By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The Snohomish County Council voted three to one to appoint Snohomish resident Hans Dunshee to the vacant District 5 seat on Monday, February 29, 2016.
District 5 includes Monroe, Snohomish, Sultan, Gold Bar, Index, Lake Stevens, and parts of Bothell, as well as large portions of unincorporated Snohomish County.
This county council seat has been open ever since former Snohomish County Council Chairperson Dave Somers resigned at the end of December to take his new job as county executive at the beginning of January.
County Executive Somers defeated former County Executive John Lovick in the 2015 general election.
According to Washington State law the county council had until February 29th, to fill the vacant seat. If they had failed to take action, Governor Jay Inslee would have been responsible for appointing Somers’ successor.
County Councilmembers Terry Ryan, Stephanie Wright, and Brian Sullivan all voted for Dunshee. The lone “no” was from County Councilmember Ken Klein, who said his vote was a protest against the political process that he believes is flawed.
Councilmember Klein was referring to the Washington State Law that requires the political party of the outgoing councilmember to nominate three candidates from whom the county council should chose to be the new county councilmember.
Snohomish County Democratic Party precinct members picked Guy Palumbo, Hans Dunshee, and Mark Hintz as candidates for the empty county council seat.
Since Palumbo got the most precinct member votes and Dunshee was second, Councilmember Klein believed Palumbo should take the District 5 seat.
“We had three great candidates, and it was a difficult decision,” said County Council Chair Ryan. “Hans had a unique skill set which will help the council with current projects, and he has legislative experience. I look forward to working with him.”
County Council Vice Chair Sullivan commented, “I’m very excited to work with Hans. This was a difficult decision, but in the end his experience with budgeting and his reputation as a collaborator with strong relationships on both sides of the aisle made the difference. The council had three tremendous candidates, and I want to commend all for their willingness to step forward to serve our county.”
“I’m pleased that the Snohomish County Council has chosen Hans Dunshee as the new representative for District 5,” Executive Somers said. “I’m particularly pleased because Hans is now my representative. I know Hans well and am confident he will be a champion for our community and Snohomish County.
All three of the nominees were excellent candidates, and I thank them for their willingness to serve. I look forward to working in partnership with Hans and all the members of the council to address the needs of our residents. We have much work to do, and therefore will be relying on everyone’s best efforts. I thank all three of the candidates for their willingness to serve.”
Now County Councilmember Dunshee will have to win in the November 2016 election to serve out the rest of Somers’ term in 2017.