Sedro-Woolley City Council

Sedro-Woolley City Council candidates, from left, Karl de Jong, Joe Burns, Nickolas Lavacca and David Baer.

A pair of contested races for seats on the Sedro-Woolley City Council will be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 general election.

In Ward 6, incumbent Karl de Jong will face newcomer Joe Burns.

David Baer is running against Nickolas Lavacca to fill the at-large position held by Kevin Loy, who failed to advance out of the primary election.

Ward 6

Seeking a second term, the 55-year-old de Jong said he wants to be re-elected to, "ensure our city remains a place where families can grow roots, small businesses can thrive and our rich history is respected."

He said holding the position has allowed him to get to know his neighbors, advocate for the interest of those in Ward 6, keep the roads in good shape, protect public safety, and work for families and businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am proud of those accomplishments, and I know we can do more together," de Jong said.

As far what looms on the horizon for the City Council, de Jong said the pandemic hurt jobs, devastated families and crushed small businesses.

He said recovery will take time.

"Our challenge as a council is to support residents while remaining accountable," de Jong said.

He said he stands by his record.

"I am constantly out in the community, listening, adjusting, and letting facts on the ground inform my decisions," de Jong said. "My priorities are job security, good roads and public safety.

The 36-year-old Burns is seeking his first elected office. He said he would would like to be a role model to his young son while serving his community and helping Sedro-Woolley grow responsibly.

His priorities are growth, infrastructure and drawing new businesses to town.

"Growing responsibly by making sure infrastructure projects keep up with the number of new homes being added to our community," Burns said. "Also, working to ensure the financial burden of those new neighborhood projects does not fall on existing residents.

"(We need) a robust set of short-term tax incentives for businesses that commit to our town and will bring in sales tax revenue over the long term. (And) setting up a program to defer impact fees and make it easier to set up shop in Sedro-Woolley."

Burns said he works hard for his family, and if elected that ethic will continue for the residents of Sedro-Woolley.

"Using common sense to bring more revenue to Sedro-Woolley while avoiding raising property taxes," Burns said are key. "As will building consensus on the issues facing residents so that we may move forward together."

At-Large

Though Baer and Lavacca are newcomers to the political scene, both are excited about having the opportunity to serve their community.

The 33-year-old Baer works for Washington State Parks and is a graduate of The Evergreen State College.

He considers himself an informed voter who is interested in helping set public policy.

"This seemed a great way to learn the processes that shape my life and the lives of others in my community," Baer said. "I hope this new perspective will aid in future efforts to affect effective inclusive policy in a small Skagit town."

Growth continues to be a common theme.

"Growing issues of housing inequality and more competition in the rental market are very concerning," Baer said. "I believe that this is connected to the health of the downtown core. This is all exacerbated by the increase in division at the federal level and distrust in institutions.

"I will find new ways to bring revenue to the city of Sedro-Woolley. There shouldn’t be any reason that the local government can’t be trusted as a provider and champion of its citizenry."

Baer described himself as a helper with a drive to assist those around him.

The 41-year-old Lavacca is an enviromental health and safety manager who has studied at Skagit Valley College and the University of Washington.

For Lavacca, running for City Council is about involving himself in the community.

"... I feel like it would be good to get involved and serve the community in the At Large position because it would allow me to visit all the shops and community to see how they feel about the city, voice their opinions in the council, as well as use it to help shape my decisions that come before the council," he said.

Lavacca sees growth, traffic and supporting local businesses as priorities.

He said he understands the need for low income housing and more housing units as housing prices continue to increase. At the same time, however, the impacts on schools, roads as well as other infrastructure must be addressed.

"I am a member of this community and I care about it," Lavacca said.

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@goskagit, Facebook.com/VinceReports/

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