Mackey Guenther launches his campaign for Edmonds City Council Position 4

Mackey Guenter speaks with voters about safety and infrastructure during his campaign launch at Edmonds Civic Playfield Friday.

About 30 people gathered at Edmonds Civic Playfield Friday evening, Aug. 25,  to learn more about Mackey Guenther’s campaign for Edmonds City Council Position 4.

The 22-year-old Guenther is running against Dr. Michelle Dotsch for the Position 4 seat. The position is currently occupied by Diane Buckshnis, who didn’t seek reelection so she could run for mayor. Among Guenther’s grassroots supporters Friday were his friends, family, neighbors and former teachers.

“I see a lot of different pieces of my Edmonds in front of me,” Guenther said. “I see my teachers. I see people that have paid me to do landscaping. Back there, I see classmates. I see people that I’ve been lucky to know in a whole rainbow of different capacities. It’s really special for me to be in front of you right now.”

Mackey Guenther meets with supporters at Edmonds Civic Playfield.

Guenther said that he moved to Edmonds when he was 4, graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School and went to the University of Southern California to study urban planning. However, his experiences in Los Angeles, compelled him to bring what he learned back home, so he transferred to Seattle Central College.

Guenther said he is running for city council because he wants to build a safer, more affordable, and more vibrant Edmonds. He said to do that, the city needs to focus on housing, transportation and public safety.

“I want to serve my city in the same way that I got to see so many people serve it. Growing up, I think that Edmonds is really beautiful and notable in the way that people give themselves and then receive in return,” Guenther said. “It’s this very reciprocal, virtuous cycle. I think it’s why many of us choose to live here. I think it’s why many of the young people that I see here want to keep living here, even as they begin to start lives of their own.”

Guenther explained that a home may be the most important thing one can have, and that Edmonds needed more options in the types of housing offered.

“The bottom line is that we need to build more homes here, and we need to build homes that are accessible at every income level, and that just starts with building more homes,” he said. “It needs to be easy to build homes that match the character of our community. On council, I hope to be a voice for people to have the homes that they want to live in.”

Mackey Guenther, at left, speaks to voters about the importance of affordable housing.

Guenther continued, “With how our city grows, we need to be mindful of maintaining the amazing connection that we have with the natural systems around us. People need habitat. Part of that is homes, and part of that is being connected to the natural systems around them.”

Transportation is equally important, and more options should be available, he added.

“Whether you’re driving, whether you’re taking the bus, whether you’re riding your bike, whether you’re walking, Edmonds should have infrastructure that supports each of those modalities and supports them for people of all abilities,” he said. “Edmonds has a challenge when it comes to the physical accessibility of a lot of our infrastructure, particularly for pedestrians.”

Guenther said that infrastructure was something that the city needed to build and have the will to invest in to set a regional example. He pointed out that currently, Edmonds has a transportation challenge because local transit buses only run once an hour. He suggested importing good ideas from other communities similar to Edmonds.

Regarding safety, Guenther said that it doesn’t only mean physical but also economic and environmental safety.

“We are kind of on a path as a world, not just as a city, but we’re on a path that puts a lot more people at risk from extreme weather events every year,” Guenther said. “Edmonds cannot solve these problems on its own. But if it can’t make the changes that we need to see in our own city, how can we expect anyone else to make them? And that starts with decarbonizing our economy, decarbonizing our mobility and the ways we get around.”

Guenther also stressed the importance of providing economic stability and peace of mind for residents willing to build a life for themselves.

“I know people who have been forced out of Edmonds who are on that brink because of how much housing costs, in particular, have risen over the last 10 years,” he said.

“That’s part of being a city; if you do things well, people want to be here, and it shouldn’t be something that prevents you from remaining here as things get more exciting. There was a ‘Deadmonds,’ I think that’s done.” Guenther said, referring to the city’s longtime nickname. “But it puts pressure on people when it costs more every year to stay in the same place.”

