Will Chen announces candidacy for Edmonds City Council

Will Chen

Edmonds Citizens Housing Commissioner, community volunteer and local business owner Will Chen on Sunday announced his campaign for Edmonds City Council in the 2021 election.

Chen said he has not yet decided which position he will run for. Three of the council’s seven seats — Positions 1, 2 and 3 — are up for election this year. Kristiana Johnson, who holds Position 1, is a retired transportation planner who has been on the council since 2012. Position 2 is occupied by Luke Distelhorst, facing election after he was appointed to fill out the remainder of Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson’s council term. Position 3 is held by three-term Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, a retired state government manager who was first elected to the council in 2009.

Others who have already said they are running for city council this year are Edmonds Planning Board member Alicia Crank, who will seek Position 1, and former City Councilmember Neil Tibbott, who also has not yet decided which position to file for.

In his announcement, Chen said he is “driven to bring integrity, common sense, fiscal restraint and equity in decision-making to the role.” A year ago, Chen was one of 12 candidates — including Distelhorst — who sought appointment to Nelson’s council seat.

Chen said that he and his wife Lisa Chen, a high school science teacher in the Shoreline School District,  share a deep understanding of the needs of the Edmonds community “and a commitment to improving and expanding the opportunities for all those who call this city home.” The Chens have a school-age son, Gavin.

Chen, who runs a CPA firm just off Edmonds’ Highway 99, was born and raised in China but came to the U.S. for college and graduate school. He is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.

“I want to use my skills and knowledge to help small businesses and people of color in our city, serving all people in Edmonds with a balanced policy decision-making approach,”Chen said. “Edmonds is a culturally-rich community and more ethnically diverse than folks might realize. While our diversity is a strength, the truth is, we have neighbors who need help to access city services, secure housing and food security and be engaged in the civic process. I believe I am uniquely qualified to represent these issues and act as a voice for those who often get overlooked.”

Councilmember Vivian Olson endorsed Chen, stating that “his candidacy makes Edmonds’ government relevant to a population that has not previously engaged. With the Hwy 99 revitalization project front and center, it will be of great value to have Will, a Highway 99-adjacent resident and businessowner, on Edmonds City Council,” Olson said.

Chen also received an endorsement from Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, a retired banker who sits on the council’s finance committee. “The city council needs more people with financial and auditing skills and Will has lived a dedicated life in this field,” Buckshnis said. “His experience living in other countries and states as an auditor is a valuable skill set that leads to diplomacy and character. He’s a great family man and I fully support Will wholeheartedly for his run for a city council seat.”

Edmonds business owner Roberto Ha said he supports Chen as someone “who cares about Edmonds and its citizens. I appreciate his willingness to serve. Will is in the mold of leaders who have unselfishly, and with vision, made important decisions to improve our community.”

Chen has also received the endorsements from former Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson, former City Councilmember Dave Teitzel, former Verdant Health Superintendent Carl Zapora, Ralph Sanders of Edmonds’ Sanders Law Group, and Councilmember Kristiana Johnson.

Chen is a board member of Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, a member of Edmonds Rotary Club and serves on the Edmonds College Accounting Advisory Board.  In his spare time, he likes to play golf.

To learn more, visit his campaign website.

24 Replies to “Will Chen announces candidacy for Edmonds City Council”

  1. When will we know which one is chosen? Who elects them? Or does someone else in office appointment them. Does the general pop of Edmonds vote? Just wondering how the process works and when it will be finalized. Thank you. Deb.


    1. The primary election (if three or more candidates file for a position) is in August; the general election in November. Open to all registered Edmonds voters.


  2. Will Chen serving as council member will benefit greatly to the City Edmonds. I have known Will for many years and work closely in the last 3 years serving Club 808, a 503 organization, promoting golf in Chinese/Asian communities. Club 808 is run all by volunteers. Will is our CFO. He is dedicated, focused, detail-oriented and a great guy to work with. He has streamlined our organization’s financial processes and has spent countless hours and resources without compensation. He has strong connections in Asian and business communities and is serving in key positions of various organizations. The community needs more people like Will Chen. I strongly recommend Will to the city council.


  3. Will is a man of true integrity, has great intellect and is an independent thinker. He understands the importance of respect and civility in all Council interactions: intra Council, between Council and staff, and between Council and our citizens. He also brings the quality of fiscal discipline to the table. Will will make a great Councilmember!


  4. I am very glad that Will is running for the city council. I understand the decision on who to run against will come at a later date.
    As a long time resident of Edmonds and current business owner in the city, I am extremely embarrassed by the news report of the current council president Monillas’s claim of “all the racism in Edmonds”. I don’t feel my neighbors and friends in Edmonds are racist and I believe strongly that the council president went on the news to justify her decision (along with the current Mayor’s) to push through a new police chief based on race.
    I was extremely embarrassed and upset by her news interview and behavior the night that the council voted on this decision. She needs to go sooner than later.
    Please run against Monillas she is a disgrace to our city.


  5. Mr. Chen is very helpful, experience in working with various organizations, helping small business and provided valuable advice. We’re fully confident that he’ll be an excellent City Council!


