Edmonds Councilmember Mike Nelson announces he’s running for mayor

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Mike Nelson in his mayoral campaign photo.

Stating his goal is to improve citizens’ quality of life and listen to their concerns, Edmonds City Councilmember Mike Nelson announced Thursday that he will be running for mayor in 2019.

“We are seeing Edmonds families struggle to keep up with increasing taxes and rising costs in housing, health care, child care, and transportation,” Nelson said. “We need to balance the needs of our citizens while making sure that our charming community does not lose its way to crime, traffic, and overdevelopment. We are at a crossroads and I believe the best path forward is to focus on creating a livable city, not a big city.”
In his announcement, Nelson said he is committed to giving Edmonds citizens “a voice in the future of our city. To have influence on where infrastructure investments are most urgent so our children and seniors are able to walk safely in our neighborhoods. To have a say on public safety priorities so our community feels secure in their homes and on our roadways. To have a voice on how we can best protect our natural environment to ensure our community is healthy. To have a say on how we can support our local businesses that serve a vital role in the strength of our economy.
“We need a mayor who will listen to you,” Nelson said.
Local government watchers have been expecting Nelson’s announcement. Two-term Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said Thursday morning he has not yet made a decision whether he will run for a third term.
Nelson was appointed in March 2015 to fill the seat vacated by Strom Peterson, who is now in the state Legislature. Nelson was then elected to the City Council in 2015, and re-elected in 2017.
In his announcement, Nelson — a former Marin County deputy sheriff — said that during his time on the council he has advocated for a range of public safety issues, from traffic safety to police support, and noted he was the council’s “lone vote against cuts to our fire department.” Nelson also sponsored measures — passed by the council — to require safe storage of that firearms and prompt reporting of lost or stolen firearms.
Nelson said he has also advocated for environmental issues, “passing a resolution to make Edmonds the first city in Washington to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy and updated our climate action plan with measurable goals to reduce unhealthy emissions.”
Nelson has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a law degree from Gonzaga University. He and his wife, Erica, live in Edmonds with their two young boys.

28 Replies to “Edmonds Councilmember Mike Nelson announces he’s running for mayor”

  1. Mike wants what’s best for our community. As stated above, he was the lone vote against cuts to our fire department. He did what he knew was best for our town and was conscious of the repercutions of reduced fire and ems staffing.

    Mike will continue to listen and lead. Vote Nelson!

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  2. There is no time like the present where we have had a greater need for strong, common sense leadership. One of the greatest issues we face right now is the divisiveness of our government. Mike Nelson will be the leader rise up and lead in a strong, bi-partisan way. There could no be a better candidate!

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  3. Should be a very interesting election. Mike has yet to really win an election. He was appointed in 2015, “won” against perennial candidate Al Rutledge in 2017, and had no opposition in 2017. Hopefully he’ll have formidable opposition this election.

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  4. Been waiting for this announcement! Congratulations Mike on this decision. Our city is lucky to have you as such a committed and passionate leader willing to serve in this capacity. So looking forward to hearing more about your vision for Edmonds

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  5. What great news! Edmonds needs a leader like Mike, with a positive vision for families and the future of this wonderful city!

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  6. This is very exciting news for Edmonds! I can’t wait to cast my vote for Mike Nelson for Mayor. It will be wonderful to have a mayor who truly understands and represents all of the members of our vibrant and unique community, from young families to seniors.

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  7. Mike Nelson has my vote and I hope he wins the election. Time for a change and time for a mayor who listens to the voters.

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  8. Hopefully past performance is a predictor of future results…
    Excepted from a My Edmonds News article (11/28/18): >>>Council President Mike Nelson went a step further and proposed a 1 percent reduction in property taxes. “Everybody I’m hearing from is just at the breaking point. It may not seem like much but I think we need to stop looking at this as a small, insignificant thing,” Nelson said.<<<
    Remember that perspective!

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      1. Sure, the council balances the checkbook considering the budget approved by the mayor.

        I would expect a mayor with an eye for lowering taxes to not seek to insert his own discretionary projects which would contribute to an unnecessarily inflated budget.

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        1. i.e.- Sunset Walk, which cost the taxpayers probably a hundred thousand dollars. The Mayors whim.
          i.e.- All the money wasted on the train trench study, the Mayors whim. LOL, and Earling thought he was going to tell BNSF what they were going to do.
          Now- The Bridge to nowhere, again a problem blown of of proportion by the Mayor. But, it sure does keep citizens from watching what is really going on in Edmonds.
          Tax and spend Dave needs to be removed from Office.
          Put your money behind Mike Nelson.
          Edmonds needs a new Mayor, Mike Nelson is an attorney, Dave Earling was a music teacher. Who do you think would do a better job at running Edmonds?
          The music teacher idea was a failure, time to get a lawyer in the Office.
          Earling said he was only going to serve one term. Edmonds is done with Earlings “style” of “leadership”.
          Time to get Edmonds back to having just one swamp.

