ARLINGTON – In the only contested City Council race, Position 4 incumbent Sue Weiss is facing political newcomer Michele Blythe.
Weiss has lived in town for over 22 years, stayed busy through volunteerism and community involvement, and emerged as an outspoken voice on the council. Blythe, who hails from a military family, shows a willingness to serve her community in a positive, partnership-building way. The candidates submitted answers to a questionnaire from The Arlington Times. Here is what they wrote.
Why each is running
Weiss: 4 years ago I ran to try and make a better community for my family and others to live and thrive in. I am running for re-election because there is still work to be done.
Blythe: To use my passion, skills and considerable experience to assist our community through a time of growth and exciting big city challenges.
Weiss: I have served almost 4 years on the city council. I have learned about city budgets and how cities are run. I have served as liaison to Public Safety, Maintenance and Operations, the Parks Commission and the Cemetery Board. At the county level, I serve on the Law & Justice Council. I have previously served regionally on the Puget Sound Regional Council as Community Development alternate.
Blythe: My experience in banking, finance and leadership has prepared me for this opportunity to work in our community. My experience with government regulations and managing bank audits has prepared me to keep government accountable. Working in this industry has equipped me with strong leadership skills, mentor to hundreds of staff, and to be a strong and positive voice for others. I was appointed Civil Service commissioner and co-chairperson; this commission executes the powers and performs the duties of the city’s civil service and regulations in connection with the selection, appointment and employment of police officers, police department staff, firefighters and fire department staff.
Top 3 issues
Weiss: 1) Infrastructure improvements: With all the development, we need to catch up on infrastructure. This not only includes repair and maintenance of roads, but additional roads, traffic improvements, sidewalks, etc… We need to attract businesses so our citizens have choices of where to shop within our city.
2) Increase public safety: This flurry of development also means additional staff for public safety, as we must ensure the safety of our community. I hear the concern in citizens’ voices when they speak to me about their fears of increased crime and traffic with all the new development.
3) We need more living-wage jobs in Arlington! If we are to expect citizens to work and live in Arlington, we need more companies to come into Arlington that will pay our citizens living-wage jobs, so workers are able to live in a home here with their families.
Blythe: 1)The safety and well being of our families is my top concern. We must ensure that our police and fire departments are properly staffed, trained and equipped to perform their critical work. Belonging to a military family that serves others, I understand the need for these critical community members and how much they give of themselves for others. I will ensure that as our community grows, we maintain the staffing levels necessary to those who protect each one of us within our community.
2)Opioid addiction and homelessness is a challenge. I support the efforts of our police and other professionals who make a difference with integrity and compassion. Chief Jonathan Ventura’s team along with officer Ken Thomas and social worker Britney Sutton accepted the responsibility of our Arlington Community Outreach Team.
3)Our city is growing, but Arlington doesn’t need to lose its small town charm and quality of life. I will be your voice so that together we ensure that growth is planned, measured and responsible. I will listen to you when making decisions that impact our neighborhoods, and I will ensure that your concerns are addressed with transparency and respect.
Why vote for you?
Weiss: I have served almost 4 years on the City Council. I am past the initial learning curve. I have the experience, community involvement, ethics and have devoted the time to learn and educate myself on the issues we face. I speak up with my ideas and opinions. I ask the tough questions and demand transparency. I am active in our community and take the time to listen to what citizens have to say. I have maintained my personal principles when it comes to voting and have fought for more citizen input. I have not misled the community, and the citizens know I am ready to work without personal agenda for the betterment of Arlington.
Blythe: I have the sole endorsements of both the Arlington Police Officers Association and the Arlington Firefighters IAFF 3728. I believe that the public safety of our almost 20,000 citizens requires a fully staffed team. I approach this elected office with a perspective that one person can make a difference. I will offer positivity, transparency and the ability to build effective partnerships.
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