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Snohomish County Executive

The county executive serves as the head of the executive branch of government. The county executive has the power to veto legislation; however, a veto can be overridden by the council with a two-thirds majority vote or greater. The county executive proposes policies to the council, executes policies adopted by the council, prepares a budget, and has responsibility for general administration of the county. The county executive appoints and may dismiss department heads, generally with the consent of the council. The county executive's role is similar to the role of a mayor in a mayor-council city.

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    Dave Somers

Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are three major issues facing your county?

Which of the above mentioned issues do you consider the most important?

How would you approach what you consider the most important issue?

What do you think are the most important environmental issues your county will face due to changing climate?

What are the issues surrounding your county's infrastructure?

How do you think your county should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How do you think your county could best respond to homelessness and the economically disadvantaged?

What would be your approach to balancing development with protecting our natural resources?

Phone 425-388-3312
Party Preference Democratic party
Town where you live Unincorporated Snohomish County
Experience (300 characters max) 22 yrs. Fisheries/Forest Ecologist 14 yrs. Snohomish County Council 3.5 yrs Snohomish County Executive BSc, Fisheries Science, UW MSc. Forest Ecology, UW
I decided to run for County Executive because I did not agree with decisions that were being made by the prior two County Executives, the relationship between the Executive and Council had deteriorated to extreme levels, and I love living and working in Snohomish County and want to help guide it to a prosperous and healthy future.

I believe that we have a responsibility to plan for the future and try to keep the wonderful qualities that make Snohomish County a wonderful place to live and work. This includes a healthy environment, successful agriculture and forestry industries, distinct and thriving communities, and a healthy sustainable economy. I also want the county to remain and grow as a diverse welcoming place for all our residents. I also believe in collaboration over turf battles and conflict whenever possible.

I believe I have the experience and knowledge to achieve these goals.
- Opioid epidemic - Traffic and transportation - Protecting our quality of life and environment
Opioid epidemic.

Too many of our family, friends and neighbors are suffering from this plague. It affects us not only directly, but affects our businesses, neighborhoods, and communities.

Far too many are dying, creating public health problems, taxing our public safety workers, and ruining their own lives and the lives of those around them. This epidemic was largely started by overzealous prescription and supply of opioids through our health care system, but has progressed to a major illegal street drug market supported by property crimes and other illicit activity.
I have activated my Department of Emergency Management and created a Multi-Agency Committee (MAC) to coordinate efforts across multiple jurisdictions and agencies. These include the Sheriffs Office, the Health District, my Department of Human Services, the Everett, and many others. This allows us to coordinate efforts, reduce redundancy and waste, and develop a common strategy. We have also agreed on consistent goals and ways to monitor our progress.

We have also developed a strategy to place social workers alongside deputies and police to offer assistance to those in the depths of addiction. We havec reated a Diversion Center that provides shelter, food, assistance with medical needs, mental health issues, homelessness, and jobs. This is a cooperative effort between my Human Services Department, the Sheriffs Office, and several cities and non-profit service providers.

I believe the best approach is help those who will be helped to return to a productive life.
- Shoreline erosion - Increased flooding in lowlands - Increased damage to public infrastructure in lowland areas such as roads, bridges, wastewater treatment facilities, etc. - Increased wildfire risk - Increased intensity storms and droughts - Potential loss of much of our forests as the climate changes - Impacts to our food supply, especially marine seafoods as ocean acidification causes collapse of many fisheries
Increased traffic due to growth, especially on state roads and highways that the County does not control and cannot fund. These include Highway 2, the trestle, Highway 9, 522 and many east/west roads such as 524, 527, 96, 528, and 531. These are critical east/west connectors that need state funding and attention. My department of Public Works work with other communities in the county to develop a comprehensive Transportation Improvement Plan and legislative priority list. I am also working hard regionally to make sure light rail gets to Everett and sooner than the proposed 2036 delivery date.

In the future, we will have increasing issues regarding water supply as water use increases and reduced supply due to potential drought and changing runoff patterns. My department of Planning and Developmental Services is currently drafting a county water code to help manage water supplies as we grow. This will be the County's first water code.
We should be a welcoming community. Our communities have benefited from diversity. We must recognize immigrants as a strength for our businesses, our communities and our future.

My mothers parents were born in eastern Europe and were met with persecution and prejudice. At times in our history, the Blacks, Japanese, Irish, Chinese, eastern Europeans, Catholics, Jewish, Muslims, Sikhs, and many others have been the object of prejudice and persecution. All are valuable assets to our county and nation. From agriculture to high tech, immigrants are a vital asset to our workforce, economy and communities.

Federal immigration law is broken. Congress has the duty to create a system that works for those wishing to either seek asylum or immigrate legally. The real reason we have an illegal immigration problem is that congress has failed to create a workable system.

We will follow the law when it is clear what the law is, and we are not being asked to violate other legal rights and laws.
I have created a group - the Housing Affordability Regional Taskforce (HART) to develop a county wide strategy for assuring we have affordable housing across all income groups from the homeless to market wage families. There are several distinct groups and related challenges.

Markets will not provide housing for the homeless and very low income residents as economics do not support totally market based housing development. This means some level of public and non-profit investment is required to provide such housing.

Low income housing may best be addressed through a combination of public and private investment, or significant financial incentives to the private market by public agencies.

Market force housing might best be addressed through incentives, assurances of adequate land supply, density improvements like multi-family zoning, higher density urban zoning, and perhaps accessory dwelling provisions. Also cost control on permitting costs.

HART recommendations coming late 2019.
I believe we must encourage growth in our Urban Growth Areas including cities and towns. Our current growth rate indicates we will have 250,000 more residents coming in the next 20 years.

We must either create more density in our urban areas, or we will sprawl out into our rural and resource lands where natural resources are still moderately healthy and protected. There is no magic spigot to turn off growth, so we must plan for it and do the best we can to protect natural resources and at the same time create vibrant livable communities.

During my time on the County Council and Executive, I have:

-Reduced rural growth from over 18% to 10% -Improved Critical Areas Ordinance -Enacted the first Low Impact ordinance in Washington State -Enacted Tree Retention/Planting Ordinance -Enacted County tree planting initiative -Worked to bring together agriculture and fisheries interests -Supported the Conservation District and WSU Extension programs -Expanded electric vehicle facilities