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Skagit County ANACORTES WARD 2 Council Position 2

The 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.

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  • Candidate picture

    Christine Cleland-McGrath

  • Candidate picture

    Dom Tor Fleming

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

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

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

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

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

Phone (360) 708-0267
Town where you live Anacortes
Experience (300 characters max) Anacortes High School Graduate, 2003 B.A. Art History & Visual Culture Studies, Whitman College, 2007 Anacortes Planning Commissioner (2015-present) Board President, Anacortes Arts Festival Volunteer at Fidalgo School (2007-2013) Port of Anacortes Convention Center - Advisory Committee
I am a mother, businesswoman, Planning Commissioner and fourth-generation Anacortes resident. I am a Rotarian, Anacortes Arts Festival Board Member, and community volunteer. Growing up in Anacortes, I flourished in our caring town. My husband and I are raising our daughter here, and now is the time to pay it forward. I have lived in Ward 2 for thirty years and experienced its growth. My family established and operated two longtime local businesses, in which I actively participated. I am motivated to become a council member because I care deeply about our community. Our council benefits from a variety of voices that represent all of our citizens. It is important that city government work together and utilize a local perspective to address those issues facing our community. I want to serve as a city council member who encourages citizen engagement at all ages. We have been fortunate to have the leadership of our current mayor and city council.
Preserving and enhancing the unique character of Anacortes that has been enjoyed by both our longtime and more recent residents is of utmost importance. First, the city must work to increase the economic opportunities for our citizens. Second, the city must actively address the challenges of housing that face much of Skagit County and Western Washington. Third, as a city council member I look forward to the opportunity to improve engagement in our community.
We must continue to support existing local business. I will champion the collaboration of the City, Port, and School District to encourage sustainable business opportunities offering living-wage jobs. These entities must work together to compliment our region's strengths. Council has a responsibility to maintain and improve our infrastructure, services, fiscal health, and public safety. Housing is a complex issue and our citizens must be involved in the discussion and implementation of solutions. It requires a multi-prong approach to deal with workforce housing, neighbors needing government assistance, and citizens experiencing homelessness. I participate on the Landlord Tenant Coalition including representation from Anacortes Family Center, Housing Authority and Community Action of Skagit. Coordinating efforts, public-private partnerships, and utilizing successful programs from similar jurisdictions, while tailoring them to fit our community will improve our current situation.
The city has a responsibility to use best available science to preserve and enhance our environment and natural resources. Working with local businesses and the community, we will find ways to balance the needs of people, while protecting critical areas. Utilizing the 2016 Comprehensive Plan as a guide, we have identified important features of our island that are of value to the residents. The city has a responsibility to look development and its longterm impact on surrounding property. This includes water run off, low impact design, traffic impact, geological integrity of hillsides, proximity to shorelines, and other issues that individual applicants should address prior to construction. The city will continue to protect our shorelines and forestlands for future generations.
Anacortes has done a good job maintaining and improving our infrastructure. The most frequent frustration is the condition of our roads. There are potholes, deferred maintenance and streets that lack safety improvements necessary for our growing city. The waste water treatment plant is incredibly efficient, but there are some issues with water infiltration in old pipes that overwhelm the plant when we have massive rainfall. This issue has been raised, and the city is working with a consultant to look at options. The city is experiencing a few growing pains, but our government, staff, and residents are finding solutions. The municipal broadband will be a huge benefit to our citizens and businesses, too.
We have to find solutions that work for our small town. Homelessness is a result of a lot of factors including, rising rents, medical costs, domestic violence, mental health, and addiction. It is a problem across the west coast. Anacortes should continue utilize public private partnerships with churches, the Anacortes Family Center, Skagit Community Action, and other entities. What we cannot do is tolerate crime or violence. The Anacortes Family Center has hired a community social services professional to provide information and intervene when there is an individual that is housing insecure or experiencing homelessness. Dialogue and responding to the changing needs will be key.
Immigration is a federal level issue, but one that impacts all communities. We have a responsibility to our citizens to maintain a financially responsible city with the necessary infrastructure, social services, and safety for them to succeed. Our country was founded by immigrants and compassion when dealing with this issue is essential.
The council consists of seven members, with three representing wards and four at-large. As the council member from Ward 2, I am specifically tasked with bringing forward concerns and issues from that geographical area. During the campaign, I have door knocked on every street, and attended meet and greets in various neighborhoods. Once elected, it is important to be out in the community and available. That means chatting with citizens at the post office, grocery store, Friday night art walk, and other public spaces. It also means being available for conversations and following up with concerned groups. I am attuned to the community and have a track record of seeking out issues. Listening and responding goes a long way.
Phone (425) 260-1460
YouTube Video
Town where you live Anacortes, Washington
Experience (300 characters max) I have 25 years working in leadership in medium to large complex organizations, both non-profit and for profit, leading them through healthy and manageable growth. My most recent roles have been as Chief Financial Officer, Chief People Officer and Chief Operating Officer of services organizations.
I have extensive leadership experience and skills in areas of planning and development for large and complex organizations. I have worked for 25 years in guiding the healthy growth, structure, operational efficiency and financial health of organizations with budgets ranging in size from $3M to $3.2B. My education and acumen are focused in finance, strategy and organizational management. My experience as Chief Financial Officer, Chief People Office and Chief Operations Officer has provided me broad insight into organizational management. Additionally, I have strong skills and experience in project management, people management, team development, meeting facilitation and conflict resolution. I am hoping that these experiences and skills will serve to benefit the City Council and the people of Anacortes.
Anacortes is a beautiful small town with amazing forests, waters and parks and a broad diversity of people, occupations and incomes. Its downtown is filled with thriving small shops, cafes and restaurants. It is a friendly town with low crime, outstanding schools, protected forestlands and a wonderful personality.

