ARLINGTON – Usually mild-mannered Chris Raezer seemed a little too impatient to get to the Transportation Benefit District meeting and adjourn Monday’s City Council meeting.
He knew what was coming. The last item on the night was sincere farewells and appreciation for the outgoing councilman Raezer, whose public service included 12 years on the council and several years on the parks commission before that.
“We’re going to miss your wisdom on the council, your thoughtful voice,” Mayor Barb Tolbert said.
With family looking on, she presented him with an engraved plaque in appreciation for his leadership, dedication and understanding of the community. And, she added, “Your passion for wanting to see the best for Arlington.”
Raezer wheeled into politics in 2001 thanks to a nudge from fellow Council Member Marilyn Oertle, and a skateboard park project. Seeing the potential in him, Raezer got involved on the parks board during planning and design for the skateboard park at Quake Field. Yes, he owned a skateboard.
“He is probably the only council member that has actually used the skate park,” Tolbert said. “During that time he was very engaged and very active, and we can thank him for the skate park as one of the first projects he got behind and drove to consensus.”
The mayor also appreciated Raezer’s knack for seeing Arlington’s role from a more-regional level. He served as a Snohomish County Cities representative on the Puget Sound Regional Council Economic Development District Board, and council representative on the Arlington Economic Development committee.
“Knowing you, I know you’re not done,” Tolbert said.
For Raezer, who appeared on the ballot but didn’t campaign much for re-election that resulted in defeat to newcomer Josh Roundy, he kept his reasons for leaving close to the vest, but he’s at peace with his decision.
“I’m just going to enjoy getting my Monday nights back, and see where the sparks fly for what, I’m sure, is something else that is going to grab my interest,” Raezer said after the meeting.
The one thing he really wishes he could keep working on is assisting the fire department and public safety. With proposed Regional Fire Authority talks ending abruptly last week between the city, Marysville and Fire District 12, Raezer said, “I feel it was premature on Marysville’s part, and it’s disappointing to see. Who knows where it could have gone? Who knows if there is a future in it, but I feel like the talks ended too soon.”
Councilwoman Debora Nelson thanked Raezer for his guidance. “You’ve been an excellent mentor and a balanced voice to come talk to at times when I wasn’t sure about things,” she said. “I trusted your historical perspective.”
Councilwoman Jan Schuette and Raezer, who is well-versed in all things aerospace, served together as liaisons to the airport.“What was great serving with Chris was that I have no aviation background whatsoever,” she said. When issues came up, he was ready with answers.
Councilwoman Jesica Stickles said even though she and Raezer didn’t always agree, they enjoyed some good debates, and she always respected the positions he took.“He even changed my mind a few times,” she said.