Updated to correct the name of the Cuban leader — Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz
Edmonds City Councilmember Strom Peterson launched his campaign for a second term Thursday night, with a strong message for supporters — many of them local small business owners and Edmonds Chamber of Commerce members — who crowded into Arista Wine Cellars.
“Maybe it’s time for Edmonds people to get in a little bit of trouble,” said Peterson, owner of the Cheesemonger’s Table restaurant and cheese shop in downtown Edmonds.
For context, Peterson explained that he and his wife, Maria Montalvo, recently went to Cuba, where they heard a major speech by Raúl Modesto Castro, brother of long-time Cuban leader Raul Fidel Castro, in which Castro said it was time “for Cubans to start getting in trouble again.” The message was “really about not accepting the status quo,” Peterson said, noting that Cuban locals they spoke with agreed that Castro’s speech was an acknowledgement of Cuba’s problematic bureaucracy.
Both Peterson and fellow Councilmember Frank Yamamoto, who introduced Peterson to the crowd, acknowledged the difficulty of often being a two-person minority voting block out of seven during contentious Edmonds City Council meetings.
Getting in trouble “doesn’t mean being rude or combative — quite the opposite,” Peterson said. “It’s speaking up in a positive voice. If we had this kind of turnout at city council meetings or this kind of turnout at other public events I think we would see a sea change.”
Peterson, who served as Edmonds City Council president last year and so far is running unopposed, said he is committed to supporting local small businesses and the arts, “keeping an eye on the environment” and increasing public safety, which happens when “people are proud of their community and willing to look out for one another,” he said.
He encouraged those in the audience to reach out to customers, neighbors and friends — even those they don’t know well — “and see if they are paying attention to what is happening in Edmonds,” Peterson said.
“But until we all start really getting involved and starting to speak up, just a little bit, just that little bit of trouble, I think we’ll be spinning our wheels,” he added. “It’s about showing up on a Tuesday night or writing a letter to the editor, getting out there and supporting what you believe in. We believe in our community, we believe in ways to improve it and we need to make sure other people know it.”
You can learn more about Peterson on his campaign website.