As the town grows, my goal is to retain that special character. As we plan for and accommodate population growth we'll need to create affordable housing so people born here can stay here; to permanently protect our forests, parks and waters; to bring in industry and employers to provide meaningful careers to our people without endangering our ecosystem or character; to planfully convert to renewable energy; to respond to homelessness and poverty in our own community; and to establish localized buying programs to drive economic growth.

I'm running to ensure Anacortes remains a healthy and welcome home for any people of any income level.

My primary concerns are about the healthy development of housing and business. There are interests which would like to prioritize housing and business development for the sake of profit and for the wealthy at the expense of long-time and lower-income residents. Since there is limited space left for development in Anacortes, we'll need to fight to ensure there is affordable housing, to keep out big-box stores which will destroy our small-town character, to grow jobs and build businesses which are healthy for our town, and to ensure that our forests and waters remain protected.
Locally, we have over 3,200 acres of partially protected forestlands on Fidalgo Island which provide great qualify of life and beauty for our residents as well as a haven for a broad range of animal life. We need to firm up the protections on our forestlands by putting in trust the development rights on the remaining acres of these forests.

Additionally, the City has an important role in local environmental stewardship to protect the waters which surround us from chemical drain-off and industrial contamination, to promote the use of renewable energy, to support cleanup and rehabitation where environmental damage has taken place, and also to ensure that new development projects are built to support and fit with the island's nature without causing problems with waterflow, drainage or native wildlife.
Anacortes' infrastructure, while relatively sound now, will face several challenges with the City's growth.

We are projected to grow in population by approximately 6,000 people (30%) over the next 18 years. This will increase the need for water, housing, parking, public transportation and public services. Anacortes is on the feed-end of the Skagit River and has ample rights to water for residential and business use. With increasing droughts and population growth, this may not be sufficient, and we may need to supplement through the use of reservoirs in the future. We currently have a shortage of affordable housing for lower-income residents and we'll need to earmark a portion of new development as affordable housing. Our downtown is becoming parking-challenged, which we may alleviate through additional public transportation options, bike routes and parking lots. And we'll need to scale up our roads, emergency services and public assistance capacity as we grow.

Homelessness and scarce housing are growing in Anacortes, and we need a combination of actions to respond better. 1. Our family shelter is excellent and effective in getting 75%+ of residents into sustained housing, but we also need a shelter where single men are welcome. 2. We need municipal and county support to provide toilets, showers and laundry facilities to our homeless population. Local government must support this directly if it wishes to route people away from private facilities or from addressing their needs in public. 3. The City should provide a partially or wholly assigned social worker to track, monitor, communicate with and communicate the needs of our homeless community. This person can route the needy to shelters, mental health services, medical services, facilities and suitable support programs, as well as advise the City on our homeless status and the best support options. 4. We should create an employment support program to help match homeless to local jobs
I do not believe the City has a role in addressing immigration issues, except in providing support to immigrants who are suffering from poverty, homelessness or who are living in danger. Immigration enforcement is a federal issue regulated by federal law; it is not the City's role to decide who should or should not live here. Our role is to ensure the people of our town, especially the disempowered and helpless, are not put in danger due to their status (e.g. human trafficking, forced services and blackmail over immigration status).

Additionally, our police must not be used as agents or partners to ICE as such a partnership would prevent undocumented residents, especially women, from reporting crimes and abuses they may be subject to. Anacortes police have a single responsibility, which is to protect and serve all Anacortes residents; men, women and children, regardless of immigration status.
I would like to use active and passive approaches to creating great and constant communication with residents.

Passively, information and communication can take place via the City's website, publications and newsletters to create transparency on what issues are arising, what is under consideration and what and how decisions are made.

More proactive communication should also take place by inviting public participation and comment in frequent open meetings, by holding single-subject discussions with residents to collect input, by inviting and responding to public comment, by establishing office hours when residents are free to meet City Council members to discuss any issue of concern.

The job is to represent the interests of the residents, all the residents. That means creating a constant dialogue so we can stay in touch with their concerns, needs and preferences.