An incumbent City Council member is facing a former council member for the Position 3 seat in the Nov. 2 election.
Darren Robb, appointed in 2020, said how the council responds to growth is one of his top priorities.
“As a member of the City Council, I have been an advocate for growth that is sensibly planned, especially in the areas of traffic and safety," said Robb, 40, a native of Stanwood. “I am particularly concerned with reducing congestion and improving sidewalks. Sidewalks that connect our neighborhoods, schools and downtown area are definitely a priority.”
Robb, who has a degree in Information Technology & Administrative Management from Central Washington University and is employed as a transportation specialist with Snohomish County, said his professional experience enables him effectively respond to issues related to growth.
“I was on the Stanwood Planning Commission for two years, and I have served on Council committees, including Planning and Development,” he said. “Professionally, I have over 15 years’ experience working for a local government where I have focused on budget and transportation issues.”
Robb said he supports sensible growth.
“My family has lived here for generations, and I understand how important it is to maintain our community’s small-town charm," he said. “As we face the challenges of continued growth, my time on the council has truly reinforced my belief that we need to be smart and not lose track of what makes Stanwood special.”
Long-time resident Larry Sather, 78, who previously served seven years on the council, is challenging Robb.
Sather said the council needs to be prudent with city finances, especially in the use of reserve funds set aside for unexpected expenses.
“Some council members prefer to dig into the city’s reserve funds to pay for services like utilities and emergency services,” said Sather, a retired college professor who volunteers as president of Peace Lutheran Church. “I don’t mind providing services to our citizens, but if I were elected, I would support that these services be paid for out of the operating budget and not reserve funds.”
Maintaining a high level of fiscal reliability is important to Sather.
“The city’s excellent credit rating is in part due to its healthy reserve funds,” he said. “This high credit rating enables Stanwood to get loans approved with lower interest rates whenever there is the need to borrow money, so it’s an important issue to the city and voters.”
Sather contends that a strong financial standing will be beneficial to Stanwood’s future.
“It’s inevitable that Stanwood will continue to grow and will need additional infrastructure development like securing a long-term water source,” he said. “If I’m elected, I will help the city maintain its excellent credit rating to keep us in a good financial position to fund these projects.”
Candidate responses to Stanwood Camano News questionnaire:
Name, age, hometown: Darren Robb, 39, Stanwood
Occupation: Transportation Policy, Snohomish County
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Information Technology & Administrative Management, Central Washington University
Elected offices held: Stanwood City Council Position 3, 2020-current Elected offices sought: Stanwood City Council Position 3
Community involvement: Appointed by the seated Stanwood City Council to Position 3 in 2020. While on council I have served on the Public Works, Community Development, and Public Safety Committees. I served on the Stanwood Planning Commission from 2018 until my appointment to council in 2020.
Why are you running for office? It was the right time for me. I have a career in transportation policy, public administration and budget development, so I have first-hand experience with with many of council’s core responsibilities. In addition to my professional background, my family has roots in the community going back several generations. My wife and I both grew up in Stanwood and we chose to raise our two young children here. With my knowledge, experience, and history, I felt the need to get more involved and help shape the future of our beautiful little city.
What is a major issue facing local residents and how would you address that issue? With all of the growth experienced in Snohomish and Island counties, the impacts to traffic and safety is a major issue facing Stanwood residents. In addition to supporting planning efforts to improve congestion on SR 532 and revamp downtown main street, my focus is on improving transportation safety and operations for all users. Safe, connected sidewalks are important for an active, vibrant community, but sidewalk gaps are a common issue in many areas of the city. I will continue to prioritize projects that connect our neighborhoods to our schools and city centers. Additionally, installing roundabouts in key locations will improve traffic flow while making busy intersections safer. As your representative on council, I will work with city staff to secure funding for priority transportation infrastructure.
Why should voters choose you? Retaining Stanwood’s character and sense of community is important to me. My focus on council has been on preserving Stanwood’s heritage and small-town feel through smart growth and by remaining an attractive destination for small businesses. I built my career around fiscal accountability and I understand first-hand the responsibilities of being a steward of public funds. I was raised here and I am raising children of my own here. With your support, I will work to ensure the health, vitality, and success of our beautiful city.
Name, age, hometown: Lawrence (Larry) A. Sather, 78, Stanwood
Occupation: Retired college professor
Education: B.A., M.A. and Ph.D, Speech
Elected offices held: Stanwood City Council — 7 years
Elected offices sought: Stanwood City Council Community involvement: President, Peace Lutheran Church
Why are you running for office? I want to continue to serve as a City Council member.
What is a major issue facing local residents and how would you address that issue? The city needs a new police station and city hall. The city owns property across the street from Stanwood High School, and I believe the new police station and city hall should be built in that location; that would move these buildings above the flood plain, which is just plain common sense.
Why should voters choose you? I have no political ambitions beyond serving on the Stanwood City Council. My seven years’ experience on the City Council prepare me well for serving there again. I want the City to move into the future, including the buildings referred to above. Also, the city needs a long-term source of water for our future needs. I will help the city to maintain its excellent credit rating, which is in the interests of the city and its voters