Elma City Council has two contested positions

  • Thu Oct 10th, 2019 9:41am
  • News

Elma has to contested positions on its city council. Charles Butterfield and Mike Cooper vie for the Position 4 seat. Josh Collette and Jim Taylor face off for the Position 5 seat. Here are their responses to a short questionnaire (these have been edited to fit in the space provided):

Position 4: Charles Butterfield

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this job?

I feel that I am very much aware of the senior citizens and the impact of any tax increases that we may want to initiate

What is the number one challenge the person elected to this position will face in the coming term?

Street repair.

What are the big challenges facing the city of Elma now? (if different from previous question)

Street repairs and balancing the budget.

What are your goals in office if you are elected?

Get more streets repaired.

Tell me about your background and what qualifies you for this job?

Several years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and Olympia, as well as being an area resident my entire life.

What is your profession?

Retired railroad worker and current secretary of the Elma Fraternal Order of Eagles.

What information about your personal background would you like to share? (Family?)

My wife and I have lived in Elma for over 50 years and our three children went to school here and now our grandchildren are completing their years as members of Elma High School. We have tried to be involved in different aspects of the city so we could be informed citizens.

Position 4: Mike Cooper

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this job?

As a retired firefighter, husband, father, and grandfather, I understand the challenges we face. As a legislator I worked to secure state funding for parks. During my time as a legislator, council member, and Mayor, I fought tirelessly to support recreational opportunities for families and seniors. I will continue that fight in Elma focusing on sustainable revenue, a viable business community, safe sidewalks and streets, parks for everyone regardless of age or ability.

What is the number one challenge the person elected to this position will face in the coming term?

The railroad crosses east and west through Elma, passing by parks and houses and crossing over many of our south and north roads. The railroad is a key part of Elma’s past and will become a big benefit for our future.

Elma is likely to see an increase in the number of trains throughout the day, and in turn will see an impact with a heightened number of crossings blocked. When the crossings are blocked, access around the community will become more difficult. In partnership with regional stakeholders, I will explore options such as grade separations and crossings using the latest safety technology.

What are the big challenges facing the city of Elma now? (If different from previous question)

Elma needs to focus on long range infrastructure planning, such as sidewalk, street and park upgrades that provide access to all people regardless of age or ability.

What are your goals in office if you are elected?

I will focus on sustainable revenue, a viable business community, safe sidewalks and streets, parks for everyone regardless of age or ability. My highest priority is the safety of our community.

Tell me about your background and what qualifies you for this job?

I have 13 years experience as an elected official that includes serving as Mayor, City of Edmonds; Snohomish County Council; Snohomish County Charter Review Commission, Chair; and State House of Representatives.

What is your profession?

I am retired after a career as a firefighter for Shoreline Fire Department retiring as a lieutenant, a vocational fire safety instructor, and senior center executive director.

What information about your personal background would you like to share? (Family?)

My wife Chrystal and I have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren. We enjoy RV travel and following Linfield College Football. I have been a high School wrestling announcer and sports writer for 30 years and am a former wrestling coach.

Position 5: Josh Collette

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this job?

Elma’s success is very important to me because I am raising a family here. My skillset would be valuable on the City Council. I am a problem solver, I can work with anybody, I have a broad understanding of government operations, and I understand the importance of being a part of something that is bigger than myself.

What is the number one challenge the person elected to this position will face in the coming term?

The largest challenge is making upgrades to the City’s infrastructure with limited resources. We must keep Elma a safe and vibrant community while remaining fiscally responsible.

What are the big challenges facing the city of Elma now? (if different from previous question)

The City has limited resources and needs infrastructure upgrades to adapt to growth and a changing environment. The more significant matters include addressing the intersection at Main Street and U.S. Highway 12, improving downtown parking, mitigating risks created by increased railroad traffic and enhancements to our parks. We also need to be proactive in addressing homelessness in our community.

What are your goals in office if you are elected?

It is my top priority to keep Elma a safe and vibrant community. In addition to maintaining first-rate services we need to upgrade infrastructure for public safety. I also want to ensure our downtown businesses thrive along with the growth at Eagles Landing. I hope we invest in our youth through enhancement of parks and recreation. I believe improving the City’s long-range planning will help Elma progress forward while remaining fiscally responsible.

Tell me about your background and what qualifies you for this job?

I spent over a decade working for the Washington State Auditor’s Office performing audits of various local governments. I currently work for a state agency where I am responsible for the day-to-day operations which includes oversight of the agency’s budget, finances and facilities. This experience gives me a unique perspective and a clear understanding of my role on a governing body.

What is your profession?

I am an accountant and I have spent my entire career in government finance.

What information about your personal background would you like to share? (Family?)

After marrying my wife in 2009, Katie and I chose to establish our life here. She is a life-long resident of Elma, and her family’s service to the community spans multiple generations. I have served the community on the Elma Volunteer Fire Department since 2012, and I have been a Captain since 2015.

Position 5: Jim Taylor

Why do you feel that you are the best candidate for this job?

I have had the privilege of serving the citizens of Elma for three terms as one of their city councilmen for a total of twelve years in office. Throughout these terms I have had the opportunity to enter into cooperative efforts with my fellow councilmen to assess various issues that have come before us.

What is the number one challenge the person elected to this position will face in the coming term?

The biggest challenge this person will confront will be the question of “how do we stimulate growth in the business community?” Elma is progressing toward this goal, we have generated some 400+ jobs over the past couple of years those being at Overstocks.com at the industrial park, Starbucks, Burger King and most recently, the opening up of the Dollar Tree store in the location of the former Elma icon, the Variety Store

What are the big challenges facing Elma now?

Elma’s challenges are not unlike those that face any municipality but if I was to pick one, I’d have to say our roads and sidewalks.

The city has just recently completed a two-block section of seventh street in the city at a cost of some $396,000. Unfortunately, at those costs, the budget for roads and streets becomes rather thin, rather quickly, when it comes to funding care for those roads and streets less traveled.

What are your goals in office if you are elected?

Goal number one is to encourage the city and our business community, perhaps through our Chamber of Commerce, to form a blue-ribbon committee to the end of authoring a business plan for Elma.

The plan would contain those types of businesses needed in the city to provide a full range of services. Then when a business indicates a desire to locate in Elma, committee members travel, if necessary, to the location of the interested party and market our city.

Another goal is to provide a fully functional Emergency Command Center (ECC) for our community that will provide for continuous communications with the Emergency Operations Center in Aberdeen during a significant civil emergency. I have already begun the groundwork to bring this to reality.

Tell me about your background and what qualifies you for this job. What is your profession.

I have a lifetime of responsibility and commitment. First serving the nation for eight years as a member of the United States military in the Air Force eventually becoming the noncommissioned officer in charge of maintenance for an air traffic control radar facility at my last duty station, followed by a thirty year career as a professional firefighter where I retired with the rank of captain, to twelve years of being privileged to have been serving the citizens of Elma. A total of fifty years of public service.

What information about your personal background would you like to share. (Family)

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge my wife. Without her no journey such as I’ve taken would have been possible. Without her encouragement, support, patience and love I would have never accomplished anywhere near what I’ve been able to do.

I met my bride fifty-one years ago when I was stationed in the Philippines and we just recently celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary this past July. We have one married son, Patrick, living in Southern California, working in the aero-space industry. We have no grand children “yet”.

 

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