Letter to the editor: Actions speak louder than words


When you choose who you want to represent Edmonds on the council, I hope that you will base your decision on more than what you hear candidates talk about, but what they stand for, and have demonstrated time and time again through their actions. Actions speak much louder than words. My actions and commitment to our community not only make me the best candidate for the position, but the only candidate truly ready to represent the voices of the entire community. I can assure you that I am not only prepared to lead on day one, but I am also ready to listen and lead for the entire term.

I recognize that finding common ground is not always easy, and that collaboration requires parties to work together to find meaningful solutions to our problems. I am not only an experienced and proven collaborator, but I also bring an entirely different perspective to the council. A perspective that has been missing for too long! I don’t just claim to be ready on day one, I have proven capable of answering the call of the community when it is needed most. For example:

  • Do you remember when there was little to no PPE to be found in any store or online during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic? I was able to secure and distribute thousands of masks and gloves to the Edmonds Police Department, adult care facilities, small businesses, and other friends and neighbors in Edmonds. I stood up and answered the call. Actions, not just words.
  • When the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce was facing serious financial challenges that put them in a real threat of potential bankruptcy, I stepped up and answered the call by raising more than $107,000 as a part of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce Task Force. This funding was critical to help carry the Chamber through one of the most difficult times in their history. In fact, Will Chen CPA, PLLC was the very first contributor and Gold Member. Actions, not just words.
  • As a certified public accountant, I have helped many small businesses in Edmonds succeed. During this pandemic, I helped several businesses in Edmonds apply for and obtain the desperately needed PPP funding to stay afloat, and subsequently apply for loan forgiveness. In addition, I also helped small businesses and individuals apply for the American Rescue Fund distributed by the City of Edmonds. Most recently, I assisted businesses that were impacted by the arson at Plum Tree Plaza by reaching out and helping them get support from the Edmonds Chamber WISH Fund. Again, I am there when local businesses needed help the most. Actions, not just words.
  • When our city called for volunteers to serve on the citizens housing commission to come up with recommendations to solve our housing issues, I served as a commissioner and volunteered many hours to develop recommendations for the city. This volunteer service has been attacked by many of my opponents’ supporters because they are not happy with some of the policies that were brought forward by the commission, and I respect the fact that not every policy has been widely accepted and needs further input from our community before deciding whether to move many of them forward. Still, I saw a need and I stepped up. And I voted against an upzone of single-family zoning policy recommendations.  Actions, not just words.
  • My campaign team and I have shown up time and time again to actively participate in environmental cleanups in Edmonds at the Edmonds Marsh, Hutt Park, Mathay-Ballinger Park, and the beach at Brackett’s Landing.  We have pulled out invasive nightshade in Edmonds Marsh and cleaned up our waterways so that salmon can travel through the creek and find safe haven to promote an ecological balance.  I volunteer right here, in Edmonds. Again, actions not just words.

I have been attacked for receiving campaign contributions from those who live outside of Edmonds, as if Edmonds is a gated community and those that don’t have an Edmonds address don’t belong here. The people that support me, do so because of my many years of community involvement both here and in the other places I have lived and worked. They do not have any agenda, other than their belief that I will work hard to better the lives of those I am elected to serve. You can look at my website and see all the Edmonds residents, Community members, small business owners and current and former elected leaders that have shown their support. It’s not just about the people that donate the most money from Edmonds. My support is broad, and significantly broader than the pockets of influence that have been most vocally in support of my opponent in these comments online.

I simply ask that you look at the facts when you vote. My opponent might deny the fact that Edmonds has any housing issues, but I am realistic, and I know that a good leader plans into the future. Our region and our city will experience growth, and we must plan for that growth whether we like it or not, or it will hit us so hard that we won’t be in a place to protect our city’s unique character and charm. Let’s explore options where they make sense, like along the Highway 99 corridor and areas that have access to mass transportation options.

Mrs. Cass said in the primary debate that she doesn’t expect that her own children would be able to afford to live here fresh out of the military. While this may be true, I should hope that it is all our goal to make our community better for our children and to create a place where all are welcome because it is our diversity that is truly the strength of our community.

Finally, I lead by focusing on the issues, and not the person. I did not agree with how the police chief hiring was handled during the pandemic; I did not agree with the decision to close Main Street on both Saturday and Sunday; and I publicly expressed my objection in testimony on how the hate portal is handled. Yet, I did not resort to personal attacks or accusing individuals of untoward behavior without evidence. I address each issue based on its merits. I do not side with anyone. Some areas we have agreement and others we won’t. Our community deserves better than candidates who claim to be collaborative yet condone behaviors that are the exact opposite from the very members of their campaign team. This is not consistent with the claim of approaching the council from a place of collaboration. Actions speak louder than words.