          Elect Mike Nelson. Time for a new vision to the future, in Edmonds.

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  9. I think that many citizens of Edmonds fail to grasp that Edmonds has a strong council/weak Mayor form of city Government. The Council makes all the final decisions with the Mayor only having a deciding vote in the event of a tie vote of the Council on any given measure before it. The Mayor is supposed be sort of a Presiding Officer and Referee in terms of the Council Meetings, a facilitator so to speak. Early on in Edmonds, the position of Mayor was a part-time one with very little power at all. As the city got bigger and more complicated, the Mayor position evolved into more of a City Manager function with executive power over City Supervisors to implement the Council’s directives. The most recent past and present Mayors’ have been people of strong personality and will, projecting much more power than they actually have. This leads me to wonder why Nelson is running for the less powerful position, if he is truly out to be a protector of all the people’s desires for how the City will evolve in the future (an impossible task “me thinks”). I have to think the much higher pay and visibility of the Mayoral position is a bit of a hidden agenda here. If Nelson wins the Mayoral job, it will be much more significant (as to how the city evolves) who we pick for his replacement on the Council, in my opinion.

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    1. Clinton,

      Edmonds has a strong mayor form of government. The Edmonds mayor is elected by the voters, and is the executive branch of our government. The mayor is responsible for enforcing the law, oversees the administration of all departments and has hiring and firing authority. Council is the legislative branch, responsible for making the law.

      The Edmonds mayor also has veto power. The mayor’s veto can be overturned only by a super-majority council vote, five votes rather than the usual four vote majority.

      Here is a link to information about the different types of local government:
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayor–council_government

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  10. As mayor, Mike Nelson will represent the citizens of Edmonds; he will work for what is best for them and for our community. I will be strongly supporting him.

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  11. Really a time for a change. I believe we should not have term after term applicants. Good luck Mike I will be voting for you.

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  12. I want a Mayor who will improve the infrastructure and support an affordable level of public safety.
    Looking beyond those criteria; I want someone that will consider the esthetics of this community with regard to power poles that are over loaded with power lines, phone lines and entertainment cabling. This community is one of views and they should have priority and be celebrated – many views have trees that may not allow an open view. Open those views without taking the tree down. Pruning can not only let light in but will also frame a great view. All power lines should be underground!
    It is too early to call any candidate “Mr. or Mrs.” Mayor; however, a candidate that advocated a drop in taxes )even it it is just 1 per cent) diffently deserves a close look at his or her full platform.

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  13. The Mayor alone can’t improve the infrastructure or create an affordable level of public safety. The Mayor can advocate for these things, just like you and I can; but he can’t decide any issue unless there is a tie vote of the council on any given issue. The Mayor has no veto power, such as the President. In essence the Council makes the decisions. In a Mayor, we need to look for someone with proven management skills because that’s his/her primary duty. Our current Mayor has made statements like, “My City Council;” inferring that he runs the City Council. In fact, the opposite is true. The real danger is if we get a City Council that just wants to rubber stamp the budget proposals that the Mayor presents. I’d like to see a City Council that really questions the need for things like spending 30 million dollars to build an eyesore viaduct that will probably end up costing more like 60 million. Seems like we are using a cannon to kill a rabbit on that gem of an idea. I may well vote for Nelson but I’m going to take a long hard look at his past jobs, policy positions and especially who his pals are.

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  14. Joan, Thank’s so much for correcting me on my “facts”. The last thing I want to do is spread or promote any false information. Also my apologies to my fellow MEN readers. That explains what I thought was a rather large salary for such a position in a relatively small size town. My admittedly stupid, ill informed error, does not, however, change my viewpoints on the Mayoral position in general. I don’t think the Mayor can unilaterally improve the infrastructure or create affordable public safety. He can and should, however, manage our limited resources well, as that is his principal function. The city council does have the power to override a Mayoral veto, so that still makes the Council position the potentially more powerful one. With what I know now, thanks to Joan, I’m doubly convinced that we need to take a real hard look at all the candidates’ policy positions, past employment and who their friends are. I think it would be rather healthy for the city to have the Council Members, not be the Mayor’s pals. Anyway, that’s what I’ll be looking for. Beware of Council Member endorsements for Mayor and vice versa. If they all like each other too much, you could get some pretty bad government and a lot of “improvements” you may not want, such as an expensive viaduct eye sore on the waterfront.

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    1. Clinton,

      You’re welcome. And thank you for your many thought provoking comments. They are greatly appreciated.

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