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.