Guenther also noted that “a lot of the public safety issues that arise in our community are the result of economic instability and people pursuing means and being in places mentally and physically that are a result of, to be honest, life being harder than it should be.

“This is a city, so much of it that it’s being shaped by the people that live near you, that work here,” he continued. “Maybe they don’t live here, but they want to. You see the brushstrokes, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.”

A young attendee asks Guenther if the city could create a bike lane so her dad can take her to the beach in a bike trailer.

A young girl came up to Guenther with an infrastructure question that was important to her. She wanted a bike lane, so her dad could ride his bike with her in a trailer to the beach.

“I’m going to say yes, I think we should do that,” Guenther replied.

Learn more about Mackey Guenther at his campaign website here

— Story and photos by Rick Sinnett


      1. Mackey’s lack of maturity and experience seems like a poor fit for city council at this time.His endorsement from the 32nd District Democrats Clubhouse, even though such races are supposed to be nonpartisan shows a shortage of integrity.

      2. In your opinion, how do you get affordable housing?
        Why does that seem to be the biggest issue Edmonds faces?

    1. Adam Hovick, what do you mean? We don’t need a younger person as a Council Member? Could you clarify?

      1. I have no problem with his age. It’s awesome that he’s so young and trying to get involved. I am against his policies as defined in the article.

  1. Excited to see a forward-thinking, inclusive vision for Edmonds! Mackey is serious about the challenges facing our city and is providing solutions. I can’t wait to see what he does on the council!

  2. I have lived in Deadmonds as a youth and Edmonds as an adult. I can assure you Deadmonds was the better place over all. I do feel great sorrow for Mackey and his fellow young people for what the Deadmond’s killers (Mayors and their pals over hyping the arts, entertainment venues, and upper class housing development while short changing actual NEEDS) have done to you and your long term prospects for living here. Good luck making things better; because you are going to need lots of luck, the way things seem headed now.

  3. Well, I remember when I was a 22 year old some 50 or so years ago and knew just about everything about everything and how things should be. In the ensuing decades I found that those ideas at 22 were a product of “youthful exuberance” rather than “experience” and the resulting wisdoms. I don’t want kids running things any more than I want (very ) senior citizens. Mr. Guenther needs a bit more “life experience” and fresh out of college does not count.

    1. I have the same general sentiment, Jay. I visited Mackey’s website (not much there yet), didn’t choose to donate, but tried to find some meaning in the graphics where, to me, the vision looks to be Edmonds’ families who live in five story homes, take the bus or bike or walk, and listen to lots of music. With the condition our city government is in, I’ll be looking for truly wise folks with fiscally responsible and serious ideas for the now as well as the future for ALL of Edmonds. Goofy surveys, consultants, trendy graphics, opaque goings-on, wild spending, and flowery words are all I’ve gotten from this city recently. We deserve better.

  4. Everywhere I go in Edmonds I meet people young and old who love living here and who are open to Edmonds evolving to a more dense, diverse and vibrant community. I suspect more of the community is in sync with the hopes exposed by this young candidate than the prior commentators realize. My advice to that candidate is to take this vilification with a grain of salt. Change is hard for most people. Some people work for change they want to see while others just gripe.

    1. MacKey already has taken your advice and ignoring that City Council elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, with a grain of salt.

    2. Jane, I have to ask you, who is vilifying who here? I don’t recall anyone accusing Mackey of being some sort of vile person. Some of us have suggested that he may need a little more actual living experience under his belt before we want him representing us in making decisions that can affect our home values and over all happiness in being Edmond’s residents.

      How is it somehow wrong or an act of vilification to NOT want a more dense and vibrant community? Is it somehow automatically wrong to think we are ALREADY dense enough or vibrant enough?

      Frankly, Jane, I think he is vilifying me and older people like me who have lived here for a long time (referring to Deadmonds of the past for example); more than we are vilifying him. I have absolutely no problem with our community becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity and more females being active in our government. That’s why I supported Diane Buckshnis as our most qualified Mayoral candidate.

