With filing week starting Monday, a number of city council incumbents have in recent days announced plans to retain their positions.
Candidates for many city council seats will be on the ballot this year, with this year’s primary election taking place Aug. 3 and the general election on Nov. 2. The top two candidates in the primary move on to the general election.
Three positions on the Chehalis City Council — seats currently held by Mayor Dennis Dawes and councilors Michael Bannan and Bob Spahr — will be on the ballot. Five Centralia City Council positions — currently held by councilors Mark Westley, Cameron McGee, Rebecca Staebler and Max Vogt and Mayor Susan Luond — will be up for grabs.
Select city councilors in Morton, Mossyrock, Napavine, Pe Ell, Toledo, Vader and Winlock will also be subject to reelection.
Westley, McGee and Bannan recently reached out to The Chronicle to announce their candidacies. All three are first-term council members, with Westley and Bannan both appointed by their respective councils to fill vacant terms in recent months.
“My desire is to serve the citizens of our great city and contribute to its growth and prosperity; I will support public safety, encourage the continued improvements of city infrastructure, and advocate for new economic development while supporting our local business,” Westley wrote in his campaign declaration.
McGee said he’s been inspired to run for reelection due to the sheer amount of engaging and important business that’s currently going on in Centralia, including discussions on housing, the planned United Learning Center and the economic recovery currently underway as the pandemic wanes.
“With five seats up this year, there could be some massive turnover,” said McGee, who owns Centralia-based Calypso Window Washing LLC. “I feel like it’s just the wrong time for me to step away from council.”
Bannan, general sales manager at Awesome Chevrolet and a 2003 W.F. West graduate, said he wants to continue serving and help steer his community in a positive direction. He said he’s been surprised with the business and residential boom that the city has been experiencing in recent years, and it’s become more apparent during his service.
“I think this is the most desireable I’ve seen Chehalis in the 20-plus years I’ve lived here. It’s going to get big,” he said. “I’m someone who’s younger than some of the guys out there. If anything, I want to show people around my age that, hey, we need to serve.”
Filing fees to run for a seat on Centralia City Council amount to $36, according to the Secretary of State’s website, and fees to run for a Chehalis seat are $12. Those fees are nonrefundable.
Many seats on local school boards will also be up for reelection this year, including two at Centralia, the seats now filled by board members Amy Buzzard and Lori Fast. In Chehalis, the seats of board members Vicki Daniels and Colleen State, as well as a seat held by former board member Brennan Bailey, will be on the ballot.
Kelsi Hamilton, a vocal parent and education activist who helped lead the drive last year to reopen Lewis County’s public schools to in-person instruction, is aiming to unseat Daniels, should she run to retain her seat.
School boards in Adna, Morton, Rochester, Castle Rock, Mossyrock, Napavine, Onalaska, Pe Ell, Toledo, White Pass and Winlock could also see some changeover. According to the Secretary of State’s website, there are no filing fees required to run for a school board seat.
Some seats serving port districts, fire commissions, water-sewer boards, hospital districts and cemetery districts are also up for election this year.
Filing week runs from Monday, May 17, to Friday, May 21. Online filing will be available from 9 a.m. on Monday until 4 p.m. on Friday, according to the Lewis County Auditor’s Office. In order to file, candidates will need to fill out a declaration of candidacy form, pay the filing fee and provide their voters’ guide statement and photo.
Candidate filing can also be done by mail and in-person. Mailed declarations must be received by the Lewis County Auditor’s Office by 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The deadline to withdraw from the 2021 primary and general elections is 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 24.
Updated filing information throughout filing week will be published next week in The Chronicle and online at www.chronline.com.
Candidates who win in the November general election will take office Jan. 1.