Nehring kicks off mayoral campaign in Marysville

MARYSVILLE — Jon Nehring admitted that he's hesitant to promote himself, but fortunately for him a host of friends and acquaintances were willing to do so on his behalf.

Nehring kicked off his campaign to retain his seat as Marysville's mayor on March 8, and was joined by community members ranging from Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick to Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson. Mary Swenson, the former chief administrative officer for the city of Marysville, served as the emcee for the evening's speeches which began with former Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel.

"We need people who are driven by the spirit of service," said Drewel, who noted that Nehring had served in the student council of Everett Community College.

Drewel added that Lovick, who had to leave Nehring's campaign kickoff early, had called Nehring prior to the event to ask if he could endorse Nehring for mayor.

"It's the only time I've ever heard of anything like that," Drewel laughed.

Drewel asserted that serving the public has remained Nehring's main priority over the years and believes the region as a whole has benefitted from that service.

Marysville City Council member Carmen Rasmussen cited Nehring's commitment to the community as one of the reasons she sees him as the best choice for mayor.

"He has a very collaborative approach," said Rasmussen, who described Nehring as especially invested in youth development. "He's very respectful, thoughtful and considerate, weighing all sides of an issue. He's the best kind of leader, compassionate and humble."

Rasmussen credited Nehring with reaching out to the community through the city's Diversity Advisory Committee and coffee klatch meetings.

Everett City Council member Shannon Affholter likewise praised Nehring for his leadership skills, recalling the number of occasions when they've consulted each other on policy issues and pointing out that Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson has also given Nehring his endorsement.

"We feel better having him there," Affholter said.

Former Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall acknowledged that he received guidance from Nehring, who was elected to the Marysville City Council before Kendall was elected mayor, and expressed his approval for what Nehring has done in his role.

"He's great to work with," Kendall said. "I always knew he had a lot of potential. He's a gentleman and a great family man, and he's very serious about this community and its quality of life. I'm confident that he'll carry on our best traditions and do his best to make things better."

Nehring himself expressed his gratitude toward Kendall, Swenson and the other speakers, whom he credited with serving the community to degrees that he aspired to match.

"This community has changed a lot since we first moved here in 1993," Nehring said, citing both the recent central Marysville annexation and the latest census data showing the city's increased diversity. "It's changed a lot since I was first elected to the City Council. We need to think differently about how we conduct ourselves."

With three children in Marysville's public schools, Nehring asserted that he has a personal stake in the success of the community. He praised groups ranging from the Marysville School District and local little league teams to the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs for helping to attract new residents and businesses to the city.

At the same time, Nehring emphasized the importance of the city's efforts to build up its reserve buffer and pay down its debt. He also pledged to carry out plans begun under Kendall and Swenson to bring more commercial development to Marysville, from manufacturing and light industrial jobs east of I-5 in the north end to condos and restaurants in the marina.

To those ends, the city has secured grants to help clean up the marina with the ultimate goal of turning it into a more walkable travel destination, and has formed a Local Improvement District with property owners to split the costs of establishing an overcrossing at 156th Street.

"In May, we'll have an economic development summit with the city of Arlington and the Tulalip Tribes, with whom we'd had fantastic partnerships," Nehring said. "Dennis did a great job of expanding this city's horizons by serving as its salesperson and fostering such partnerships."

Nehring also offered kind words to city staff for doing more with less, noting that Marysville has 5.6 employees for every 1,000 residents, whereas other cities in Puget sound have eight to 14 employees for every 1,000 residents.

Looking to the future, Nehring remains committed to expanding State Avenue to five lanes between 116th and 136th streets, as well as maintaining its low water, sewer and stormwater rates through possible innovations like harvesting algae. He also hopes to work with the state government toward the goal of consolidating the four different state Legislative districts that make up the city into only two districts.

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