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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Skagit CITY OF SEDRO-WOOLLEY Council-At-Large

Term: 4 yrSalary: $6,000The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Jared W. Couch (NP)

  • Pola Kelley (NP) Executive Director

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

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Phone (360) 855-0616
Email pokely@live.com
Town where you live Sedro-Woolley
Experience (300 characters max) 15 years with the Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce past 8 as Executive Director; owned insurance office in town for 12 years; President of Community Board for Peace Health United General MC, on the board of SCCEDA, Cascade Loop Assn and Boys & Girls Clubs in town; Rotary; Leadership Skagit 2011
With our community on the verge of a major breakthrough in manufacturing, Sedro-Woolley could once again be the major source of jobs in the area. An example is the development at the SWIFT center, which is vital to sustainable growth and desired progress, it will become the 21st century leader in world-changing technology. Forward thinking and positive action are the keys. The Chamber has been one avenue to being a part of what is new and exciting, but I would like to see plans move forward into action, such as the common library. As your Council at Large, I will work towards creating good jobs and a strong, vital community. The single biggest issue is still bringing more business to town. When another bank closes because it is believed that everyone can just drive to Burlington, it’s a trend that needs to be reversed. Sedro-Woolley has the best schools, the brightest young minds working for the largest local company. People choose to live here. lets see that there needs are met here.
The number of homeless people we see in town is barely a handful, however there are a lot of people truly struggling to meet daily needs. Through the Chamber we have helped the city identify the need and have considered other solutions. For example, a recent survey by the local food bank of their clients identified some of the poverty line issues.The survey identified educational opportunities for adults as hard to come by in Sedro-Woolley and without reliable transportation to SVC (the last bus to town is at 5:35 p.m.) many of the adult education classes at the college in Mount Vernon are not accessible. The Food Banks goal is to offer these evening classes at the new food bank being constructed at the intersection of Wicker and Fruitdale. A recent tour of the new program at Cascades Job Corps will be directed in part at young people who otherwise do not qualify for certain educational opportunities. I hope the new expanded library will also partner in new adult educational programs.
We have a great Senior Center led by Ellen Schweigert, the program offers meals, a place for education, crafts, recreation, and fellowship. We also have an American Legion Post that serves many of the veterans in our community. The local facilities like Birchview, Homeplace, Lifecare, Country Meadows all serve several needs of our aging citizens. The Hospital District has a great program in their Fitness Center with programs directed at our elderly. I believe the biggest challenge for our older folks is keeping housing and healthcare accessible and affordable. According to the CDC, in their report he State of Aging and Health in America 2013, the population 65 years and older is expected to double over the next 25 years, due to longer life spans and the large number of baby boomers reaching retirement age. The report identifies chronic disease as a burden on older adults that impacts both quality of life and healthcare costs. The community will need to address these needs soon.
When one refers to an immigrant as an "illegal alien," they are using the term as a noun. They are effectively saying that the individual, as opposed to any actions that the individual has taken, is illegal. The term “illegal alien” implies that a person’s existence is criminal, as opposed to the individual’s actions – as being illegal. "Illegal alien" is not a legal term. Everyone deserves the same road to gain citizenship. Local law enforcement should not have to address INS issues.
Providing more support to our parks department, many of our park projects are focused on maintenance. It has been good to see that the parks all now have on site hosts to keep facilities from being destroyed but a very small staff can not begin to present park programs like we see in other towns Connecting with the other entities that impact our community so we can continue to collaborate on projects like the SWIFT Center at the former Northern State Campus. By working with the State, the Port, and the County, the City brought to the table those who saw the vision and in a very short time brought it to fruition. Finding the means to bring business to town so that all businesses are able to thrive and be successful. Businesses are the economic driver of a city by creating good jobs and a strong tax base we build a vital community. Complete the formation of the Inter-local library system. There was plenty of opportunity for people to speak to this issue, now is the time to complete it.
Perhaps, it is due to my perspective as the Chamber of Commerce Executive Director but I believe building our economy will help us deal with many of the issues we have today. I think the biggest issue is still bringing more business to town. When another bank closes because it is believed that everyone can just drive to Burlington, it’s a trend that needs to be reversed. Sedro-Woolley has the best schools, the brightest young minds working for the largest locally owned company in the county and we need to have the retail and services needed for families right here in town. People choose to live here — lets see that there needs are met right here.

As a child I benefitted from a library open to all in Sedro-Woolley School District, as I lived near Clear Lake and would not have otherwise had access to a library. This was vital then to a rural child and it still is today. It is backward thinking that wants to keep the bad decision of the 70's, now in this new century. Move Forward.
I have had the opportunity to build working relationships with the Mayor, the City Administrator, several council members, and many of the staff. I have found our City to be responsive, friendly, eager to help, available at even odd hours, volunteering even when their shifts are over. It would be a pleasure to serve with these fine people. I have seen many administrators and mayors come and go. We currently have a truly committed group of people doing everything they can to leverage the assets of the City for the best advantage of all citizens.

Claims by some to represent the community but who only represent a highly vocal minority view are not representative of all and could make the work of our city employees much more difficult. Working towards connections, collaborating to build a better community that is what I will bring to the position. I ask for your vote.

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