MARYSVILLE — Dozens of Marysville residents crowded the front room of the Coldwell Banker office on State Avenue, to greet Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring was among those attending and is also one of 61 Washington mayors who has endorsed McKenna for the position of governor.
"We haven't had gubernatorial candidates visit Marysville half as much as Rob McKenna," Nehring said to the crowd. "This is the guy who can get the job done. Anything you can do to get him elected will help your city, community and state."
McKenna took the time to meet everyone in attendance, mostly current supporters, after explaining why he chose to visit the city.
"Jon is one of the few mayors endorsing the race for governor," said McKenna. "It occurred to me, when I talked to the mayors, that they sound like small business owners. And that's not a coincidence. Mayors are close the economy in your cities."
McKenna said that the three biggest issues concerning Marysville residents during election season are jobs, schools and affordable secondary education opportunities.
"We have a high unemployment rate in this city and this county," McKenna told the Globe. "When I was in high school, my dad lost his job and that was really hard for us. I understand the issue and am working to help bring jobs back to the people."
He told those gathered that, as governor, he will work to build the economy, support schools and fight domestic violence and human trafficking.
"We all want a state government that makes wise use of state dollars," said McKenna. "People of the state want to work together to find real solutions."
Several members of the audience spoke up to thank McKenna for visiting, while some asked questions about his opinions.
"I'm a second grade teacher in Marysville," said Corina Hansen. "I'm 100 percent public education. I'm curious what you could offer in a charter school that I wouldn't provide for my students in a public classroom."
McKenna, who supports charter schools, responded by saying that charter schools are public schools, and that Initiative 1204 would only bring in 40 charter schools to Washington.
"[Charter schools] are another form of innovation schools, like Arts and Tech here in Marysville," he said. "Charter schools allow us to bring in other models of education. For example, members of the Sikh community have children who suffer bullying because they wear turbans, but if we build a charter school with a culture of peacefulness and tolerance, those students can grow."
The Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce President Caldie Rogers spoke of positive personal experiences with McKenna's Attorney General's office.
"You saved my savings, you saved my little red house," she told McKenna. "You took care of a private citizen."
McKenna is running for the governor's seat opposing Democratic candidate Jay Inslee. This year's election is Nov. 6.