Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton is defending his seat in the upcoming primary election against City Councilman Joe DeGloria and political newcomer Michael Brawley.
Sexton, who’s seeking his third term, said he’s proud of his work in assembling a new leadership team, and is eager to continue leading the city as it expands its fiber optic network, its fire department and efforts to fight homelessness and opioid addiction.
DeGloria, who has served on council since 2014, said his history of prudent oversight over the city’s budget makes him an ideal candidate for mayor.
Brawley, a carpenter and student at Skagit Valley College, said he’s motivated to improve the city’s traffic and street safety.
The primary is set for Aug. 6, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the Nov. 5 general election.
Sexton said the department heads he’s brought in are all relatively new, and are bringing with them new ideas.
“We’ve just now started to tap into what can really be done in this city,” he said.
When reflecting on his time as mayor, he said his proudest moment was when the city managed to close the Sterling Motor Inn, a motel that was hot spot for drug use, prostitution and other illegal activity.
More important than getting the motel shut down, Sexton said, was that the city coordinated with social services to get the eight families living in the motel into permanent homes.
He said the biggest issue facing the city’s next mayor is homelessness and opioid addiction, problems that affect everyone in the city but that do not have funding to address them.
Sexton said he has the experience and relationships needed to collaborate with the county and state to find funding and participate in solutions.
“If this is truly the crisis we say it is, all options need to be on the table,” he said.
DeGloria said in his five years on the City Council, he’s consistently been a prudent steward of taxpayer money.
“I haven’t ever let off,” he said. “I’ve consistently been that watchdog.”
DeGloria remembered a time when he questioned a $260,000 estimate to repair a clogging issue with the toilets at Skagit River Park. He said he encouraged city staff to find a cheaper solution through collaboration and using existing resources.
“Long story short, the bill went from $260,000 to being done in house, to costing about $40,000,” he said.
If elected, DeGloria said his first priority would be to address what he called “gross mismanagement” in the finance department. He alleges the department is keeping inaccurate data and allowing unauthorized spending.
He said would accelerate fixing the department, and keep the council informed on his progress.
Brawley, a lifelong resident of Burlington, said the city has failed to provide streets and sidewalks sufficient for its growing population.
“It’s my community, and I feel like it’s going the wrong way,” he said. “I just feel like the city has gotten to the point that they don’t care about the people.”
If elected, he would aim to add sidewalks to more streets and improve traffic flow throughout the city.
“I’ve been in construction my whole life,” he said. “I know how to get jobs done.”