  5. Isn’t it time to let someone in a different generation speak? This will be their city. Invested, smart, younger residents that care about our community is a dream come true. Yes please! Thank you for running Mackey Guenther!

  6. Now I have to ask just who is NOT letting someone in a different generation speak? I’m supporting Dr. Dotsch because her ideas are more representative of what I want in the way of the future development of our town. That has nothing to do with someone being in a different generation. Dr. Dotsch is also in a much different and much younger generation than mine, just as Mackey is? She has more life experience than Mackey and I prefer that in someone representing me. Elections are about who’s ideas we like, as opposed to others ideas we don’t like as much; not whether someone is evil or of the wrong generation. At least they should be, anyway. We may be letting the current national political situation make us be more hyperbolic than we should be. I know I’m probably guilty of that.

  7. Yikes. Thanks for the information. I now know not to vote him. Checks all the boxes on the wrong side from the perspective of our family who moved to Edmond in 2021. Will now check out his opponent, Dr Dotsch.

  8. ECC Position 4: Dr. Michele Dotsch is a “Party of Record” re the 611 Main “box” that is the ADB’s focus right now. Thus she is already contributing to Edmonds. I also remember how thoughtfuly she testified during the last legislative session re state control of zoning. The qualities of discernment, professionalism and independent thinking that she would bring to Edmonds City Council could only benefit us.

  9. I communicated with Mackey following his article:

    Mackey studied “real estate equity,” basing his support of the housing bills on the concept of “filtering.” In an email, he said “filtering” could take twenty years, or as little as ten years, to garner results. Excerpt from one of his responses:

    “I think we may agree on more than you think – including the fact that most newly built housing, generally speaking, will not be “affordable” by any threshold of affordability. I totally agree with you! And I also agree with you that is is causing gentrification. It is counterintuitive, but this dynamic actually indicates the need for more supply, not less supply.”

    Mackey referenced:
    “recent research shows that filtering was the primary source for additions to the affordable rental stock between 2003 and 2013, whereas new construction was the largest contributor for the higher priced rentals and tenure conversion was the largest source for moderately priced rentals”

    Those earning minimum wage, as well as seniors and the disabled, don’t have 10-20 years to wait for the effects of “filtering.”

    Michelle Dotsch will represent Edmonds residents as a non-partisan Councilmember. Mackey will represent the Democratic party.

    1. I spoke to Mackey on the phone about a year ago for over an hour. He is a very nice young man and I believe someday he will be a force in politics. But I agree that right now Dr. Michelle Dotsch is the candidate to back for City Council. Mackey has support and endorsements but mainly from the far progressive left. I believe we need more of a walk down the middle type person who has endorsements from those types of people and politicians. I support the Dems and I also support the middle and the L to a certain extent. Social programs I am all for. I support our LGBTQ+ community and diversity in our city and our state. I think as Mackey ages he will see that only support from an extreme base will not work in Edmonds. He is very nice. I enjoyed my conversation with him. I would never speak badly about him as he doesn’t deserve that at all. He is exuberant and right now he is idealist. I was too at his age but as many say here with age comes a lot of experience and wisdom. SO yes, for me it is Michelle Dotsch I will be voting for this year. Good luck to all of our candidates.

  10. I forgot before pushing the button to say that I also support our Republicans here in Edmonds. I believe that everyone cares about Edmonds. I hope we can all come together. It will save Edmonds if we do reach a place that is comfortable for everyone. Its a win win for Edmonds. XO to you all. Deb.

  11. I’m glad this seat will have more than one candidate! Kinda eye rolling though at all the comments about age and party affiliation. Guenther has been laying the groundwork for his candidacy for months now and I don’t think his age is really an appropriate argument for why he should or shouldn’t be on council. Do you disagree with his views? Okay, start there.

    1. So you’re saying that being inexperienced in life and knowledge and being a partisan in a non-partisan race are desirable traits? Oh well to each his own, I guess?

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