Hamilton voters will be asked in November to select four Town Council members, but three of the six candidates in the three contested races have provided little information about their reasons for running.
Each winner will serve a four-year term.
Candidates running for Council Position 3 have been the most forthcoming, sharing with the Skagit Valley Herald that they both view the plan to expand the town outside the Skagit River floodplain with the help of nonprofit land conservancy Forterra as a top issue.
“That’s the biggest thing going on in the town,” said Lisa Johnson, who was appointed to the council in May 2017 and was elected in November 2017. “I think the Forterra project is a fabulous thing because if we don’t expand our boundaries, Hamilton is going to die one house at a time and will cease to exist.”
She said the project is something that will help the town survive long-term, provide residents with housing and bring in revenue.
Dean Vandiver, who is challenging Johnson for the council seat and is the long-time partner of mayoral candidate Carla Vandiver, said many locals see the project as a land grab that’s not in their best interest, and if elected he plans to investigate.
“Basically what they’re trying to do is push us out of town and buy the houses for a penny on the dollar ... that’s why the town’s people are a little upset,” he said.
In addition to his intent to take a closer look at the town’s plans with Forterra, Vandiver said he has a variety of trade skills from a 30-year career in various mechanics jobs that can help him understand how to organize projects for the town to get work done.
Johnson said if re-elected she will encourage residents to come to council meetings to get better informed, the way she did even before she was appointed.
“The problem is the people need to come to our meetings and be informed,” she said.
Possibly the youngest candidate running for Town Council, 27-year-old Travis Patrick, is interested in what’s going on in town and how he can help.
Patrick is running for Council Position 2 against Theresa Boots.
Little is known about Boots’ reasons for pursuing the council seat or goals for the town, as she has not responded to the Skagit Valley Herald’s requests for comment. She also did not provide information to the Skagit County Elections Department for the voters pamphlet.
Patrick, who grew up in Clear Lake and moved to Hamilton in December, said he sees being a newcomer as an advantage because he can be impartial and bring fresh perspective to the council on issues such as the Forterra development plans.
A graduate of Sedro-Woolley High School, Patrick is a corrections officer and volunteers with several area fire departments, including Hamilton’s.
If elected, he said he’s interested in helping the town pursue grant funding to complete improvement projects.
In the race for Council Position 1, incumbent Timothy Morrison and challenger Bill Fisher have not responded to the Skagit Valley Herald’s requests for information or provided information for the county voters pamphlet.
Morrison was appointed to the position in March 2015 and elected in November 2015.