David Baublits
David Baublits

Editor's Note: In the July 21 issue of the Eatonville Dispatch, stories on two of the three Eatonville mayoral candidates — Mayor Mike Schaub and Councilmember Bob Walter — were published. This created confusion among many residents who questioned why the third candidate, businessman David Baublits, did not have a story as well. Contributing writer Ruairi Vaughan reached out to all three candidates via email to determine their interest in being interviewed. This included emails sent to Mr. Baublits on July 3 and July 12. The Dispatch did not receive any response from Mr. Baublits before last week. The Dispatch is printing this story to provide Mr. Baublits the same opportunity as the other candidates.

 

David Baublits has a vision for the town of Eatonville.

The 66-year-old mayoral candidate, who is facing off against incumbent Mayor Mike Schaub and town Councilmember Bob Walter in the Aug. 3 primary election, has lived in Eatonville off and on throughout his life, most recently moving back in 2018.

Baublits, who served on the Eatonville School Board at one point, said his desire to now serve as the next mayor stems from both frustration with current town leaders and officials and concern for the future of  the town.

“I’m not the kind of a guy who sits back and waits,” the businessman said. “I’m the kind of guy who jumps in and takes action.”

Baublits said if he is elected, one of the first things he would do upon taking office is update the town's comprehensive plan. That would entail creating a four- and eight-year strategic plan that outlines action items, due dates and the people responsible.

“We need to get the town into a growth mode,” he said.

He also has plans to replace the current town administrator, as well as the contract planner and contract public works director with a full-time planner and public works director.

“So that will all happen day 1,” Baublits said. “The changes that need to be made up there are astronomical.”

Baublits, who currently sits on the town Planning Commission, said anybody who has tried to come before the town officials for new development frequently encounter resistance and challenges, himself included.

“That’s not the issue,” he said. “To me, it is more the overall problem that the town is dying.”

Baublits said, in addition to a reluctance by town leaders to welcome or ease the path for new enterprises and development, the town has empty commercial buildings that have been vacant for years, and in some cases, decades. With an out-of-date building code and few new business or development opportunities coming in, the town risks more shops going out of business and residents moving, Baublits said.

Further, he said Eatonville doesn't have any special amenities or attractions to entice the thousands of people driving through town to stop, explore the town and spend their money.

“The town has done nothing to promote a strong business base, and Eatonville will not survive unless something is done to build a strong business base,” Baublits said.

To help solve this problem, Baublits wants to collaborate with residents and businesses to decide upon and establish a town theme and to develop a business environment attractive to people driving through to entice them to get out and spend money.

“We need to get tourist dollars attached to citizen dollars,” he said. “We shouldn’t be making the town viable on the backs of our citizens.”

Baublits proposes that the theme should build upon Eatonville’s history as a logging town and could include a logging museum in town and possibly an aircraft museum at the town air strip.

“This is who we are,” he said. “To me, our vision should be to represent in a historical way the true history of logging towns in the Northwest and do it at a high level.”

Baublits said, although this is a big undertaking for his first term in office, he believes it can be accomplished through networking, community partnerships and locating the appropriate backers to provide adequate funding, a necessary component.

“We have an opportunity to do something unique and special here,” Baublits said. “It’s a matter of getting the right vision in place, getting the right buy-in from people and going out and finding the money to get it done.”

While his goals may sound lofty, Baublits feels his background as a business owner with a masters in business administration provides him with the necessary skills to set Eatonville on a new path.

“I have been pretty successful in getting things done in the private enterprises I’ve been involved with,” Baublits said, adding he has run $80 million companies in the past. “I know how to run companies. It's what I do.”

Baublits said he may not be the right candidate for everyone, however, specifically people who do not share his vision for growth in town.

“I ought to be voted in because people like what I’m trying to do and want to see it done,” he said. “If I’m going to sit around and spin my wheels, it’s not worth it to me.”

The two top finishers of the Aug. 3 primary will advance to the general election in November.

For more information about David Baublits, go to www.davidbaublitsformayor.com.