Eatonville voters are getting closer to picking a new mayor.
Ballots will be mailed to them this Friday by the Pierce County auditor for the Aug. 6 primary election, in which a field of four candidates will be narrowed to two for the general election in November. Voters have until the date of the primary election to return their ballots in the all-mail voting.
Hoping to emerge from the primary race as the finalists to be the next mayor are three current officeholders in town government – Councilman Gordon Bowman, Councilman Jim Valentine and Treasurer Mike Schaub. The fourth candidate, Carl (Bud) Lucas, also has ties to Town Hall as a former fire chief.
Mayor Ray Harper, who’s nearing the end of his first four-year term in the office, isn’t running for re-election. He’s a candidate for a Town Council seat, instead.
Eatonville’s mayor oversees the town government’s operations and has hiring and firing power over town employees. The position has an annual salary of $11,000.
As qualifications to become mayor, all of the candidates cite their experience with Town Hall and related public service – Bowman as a councilman since 2009, Schaub as treasurer the past six years and 19 years of working with state fiscal agencies, Valentine as a councilman for six years and a former town Planning Commission member, and Lucas as an ex-chief and former assistant chief, respectively, with the Eatonville and Tacoma fire departments.
The candidates want to improve Eatonville’s financial stability. That and other issues are discussed by the candidates in their answers to a questionnaire in the July 17 print edition of The Dispatch. The questionnaire was submitted to them by The Dispatch in an effort to help inform voters.