I do agree with the mayor and the council when it comes to focusing on Highway 99 revitalization. Improving this long-neglected area will benefit not only Highway 99, but also provide affordable housing while protecting single-family housing in other areas of Edmonds.  I love the Uptown Market—it is a good start that we can build upon and improve in the future with more frequency and vendors. I enthusiastically joined the task force to contribute to the design of the Welcome to Edmonds sign. I did not see my opponent there. Actions speak louder than words.

I am not waiting to be elected to start contributing and supporting ALL of Edmonds.  ne can have an impressive resume to secure the job, but it is the actions that make someone effective. If you still have questions about my qualification or intentions, please do reach out to me, as you should for all candidates that want to represent you.

Will Chen

  1. Your actions speak loud and clear, Will. I probably won’t agree with you on everything, once you’re elected, but your values resonate with me. You can count on my household’s votes. Thanks for seeing and working for ALL our Edmonds communities.

    Best regards from one of your Highway 99/Lake Ballinger neighbors. Together, we Will!

  2. I witnessed all of this and more! Work at the food bank. Translation of City fliers AND help distributing them in the international and other business districts so critical information was received by everyone struggling during the pandemic….

    Will is fortunate to have a very high energy level. In turn Edmonds is fortunate. I look forward to watching him in action on Council!

  3. I worked with Will on the campaign to raise $100,000+ to help preserve our Edmonds Chamber during challenging Covid times, and can attest to Will’s dedication, ethics and hard work for our community. Will’s commitment to our city is genuine and a great example for all of us. Thank you Will Chen for all you do for our community. I wholeheartedly support you for Edmonds City Council, and at this time, think you are exactly what our Council and community needs. Carl Zapora.

  4. What has become crystal clear to me is that elections are rarely won on facts, but rather likeability and the economic engine that drives them. At the time of the Inslee/McKenna debates for governor, a friend who had recently moved in from another state – clueless to both candidates – watched the debate and assumed that the “McKenna” guy would win hands down. I informed him there was a slim chance. I won $20 bucks. He was floored.

    How does this apply here? I like both Will and Janelle. They are both good people. I find Janelle to have a stronger grasp on the issues and she rarely speaks in platitudes. I think she performs better in debates. But that doesn’t matter anymore. I found Will’s line “I can’t help it if I have more friends than you do?” funny, if not a bit of a dig – but a great diversion tactic to addressing where his funding comes from. I’m a “follow the money” guy.

    I do agree with Will – resumes don’t always matter. But when we are in a civil war for our city, I’d prefer to have someone who has been trained to look at and address second and third order effects influencing and addressing the issues that Edmonds is and will be facing.

    Now before some of you turn me into the great Satan who must be swimming in bias and prejudice, let me just state that we can differ in opinion and still be civil. I have friends who are endorsing Will and friends who are endorsing Janelle – and guess what, we are still friends.

  5. Mike, what a great comment. You are a pillar in this community and your words hold a lot of truth and respect.
    Janelle Cass has my vote for exactly the reasons, I have posted before. I like where her money and support come from……. Edmonds. The “too high” percentage of Will’s contributions outside of Edmonds as well as outside the state is a HUGE factor in this council race. I also like Janelle’s straight talk and military service. Will has lots of words but does not articulate on subjects, just circles the subject.
    I urge others to support Janelle Cass.

  6. The bottom line for me is that I think Cass is just running for city council and I think Chen has much bigger fish to fry and council is a stepping stone. I’m sure what political party Chen relates to and have no real certainty which political party Cass relates to more. I prefer not knowing which political party a candidate for city council relates to more. That said, I have great respect and admiration for Vivian Olson and her views which makes me not too concerned if I don’t pick the winner in this one. Both good people and a tough choice in the end for many voters, I suspect.

  7. Will – thank you for outlining your committment to our community. Your actions speak much louder than your opponent’s words.

  8. I worked with Will Chen on the Sno-King Rally Against Hate this past Spring. Will was well-organized, skilled at creative problem solving, inclusive of others’ opinions, thorough, and super hard working. I was inspired by his dedication to step in as emcee for the event when changes happened at the last minute and the original emcee was unable to attend. What most impressed me about Will was that he really exercised good judgment throughout the process and his follow through was rock solid. He is a skilled and experienced professional and I believe that he will prioritize the needs and wishes of Edmonds residents when representing them on the Council. I am an Edmonds resident who is a moderate common sense voter and I support Will.

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