New Councilman Jason Sanders plans to listen to public
SNOHOMISH — Jason Sanders, 47, was sworn in as the newest city council member last week, and said post-meeting he plans to listen to the people for big issues like retail marijuana and the strong mayor change – both of which will be put to voters in November.
Sanders’ fair outlook could be a breath of fresh air, as he comes to City Council in semi-turbulent times.
His predecessor, Councilman Zach Wilde, abruptly resigned in mid-December from the City Council after he was outed for living outside Snohomish.
Sanders was the chair of the economic development committee, but had to step down from the committee after being chosen for City Council against a field of 19 applicants. He works as a business manager for Puget Sound Energy.
He has lived in Snohomish for 25 years, and said he grew up in the Bellevue area. Snohomish offered him something he and his wife
MJ were looking for back in 1992 — a small town with character, a place to set down roots and help the place thrive.
“My wife and I have lived here coming on 25 years in July, and throughout the
years I had a number of opportunities to work with the city on different levels — whether it was volunteering with the Kla Ha Ya Days Parade, then later on it was youth sports, and got involved a few years ago with the economic development committee. With this (council), the more I began to think about what was going on not only in our town but across the country, I was thinking about how to get involved, and wanted to be part of something to try and make a positive change.”
The positive changes Sanders said he wants to help create are to continue sustainable growth within the city while still maintaining the city’s and people’s vision along with its historic, charming feel; he also wants to get more active in the public safety realm and involve kids and students in city events, civic issues, sports and trade or career development.
“I get excited when I walk downtown and see all the different businesses, events and people, and in other parts of town,” Sanders said. “It’s an opportunity to continue to
look for ways for the city to
grow, but retain existing businesses while giving opportunities for new businesses. Tax revenue is also an important issue for city vitality.”
On retail marijuana, Sanders said he personally does not prefer it, but as a councilman will listen to what voters decide in November on lifting the city ban or not.
“I still have the position from my personal point of view, it’s not my preference, it’s not what I would like to see in town,” Sanders said. “The most important thing is, when it comes up for vote, the community really needs to have a voice. Do they want to have recreational marijuana in town? And if they do want it in town, it’s not that I’m so opposed that I can’t accept it… I think that the bigger question is, what are the guidelines, requirements, on how you then allow the sale of recreational marijuana in town. Zoning requirements for industrial, proximity to schools, et cetera. I think that if in fact, that’s what the citizens really want, I would really like to be involved in those discussions.”
Sanders also said he came onto City Council without an agenda or political ties or mindset, because he wants the experience of collaborating with the other councilmembers, listening to citizens and working with city staff to help shape his role.
Sanders said the “soul” of the city is part of its economic identity, the people, the events and the overall attraction to others. He would like to see that continue to go in a
On the city’s government change to strong mayor, he said he wants to help
the city as much as he can but he knows the “(city staff) dedicate a lot of time and energy” to their work to make the city function, and feels bad for them and the upcoming change in their roles.
“The city has voted. It’s a strong mayor form, and I want to help with that process and make that process a smooth transition. But I want to tell people to be educated about this process,” he said. “Be educated. Understand who’s running for these positions (on council and strong mayor). Make sure your voice is heard and you consider whoever’s going to be running to be the new strong mayor, can
support the kind of views you want. My advice is to be informed, and be active in this process.”
Sanders has not decided yet if he will run for the seat he currently sits in on council in November.
“I’m ‘all in,’ in terms of – I’m not going to do something and not give everything I have for it,” he said. “Whether I’m here for 11 months, or I go further and try to go for an election and get on Council again, I’m going to be all in.”
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