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Marysville’s newest Council member speaks out

From left, Michael Stevens is sworn into the Marysville City Council by Mayor Jon Nehring Sept. 27. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Michael Stevens is sworn into the Marysville City Council by Mayor Jon Nehring Sept. 27.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Michael Stevens credits his interest in city government to his tenure on the city of Marysville Planning Commission and his professional background as an architect.

From there, the annexation of the central Marysville area at the start of the year gave Stevens, a resident of that area, the opportunity to pursue his interest by applying for the seat left vacant by Mayor Jon Nehring on the Marysville City Council.

“We’re in a time of growth that’s being addressed by the comprehensive plan, from Smokey Point and Whiskey Ridge to the old downtown,” said Stevens, a married father of three who joked at his Sept. 27 candidate interview by the Council that he was qualified to serve on the Council by virtue of being one of the most statistically average citizens of Marysville. “I can help represent the city’s 19,000 new citizens from the annexation, since I’m the only one on the Council from that area.”

Stevens’ appointment proved to be a source of controversy that week, when Planning Commission member Becky Foster and Chair Steve Muller announced their intentions to leave the Commission after completing a school capital facilities plan. Muller was one of Stevens’ fellow applicants for Nehring’s former Council seat.

“Mr. Muller has been a great leader for the Planning Commission and the community,” Stevens said. “I have nothing but respect for him. I’ve learned a lot from him in the two years that we sat beside each other.”

Although Muller believes that he was the more qualified candidate, he complimented Stevens in turn and expressed his desire to minimize drama.

“It’s not the outcome I wanted, but we’ll get through this,” Muller said. “It’s nothing against Michael. He’s a great asset to the community who’s educated and has a level head. I’m not mad and I’m not protesting. I just feel that I had the experience and the background.”

Muller noted that his departure from the Planning Commission would not mark a withdrawal from public service. He added that he’s spoken with Nehring about possible replacements for the impending Commission openings.

Looking ahead, Stevens summarized his main goal for his first term as maintaining quality of life, while also addressing issues raised by the ongoing economic climate.

“It’s important that people be proud to live here,” Stevens said. “Quality of life is why many young families come to this area. We need to encourage that growth.”

In addition to promoting greater walkability in the city, Stevens also hopes to encourage the growth of manufacturing and skilled labor in the north end of Marysville, which he deemed “already primed” for such jobs.

“We’ve got a decent bus system, but in the longer term, do we need a rail station, and if so, should it be closer to the north end or the downtown?” Stevens asked. “It might sound cliché, but I’m looking forward to giving back to this community. I’m fortunate to have a good support system, between my home and place of employment, so I want to help provide this city with a positive future.”

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