Six seek spot on Sequim City Council

Virtual interviews conducted Oct. 12

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As with past vacancies, interest remains high in taking over another Sequim City Councilor seat.

Eight Sequim residents applied for Troy Tenneson’s seat No. 6, a position came open after he resigned due to a family emergency on Aug. 21.

Tenneson ran unopposed in November 2019.

On Monday, Oct. 12, Sequim city councilors will consider six candidates to fill the vacant seat in virtual interviews with more details at www.sequimwa.gov.

Candidates include Janine Bocciardi, Kathy Downer, Keith Larkin, Vicki Lowe, George Norris and Lowell Rathbun.

City Clerk Sara McMillon said applications from two candidates — David Herbelin and Joshua Washburn — are not valid because the candidates do not live in city limits.

City councilors may appoint someone on Monday; that person will serve through November 2021.

Applications for vacant positions with city councilors determining the appointee have drawn larger interest than most elected positions in recent years. Four of the six current Sequim city councilors started as appointees, with Mayor William Armacost and councilor Dennis Smith later being re-elected.

Sarah Kincaid and Mike Pence were selected in late April following the resignation of Jennifer States (who was elected in Nov. 2019) and the passing of longtime councilor Ted Miller.

The last time any city councilor was opposed in an election was in 2015, when three of four positions were contested. Former mayor Ken Hays ran unopposed but shortly thereafter resigned his post in December 2015.

• Council hopefuls

Janine Bocciardi moved to Sequim more than five years ago. She has a background in educational technology and works in educational database design for the University of Hawaii P-20 Partnership for Education

As for her goals if chosen for city council, she said she’s interested in ensuring residents feel heard and to ensure a majority of citizens are served by existing and new laws. She also looks to bridge the gap between newer and older residents by connecting more with them about their concerns and finding common ground.

Kathy Downer moved to Sequim in June 2020 after serving on the Marietta (Ohio) city council from 2014-2019 and working as a nurse for 43 years. She currently serves on the City of Sequim’s planning commission.

As for her priorities if appointed, Downer said she will look to continue the council’s work, search for light manufacturing jobs to relocate here while continuing to support small businesses, consider creating RV short-term parking, and seek more workforce housing.

Keith Larkin has lived in the city full time for two years after retiring from California state service in December 2015. That included six years as fire chief for the Fresno County Fire Protection District.

Larkin said he has no agenda but feels rapid growth in and around the city will have long term effects on the city and its citizens. He said the “best decisions are made when there is open discussion with a variety of viewpoints.”

Vicki Lowe has lived 50 years in the city limits and says she is descended from both pioneer families and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. She works as executive director for American Indian Health Commission for Washington.

She said if appointed her biggest priority would be ensuring businesses are getting support needed to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowe said she also looks to attract and keep more diverse jobs and medical professionals while pursuing community partnerships, promoting quality schools, affordable housing families and more.

George Norris has lived in Sequim since January 2017 and retired as a scientific and technician intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army National Guard after 29 years and 11 years as an Army field artillery officer.

Norris said he believes Sequim needs to promote its identity as a tourist destination more such as “supporting the groups that organize and host such events while minimizing the stress such tourism places on the city and its natural resources.”

Lowell Rathbun has lived in the city for more than two years and is a retired radio frequency design engineer from Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Ore.

Rathbun, an active member of the Clallam County Democrats, said he wants to bring some political balance to the council as it’s “currently dominated by Republicans and needs to be balanced by the presence of more Democrats with progressive views.”

If appointed, his top priority would be the health and safety of citizens, including promoting mask wearing and social distancing. He also seeks more support local businesses, the homeless and those afflicted with mental illness, and workforce housing,

Read more about the candidates here.

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