After serving five years as a legislative aide in Snohomish County, Josh Thompson understands why people are cynical about government.
“There have been some hard days and there have been some disappointments,” Thompson told a crowd gathered Sunday afternoon to hear him launch his campaign for Edmonds City Council. “But on the good days we get to help people, real people, and on the best days we can help them change their lives.”
Thompson received a strong endorsement from his boss, Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, who represents Edmonds on the county council.
“It’s about people, with Josh,” Wright told the group of about 75 gathered in the Edmonds Center for the Arts lobby. “He gets into the issues, he finds out what the resources are, what he can do and he puts all his extra effort into making it happen.”
As a legislative aide, Thompson has immersed himself in myriad challenges that Snohomish County has to deal with, from opioid addiction to homelessness to public safety, Wright said.
“The thing about Josh is, he’s ready to serve right now,” she added. “He understands what issues are important to the city, he understands what the resources are and what the challenges are. He’s ready to represent you.”
Thompson is seeking the Position 1 Edmonds City Council seat currently held by Kristiana Johnson, who has not yet filed for re-election. He said he chose the Edmonds Center for the Arts to launch his campaign because it is one of Edmonds’ many “great assets.”
Thompson also pointed to the city’s active citizenry, adding that Edmonds has “a civic pride that you don’t always see everywhere these days and the truth is, we look after each other.”
Local elected officials who attended the kickoff, in addition to Stephanie Wright, included 32nd District State Senator Marilyn Chase, Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan and Edmonds School District Board member Carin Chase.
Among Thompson’s top priorities? “To fully fund our first responders, to work with our regional partners to find holistic solutions to the chronic issues of homelessness, of crime, of untreated mental health and addiction issues, that we find housing for people who can’t find it,” he said.
He noted that he has lived with his wife Jessica in the Highway 99 neighborhood for 16 years, and as a result is aware of the problems generated many evenings at the highway’s motels — including prostitution, violence, drugs, sex trafficking and assaults
“The thing that’s most striking is that the next morning, a yellow school bus will pull up outside that motel and will pick up little kids who are living there and take them to school,” Thompson said. “And the reason why those families are there is that those motels are acting as low-barrier housing in our community.”
Thompson called the city’s planned Highway 99 revitalization “a great opportunity” to bring more jobs and more affordable housing to Edmonds. “Having affordable housing and jobs along the transit corridor will have a positive impact on the city for the next 50 years,” he said.
Reaffirming his commitment to helping others through government service, Thompson said that “it really makes all the headaches and all of the stress worth it when you know you’ve given that person a chance. When you’ve helped them remove a barrier that stood in their way so tomorrow could be better than today was.
“That’s the city councilmember I want to be. Somebody who listens, who sees you, somebody who helps you make this a better town,” he said.
For more information, visit www.thompsonforedmonds.com