Two contested Anacortes City Council races are on the ballot for the Nov. 2 general election.
Jeff Graf and Amanda Hubik are vying for the Position 4 seat currently held by Matt Miller, who is running for mayor.
In the Position 5 race, Anacortes City Council member Bruce McDougall is defending his seat against Sara Holahan.
Graf, 58, is a department director at Janicki Industries and a first-time candidate. He has been an Anacortes Planning Commissioner, which is a mayor-appointed position, since 2017.
Graf said there is a lack of consensus about the city’s future. Do residents want Anacortes to be a “charming small town,” a “coastal retirement/tourist destination” or a “maritime-based industrial city?” he asked.
He said the city must come up with a vision supported by a majority of residents. He is against funding more studies by third-party consultants.
“We have dozens, if not hundreds, of dedicated and well-experienced residents with the expertise to lead this effort,” Graf said.
He said he is a “true non-partisan” and would remain independent of any political party, union or special interest group.
He said he is a “fiscal conservative” and would look for ways to improve efficiencies and avoid raising taxes.
Other priorities for Graf are supporting more affordable multifamily developments such as apartments, condominiums and townhouses; attracting living-wage jobs; and revitalizing downtown and creating a better connection with the waterfront.
Graf said over his career in the Navy, he helped lead units with up to 20 departments and 5,000 personnel, with budgets of more than $250 million.
“My 35 years of military and civilian experience makes me uniquely qualified to be a member of City Council,” he said.
Hubik, 42, is a legislative assistant for the state House of Representatives. She was a county freeholder candidate in 2018.
She said in her conversations with Anacortes residents, housing, preserving natural resources and improving trails are among the top concerns.
Hubik supports more multifamily housing in appropriate neighborhoods, and more pocket parks and community gardens to mitigate “heat islands.”
“We must build well, manage environmental concerns like stormwater runoff, and keep our carbon footprint low by allowing for equitable access to folks who either can’t afford motor vehicles, or are unable to drive themselves,” Hubik said.
She said her job with the state Legislature and a previous role at the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce has prepared her to be a City Council member.
“My direct work with constituents, stakeholders and agencies at the state level allows me to be totally non-partisan; when people need help, I help them,” she said.
Hubik said she has helped bring relief to people and answer their questions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even if I can’t 100% fix what’s troubling them, I’m here to listen and support,” she said.
McDougall faces retired librarian Holahan.
McDougall, 47, has been a City Council member since 2017 and is a telecom network architect.
He said one goal is to complete the city’s fiber-optic internet project, and if federal funds become available, expand service on Fidalgo Island, onto Guemes Island, in western Skagit County, and onto north Whidbey Island.
“My technology career and experience makes me uniquely qualified to lead the city’s fiber-optic internet project,” he said.
McDougall said the city’s biggest short-term challenge is continuing to address housing affordability.
He said the City Council should consider restrictions on short-term rentals; work with state legislators to adjust impact fees to encourage more multifamily housing; and explore "the emerging trend of pension funds investing in development and rental of affordable housing."
He said to address the climate crisis, the city should aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.
McDougall said he has a track record of getting things done and collaborating.
“I’ve led the effort to build and launch our city’s fiber-optic network and internet service, and have played an integral role in updating our city government’s processes and regulations,” he said.
Holahan, 69, is running to address climate change.
“I am passionate about protecting our environment and planning for the impacts of climate change,” she said.
She said the city should develop a climate action plan, update its Shoreline Master Plan, create a land trust for affordable housing, and expand alternative transportation.
Holahan ran unsuccessfully for the Anacortes City Council in 2017 and 2019.
She said she wants to give voters a choice to elect more women and seniors to the council.
“I represent a portion of our population that is not on council,” she said.
Holahan said she brings experience working for the city of Mount Vernon and serving on various community boards.
“I am devoted to community involvement and want the council to pay more heed to comments received on policy updates and be appreciative of those citizens who take the time to get involved,” she said.
*A previous version of this story mischaracterized a statement made by Bruce McDougall addressing affordable housing. McDougall supports exploring an emerging trend where pension funds invest in the development and rental of affordable housing.