Nation, Thweatt head into Nov. general election for Marysville School Board
By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Marysville Globe Reporter
August 20, 2009 · Updated 3:08 PM
MARYSVILLE — In the wake of the Aug. 18 primary elections, Chris Nation and Heather Thweatt will be moving on to the general election for the Marysville School District Board of Directors, while John Koster and Ellen Hiatt Watson will be doing the same for the Snohomish County Council.
As of 4:46 p.m. Aug. 19, Marysville School District Director District 1 candidate Chris Nation received 2,962 votes, for 39.57 percent of the primary vote, while fellow candidate Heather Thweatt got 2,384 votes, for 31.85 percent of the primary vote.
Nation and Thweatt were equally complimentary toward their fellow "great candidates," whom they both described as having "the best of intentions."
"I look forward to the debates and discussions that we'll be having, which will help each candidate's focus move to the forefront," Nation said. "There are different issues driving each of us, and during the primaries, there were limited opportunities for us to let the public know about these issues, and where we stand on them. Some of us might have more experience than others, in areas such as working with the school district, but in the long run, I think we'd all do a good job."
"I've made a lot of new friends, as we've made efforts to get our word out," Thweatt said. "We've had a lot of great support through word of mouth, and I look forward to seeing that continue. I have a lot of respect for my opponents. I like that so many people stepped up for this race, because too often, these positions go unopposed."
With budget cuts and resource shortages impacting the district, Thweatt voiced her support for a bond issue. With regard to the possibility of school closures, she deemed them a last resort, "only after we've exhausted all other options."
For Nation, one of the biggest issues facing the school district is communication. While he praised district staff, including Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland, and teachers for the "great job" they've done in striving for transparency, he nonetheless acknowledged that "the community still perceives that it's being blindsided on some of these issues. The past few years, we've had tensions and issues, but we need to work together, as a community, to make our schools better. Education is about doing the best you can with what you have. All of the candidates are in it for the kids, or else they wouldn't be running. We just have different theories on how to achieve those goals. It can't all happen tomorrow, but it has to happen within a few years, or else we need to tweak it and fix it."
Fellow Marysville School District Director District 1 candidate Mark Hatch garnered 1,991 votes, for 26.60 percent of the primary vote, in the preliminary count. He is unlikely to move on to the general election, and as of press time, he had not responded to requests for an interview with The Marysville Globe.
As of 4:46 p.m. Aug. 19, Snohomish County Council District 1 incumbent John Koster (prefers Republican Party) garnered 11,932 votes, for 58.79 percent of the primary vote.
"I had hoped that our numbers might be that good, but I'm still thankful for all those who have supported us," Koster said. "From here, we'll continue to work hard to reach out to that remaining 41 percent of voters, and try and persuade them as well.
After a primary campaign that involved a heavy amount of ringing doorbells, Koster anticipates that his general election campaign will rely just as much on him pounding the pavement and talking to potential voters face to face.
"Those doorbells are the best polls I have," Koster said. "The biggest thing that people have told me is that they want our county government to facilitate the health of our economy. People are worried about keeping their jobs and their homes, and many have already lost one or both."
Koster sees it as his role to help ensure that government bolsters the economy, rather than hampering it, and restated his commitment to making sure that the government "lives within its own means," even if this results in budget cuts.
"We have to resist the temptation to raise taxes, because tax revenues are not the be-all and end-all of our government's economic health, either," Koster said. "We need a four-year college in North Snohomish County. We need Boeing to stay here and stay healthy, but we also need to diversify our economy. A job is the best social program there is. When you give someone the ability to start their own business, you're allowing them to build their dream."
Snohomish County Council District 1 Ellen Hiatt Watson (prefers Democratic Party), will also be moving on to the general election, after receiving 8,245 votes, or 40.63 percent of the primary vote, in the preliminary count.
"This provided good information," Watson said. "I'm still confident that this is winnable, but we have a lot to do. We have to get the word out about our message, in order to get different numbers in the general election."
Watson cited Koster's recent vote to retain Fully Contained Communities as an example of how "he's out of touch with what citizens want, since the public supports getting rid of FCCs. We don't need new cities in these rural areas."
Watson reiterated her concern with land use, citing the continued growth of Snohomish County as one of the reasons why it's important to "protect our quality of life and our tax dollars."Contact Marysville Globe Reporter Kirk Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5052.