  6. I endorse WIll Chen for the Edmonds City Council. I like him and respect the story of how he achieved his American dream

    I believe he will serve as a good will ambassador withthe City’s Asian population, which the largest minority group in the city. His business is located in the Highway 99 “International District”


  7. Will was a member of the Edmonds Chamber Task Force which worked over the summer to identify the challenges facing the Chamber due to Covid, and helped raise $100,000 to save the Chamber and help it get through 2020 and begin 2021 in a stronger position. He was diligent, attended every meeting, and worked to engage the whole community in the effort. A great team player and professional. Our city would be well served to have Will as a city council member.


  8. Will Chen sounds like a great candidate for City Council. I look forward to hearing more of his ideas to move Edmonds forward. We need a more respectful and fiscally responsible Council member. Thank you Will for running!


  9. The main thing at this point is that no one runs unopposed and people have some good ideas about how city government should be run as opposed to how it is currently being run. Let’s get some good independent non-partisan people on board and make some needed changes. Maybe even think about changing our very style of government, getting out of the save the world business preferably.


  10. I’d like to express my support for Will CHEN as an applicant for the vacant position on the City Council. Intelligence and thoughtfulness, as a business person, he has life experiences that equate well to the challenges and aspirations of the people of our city. He has common sense and I admire how he tackles issues. He works well with others and knows how to get things done. He is passionate about the community, I believe that Will would be a great addition to our city council and would work very hard for the residents of Edmonds.


  11. I am excited about Will’s candidacy, as a member of the Edmonds business community. Will and I serve together on the Edmonds Chamber Of Commerce board and he brings a lot of enthusiasm and dedication to everything he undertakes. Will would be an excellent addition to our city council.


    1. I was so excited to see that Will is running for city Council. I have had the pleasure of serving with him on the Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission. I was so impressed by the way he would gather information and listen to feedback of others before making a final recommendation. He also came to the table with a open mind and welcoming attitude. I think he will make a great addition to our city council.


  12. I have known and worked with Will for over 6 years. I have found him to be very easy going but yet exhibiting high professional and ethical standards. As a CPA and business owner, his financial skills and business accumen will be a great asset to fiscal planning and budgeting for the city. He has demonstrated great personal skill in bridging gaps among different communities. His work with Chinese communities has shown the potential of bringing opportunities from China and Chinese communities into the City of Edmonds.


  13. I’m very happy and encouraged to see that Will Chen is running for city council. I have know Will for many years in our common interest to volunteer for community organizations. Will has always shown himself to be a man of respect, dignity, and doing the right thing. I greatly respect him for that.

    In addition I have known him professionally and found that his integrity, reliability and honesty has made it a pleasure to work with him.

    I think Will would be a great addition to the council ans a contraption the well being of his community!


  14. I endorse Will Chen for Edmonds City Council

    Will Chen is a good man! He is genuine and he genuinely cares about people. I have experienced his kindness and generosity firsthand.

    I first met Will when I took an accounting class, he was teaching at Edmonds College. He was friendly and engaging. We immediately struck up a friendship and I now consider him a best friend.

    Over the years Will allowed me to gain experience in accounting by working in his Edmonds CPA business. I truly enjoyed working with Will, and his clients.

    Will and I have discussed politics many times and Will wants to be a part of the political process so he can make the world a better place for everyone. Will has experienced living with alternative forms of government and he truly appreciates ours.

    Please vote for Will! You will not be disappointed.


  15. I endorse WIll Chen for the Edmonds City Council. Will cares about people and is willing to help the people. Will and other volunteers distributed the masks to the small business owners when they need the masks. Will is high educated and very intelligent. I strongly believe he will be a great addition to the Edmonds City Council.


  16. I am here endorsing Will Chen for the Edmonds City Council, I had the pleasure of meeting Will at and Edmonds Chamber breakfast. Quickly I grew to know the kind of person and character that Will presents. He is a hard working family man who cares about his business and the community his business and family reside in. Will goes out of his way to make an impact whether its handing out masks to local businesses or handing out whoopings on the golf course. You also can find Will at pretty much every Edmonds community event, whether he is there just for support or volunteering for projects in the area. He is extremely smart and meticulous in everything he does, I couldn’t think of a better better addition than Will Chen to on the Edmonds City Council. He is not only a great business owner but a great friend that I have gained for life. LET’S GOOOO WILLLLL!!!!!!!!!


  17. I have known and worked with Will for over 6 years. I have found him to be very easy going but yet exhibiting high professional and ethical standards. As a CPA and business owner, his financial skills and business acumen will be a great asset to fiscal planning and budgeting for the city. He has demonstrated great personal skill in bridging gaps among different communities. His work with Chinese communities has shown the potential of bringing opportunities from China and Chinese communities into the City of Edmonds.


  18. This is exciting Will Chen. I look forward to your campaign, and from what I have heard I am definitely a fan and a supporter. Edmonds would benefit tremendously with Will Chen on the City Council.

    I think that you should run for position #2 against Luke Distelhorst while Neil Tibbot should run for position #3 against Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. Alicia Crank has already expressed her intention to run for position #1. I believe that this is the best path for success for your campaign, and would be a good choice for the city. I am hoping for a win by Crank, Chen, and Tibbot.

    I believe the CM Distelhorst is a kind and thoughtful person, and I thank him for his service, but I believe that you simply have more beneficial skills, experience, and perspectives that would be more of a benefit for this community.


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