It has been evident since the primary race began that incumbent Aaron Readon and Rep. Mike Hope were both going to have a tough campaign in the race for Snohomish County Executive.
Now that the numbers are in, with just over five points between them, both candidates are bringing their A-game to the forefront and both have new ideas of how to create jobs and boost the flagging economy in Snohomish County.
Only 23 percent of voters in the county actually returned their ballots and with the expectation that those numbers will go up for the general election, both candidates have a lot of campaigning to do in the next few months.
Reardon is currently leading Hope by just over 4,000 votes which makes it imperative that voters return their ballots in the general election.
Reardon’s eight years on the job has given him first-hand experience as to what the county is going through.
“In these turbulent times, we need a proven leader at the county with a record of getting the job done. I’ve helped make our county competitive by cutting red tape, balancing the budget and building a rainy day fund without raising taxes,” Reardon said. “I’ll be in neighborhoods all over the county over the next two months talking to voters about our shared vision of the work that must be done moving forward and the foundation we’ve laid to accomplish those tasks.”
Lake Stevens and their voting districts were a great help to Hope during the primaries. His focus now is to continue campaigning in the north part of the county but to also concentrate hard on those who live in the south part of the county.
“We did extremely well in Lake Stevens getting 62 percent of the vote. In addition, we gathered 57 percent of the vote in the 44th Legislative District and 54 percent in the 2nd Congressional District. Without question, the people of Lake Stevens led the way for our team. So I wanted to give a big thank you to them. We did this even after being outspent in the primary and surviving negative attacks,” Hope said. “Where our team needs to work is in south Snohomish County where we did not do as well. The closer we go toward Seattle, the harder it becomes to gain votes. Our goal is to bring the energy and message of our campaign to the doorsteps of the residents of south county to let them now we have choices and yes Snohomish County can be that bright spot in the economy that everyone talks about.”
Both Reardon and Hope bring their own experiences to the table, political and personal, each offering different insights and ideas of what it will take to enhance the lives of those living in Snohomish County.
Hope is both a State Representative and a Seattle Police Officer.
“I think both of my positions will ad tremendous practical experience as will my experience of being a former business owner. I am in my 14th year of law enforcement and have a grasp of what works and what doesn’t in the criminal justice setting. This is beneficial because 70 percent of the county budget is criminal justice related. I believe this gives me a huge advantage when drafting a budget,” Hope said.
“As a state representative, I have had the opportunity to sit on the Capitol Budget Committee, Human Services Committee, Public Safety and Education Committee. Not only does this provide budgetary experience, it provides the ability to demonstrate that I can prioritize and negotiate to get things done.
“I vow to use this experience to work with the council to create a better budget that prioritizes our goals and future. Working with 97 others in Olympia has allowed me to demonstrate my ability to work with others and differing political beliefs and still achieve great things (Lakewood Bill, Eryk’s Law, Special Education, and Foreclosure relief),” Hope added.
During Reardon’s terms he has seen great prosperity and growth within the county as well as an economy that has continued to spiral downward both locally and nationally. Through it all he has balanced the budget while not raising taxes and helped create jobs.
“Every community across the country is seeing higher unemployment as a result of the Wall Street recession. In the past three years Washington State has lost 250,000 jobs and slow reaction by Olympia lawmakers has exacerbated the problem,” Reardon explains. “I have a proven record of recruiting jobs to Snohomish County. In the past eight years, our competitive approach has grown new jobs at almost four times the rate of Washington State, a total increase of nearly 38,000 jobs – despite the recession. I played a critical role in crafting the legislation that landed the 787 and local leader in the fight to win the 767 Air Force Tanker contract.”
“We recently spearheaded and opened the Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field to train the next generation of aerospace workers. And, I am committed to fighting to have the next generation 737 built here in Snohomish County,” he added.
Each candidate’s priorities for the county include creating jobs and bringing the over 10 percent unemployment rate down.
“Securing the next generation Boeing 737 super-site in Snohomish County; continuing to balance our county’s budget without raising taxes; and providing new opportunities for baby boomers who have lost their jobs as well as young people just starting out in the job market through training and growth in high-wage jobs,” Reardon said regarding his top three priorities in the four years.
Hope’s main concern is employment.
“Jobs, jobs and jobs, Hope said. “Everyone knows someone that has been out of work or someone whose home has been or is being foreclosed. We have to get the economy moving forward again and the county has to play an essential role.”
“Our team put forth its ‘Getting Snohomish County Back to Work Plan’ a couple weeks ago. We are the only one in this race that has publicly created one. My top three priorities are actually five, since the plan has five steps. All five steps are essential for recovery. Our full detailed plan can be read at www.electmikehope.com, but the steps are regional collaboration-compete globally, keeping our workforce at home, reinvest in the private sector, root out mismanagement and enhancing our educational opportunities.”
Ensuring a great quality of life for those who live and work in Snohomish County is what voters want to see from their county leaders. The next few months will bring new ideas for maintaining and increasing the quality of life we all expect and our County Executive is an important piece of that puzzle.
“I look forward to serving the county and people of Lake Stevens as your next County Executive. Together we can make our county that bright spot in the economy,” Hope said. “I want to hear from the people and what their ideas for making our state and county better. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or learn more by visiting www.electmikehope.com. Also if you want to get involved, please contact me. We could use your help to spread our message throughout the county.”
Reardon cites his vast experience in bringing jobs to the county and knows he will be able to continue to encourage companies to make Snohomish Count their business home.
“Today, Snohomish County sits as one of the lowest cost and most attractive places to expand or create new jobs. Our efforts have allowed us to compete for and secure new business investment and job growth,” Reardon said. “When Korry Electronics was looking for a place to grow, they chose Snohomish County over Seattle and brought with them 600 local jobs. When Comcast needed to consolidate operations they too chose Snohomish County for their 350 local workers. We’ve seen expansion in, and relocation to, Snohomish County from T-Mobile, Goodrich Aerostructures, Primus International and many more because Snohomish County is positioned as a competitive leader.”
In Lake Stevens Mayor Vern Little will be running against former city employee and council member Arnie Clark. Councilman John Spencer is running unopposed and Tony Morea, past American Legion Post 181 Commander is up against Todd Welch. They are running for councilmember Mark Somers position.
Craig Suhaldolnik is running against councilmember Suzanne Quigley.
The Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Candidate’s Forum on Monday, Sept. 12 at 11:30 at the Lake Stevens School District Education Services Center.
Everyone is invited to attend the forum, however, if you would like to partake in the luncheon an RSVP is required and the cost is $15 for non-Chamber members and $10 for members. Call 425-334-0433 to RSVP.