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Election 2013: City Councilors plan for campaigns
Ted Miller, Dennis Smith and Genaveve Starr may be ending their terms this year, but the three councilors plan to run for re-election and continue to serve the city for another four years.
The three candidates hope to maintain Sequim’s small-town reputation and manage city growth as best they can within the limitations of the Growth Management Act.
Miller’s primary focus on the council is to move the city government away from a “good old boys club” of developers to a citizen-friendly staff. In addition to improving the road system, Miller wants to promote and expand community volunteering, maintain impact fees on developers and promote openness in the city government.
While he understands that developer impact fees can hinder city growth, he believes that overall they are better for developers by giving them a known, fixed cost when building and allowing them to lower the costs if they find a more efficient method to achieve the same goals.
Miller also believes that Sequim’s senior citizens are an enormous resource that can provide jobs in service and medical fields.
Finally, Miller wants to get more civic involvement for citizens, ranging from expanded volunteerism to creating two new advisory boards for citizens and merchants.
Instead of hearing from merchants who, Miller says, “feel they’re above the law,” he says that the merchants advisory board would be able to broadly speak for the concerns of small business owners. When it comes to business policy, Miller says, “It would be better to listen to one focused group than a cacophony of voices.”
Smith shares Miller’s stance on keeping Sequim a small town and plans to “put his hat in the ring” for re-election. “I’ve just gotten myself to the point where I feel comfortable in the city council meetings,” said the retired Air Force officer from Olympia.
“One of the reasons I liked moving here was because it’s a small town. I was on I-5 all the time and it was just a zoo. I didn’t want any part of it.”
Smith says that despite his stance on Sequim remaining a small community and having a small-town lifestyle, he considers himself unbiased within the city. Smith feels that if the city is going to expand, it should do so by increasing medical and technical industries in the valley.
He cites his unbiased, pragmatic nature as a good reason for re-election, believing a counselor should “collect all the facts you can that are available on a particular issue and then make the decision that’s best for the city.”
But Smith also believes that the city needs to grow industries that are interesting and attractive to younger people, such as more recreation and jobs that appeal to college graduates. After they leave for college, Smith says, “There’s nothing to bring people back here.”
Starr looks forward to expanding the city’s influence through the new municipal building as well as growing the sewer system to locations such as Carlsborg or Sunland. She wants to continue to improve municipal roads and maintain the balanced budget created by City Manager Steve Burkett.
“I think our city staff is doing a great job in managing the money,” Starr said.
Starr, who says she gets most of her input from personal contacts, wants to improve communication by receiving input and feedback from other citizens.
Growth continues to be an issue for Starr, who says that Sequim will need to prepare for a possible population spike. “I’m thinking there may be an influx of people here because it’s such a desirable place to live.”
While Starr doesn’t know exactly what kinds of industries Sequim should have, she approves of the idea of light manufacturing to produce local goods for consumers.
“If we do that, then we could be creating jobs and it would be less of an environmental impact on the world by not having to ship things.” She doesn’t put as much faith in the idea that computers or electronics manufacturing would take root in the area, but also doesn’t discount it since the area is such a nice place to live.