, near Mount Erie Elementary School

Occupation: Chief financial officer and chief operations officer for Recruiting Bandwidth

Education: MBA, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (focus on Finance, Strategy and Organizational Behavior and Management); BA, University of Illinois at Chicago (International Trade and German)

Party preference: Independent

Elected offices held: None

Community involvement: Vice president, National Alliance on Mental Illness Skagit; president, Mount Erie Elementary PTA; program lead, Mount Erie and Island View chapters of Dads of Great Students; volunteer care giver, Cat’s Meow Animal Shelter; volunteer, Anacortes Library

Q: What motivates you to run for office?

A: I want to ensure Anacortes remains a great place for my children and grandchildren. This means ensuring that people born here and living here are not displaced by high-end development, rising housing prices or by a lack of meaningful jobs in Anacortes. This means furthering the protection of our forestlands, parks and waters; addressing local homelessness; ensuring development on our island is healthy for our environment, community and economy.

Q: Name three priorities if elected.

A: Affordable housing; desirable jobs and economic growth; nature and conservation.

Q: How would you address those issues?

A: Affordable housing: I am advocating for the requirement that large-track development must include a meaningful share of affordable housing units. This cannot only be done through incentives. We need more prescriptive solutions like Mandatory Affordable Housing zones.

Desirable jobs and economic growth: I would like to create a buy-local program to bring online and big-box store spending back to Anacortes through education, awareness and incentives. Additionally, I would like to attract service sector employers to open offices in Anacortes to take advantage of our ready workforce, low taxes, low crime, high-speed municipal broadband and relatively low-cost office space. These are excellent careers paying between $50K and $120K annually.

Nature and conservation: I would like to reignite our campaign to protect the remaining Anacortes Forest Land for which the development rights are not yet in trust, and then expand upon our protected lands where possible.

Q: Provide some examples where you’ve worked with others of opposite views to reach some sort of reconciliation.

A: As chief financial officer of a large services company, I drove agreement with our Board of Directors on our competing priorities, exchanging larger growth objectives later for more current internal investment to support employees and build infrastructure now.

As a board member of a regional non-profit, I was able to reach agreement with other members with contrary priorities by pursuing a step-solution whereby we would test each of our development approaches in turn, testing and adjusting as we progressed.

As the president of the Mount Erie Elementary PTA, I totally adjusted my views and accepted better solutions proposed by a volunteer in regard to our fundraising approach. I don’t need to always be right; I want our team to find the right answers.

Q: Name some issues on which you’ve disagreed with significant donors to your campaign.

A: I have no significant donors. I am refusing to accept donations from businesses or any organization with a financial interest in Anacortes or related to any City Council business. I do not believe you can remain unbiased after taking money from industry, developers or others who may profit from my decisions. I will also not accept donations or support from any organizations or people outside of Anacortes.

If there is any disagreement with my small and local donors, it may be about how strongly I want to push for mandatory affordable housing in Anacortes.

* * *

Sara Holahan

Age: 66

Neighborhood: Ward 2, Mount Erie School area

Occupation: Retired librarian

Education: B.A. in journalism, Eastern Washington University; M.A. in library and information science, University of Washington

Party preference: N/A

Elected offices held: Precinct committee officer

Community involvement: Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee chairwoman, Anacortes Food Co-op Board, Anacortes High School PTSA co-president, Anacortes Community Garden Committee, Skagit Referees Association Board, Anacortes Parks volunteer, Anacortes Arts Festival volunteer, Anacortes Community Theatre volunteer, Skagit Literacy volunteer, Skagit Land Trust volunteer, youth soccer referee, member of Friends of the Forest, Transition Fidalgo, Friends of the Library

Campaign website: saraholahan.com

Q: What motivates you to run for office?

A: Anacortes has some crucial decisions before us on how we handle growth, and I am very interested in working with others to achieve good design and urban planning. I would like to see Anacortes do more to protect and enhance our environment. I also want to strengthen neighborhoods and encourage community involvement. I have lived here 20 years and care deeply about keeping the excellent quality of life we enjoy in Anacortes. I have extensive experience working for city government and non-profit boards and I want to use that expertise to serve my community.

Q: Name three priorities if elected.

A: Address impacts of development. There is a lot of pressure to grow and many new houses are large and expensive. We need to make sure Anacortes holds a place for working class families to live and not be priced out. We must respect existing neighborhoods when increasing density so that homeowners are least impacted. Decisions should be made that improve connectivity to schools, shopping, parks and transportation.

Plan for our infrastructure. We need to upgrade existing infrastructure as well as plan and budget for additional physical infrastructure as growth continues to place a burden on our streets, sewers, and other community resources.

Increase attention to environmental issues. This includes stormwater improvements, emergency preparedness, preventing or restoring lost habitat, dealing with impacts of climate change and summer droughts.

Q: How would you address those issues?

A: Zoning needs to be carefully examined. We must eliminate code language that has been too open to interpretation so that rules can be applied consistently. We need to have a process where we actually act on citizens’ concerns about impact to the character of their neighborhood, as outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. I will encourage creative solutions to provide affordable housing, such as cottage homes, using a land trust, well-made townhomes and other designs. I will make sure that such density also includes planning for traffic issues and sufficient parks. I would consider stronger requirements for sustainable building practices and low-impact development. I’d make sure the budget sets aside reasonable funds for future projects, rather than having to borrow. I will look closely at the design of our infrastructure to see if there are some better options that could be more aligned with low-impact development and the effects of climate change. I would advocate for a city staff position for a resource manager with environmental background. This person would make sure all developments follow environmental protection laws, would coordinate solutions to the issue of habitat loss and define requirements for energy-efficient building. We need to reduce plastics, have effective recycling, maintain a robust tree-planting program and plan for impacts of climate change.

Q: Provide some examples where you’ve worked with others of opposite views to reach some sort of reconciliation.

A: While deputy director of the Mount Vernon City Library, I was involved in planning for a new library with the library director, the Library Board, Library Foundation, staff, the mayor, city council and a consulting firm. We made presentations to city council to consider a bond issue. I was enthusiastic about moving forward with a capital campaign to build a new facility. The Library Foundation, board and library staff were supportive. City administration listed reasons to wait, including the need to evaluate voter and council support for taxes. The process continued until we stakeholders agreed to postpone the bond issue while looking for new partnerships. This reconciliation was accomplished by respecting all viewpoints, acknowledging expertise and taking the time to make the right decision. I am part of the Anacortes Community Garden Committee and we discuss garden operations at our monthly meetings. There are viewpoints for different techniques and application of rules. We let all sides present their recommendations and qualifying information. For example, I supported the community garden using the no-till approach, but acknowledged that other gardeners preferred tilling, and we agreed to accommodate both processes.

Q: Name some issues on which you’ve disagreed with significant donors to your campaign.

A: My supporters have donated to my campaign because we agree on the important issues of sustainable growth and environmental stewardship. You can look at my campaign donations to see that I am not financed by any special interests. In addition to my supporters, I will continue to talk to as many citizens as possible and will consider their opinions when making decisions about what is best for the community. I am the best candidate to review issues impartially.

Load comments