Erin Moberg, who was appointed to the Mount Vernon City Council in December, is defending her seat in the Nov. 5 general election against second-time candidate Shelley Acero.
Moberg said in the 10 months she’s been on the council she’s been immersed in discussions on the city’s struggles with housing and homelessness.
She said these are the biggest challenges facing the city, and she wants to continue to focus on them.
“It’s been hard to see the need in our community,” she said. “I don’t want to see any children, especially, without a home.”
Moberg said she’s met with housing developers to identify the roadblocks to building in the city and to discuss what the council can do about them.
She said she supports proposed amendments to city building code that encourage the development of more affordable housing, but said she doesn’t want to stop there.
While she has no elected experience, Acero has worked for 20 years for the city of Burlington, which has given her experience in the mechanics of local government — such as how to craft an ordinance or handle public records.
“It’s not something you can learn in a few months,” Acero said. “I really think that’s my advantage.”
She said much of her work in Burlington deals with budgets, contracts and how state laws affect local government.
Acero said that more affordable housing, and housing in general, needs to be a priority for the city. She said the council should make an effort to work with developers by increasing density and reducing fees.
With regards to homelessness, she said she supports creative ideas. The county-owned former jail in downtown Mount Vernon could, with a renovation, serve as a shelter, and she would work with the county and nonprofits to find other ideas.
Acero also would want to emphasize economic vitality by supporting small independent businesses.
While Moberg said serving on council has been a big change for her, she said her experience as a nurse taught her the skills she needs to be successful.
“We are problem-solvers and we are advocates,” she said.
She said her relative lack of exposure to local politics gives her a fresh perspective to the job. It’s good to have a council with a wide range of ages and professional experience, she said.