Low holds on to District 5 seat

Incumbent returning to Snohomish County Council

Kelly Sullivan

Sam Low will continue serving on the Snohomish County Council.

The incumbent had the support of about 57.2 percent of general election votes on Friday, while opponent Kristin Kelly trailed at 42 percent, with more than 30,000 ballots counted.

Low said he believes the counts highlight the urgency Snohomish County voters feel in seeing transportation issues addressed — that “they are speaking in unison.”

Low, who is a Republican, was originally up against two Democrats — Kelly and Tara Schumacher of Maltby. Schumacher was bumped out of the running during the August primary. About 18,000 voters turned out then.

Throughout the District 5 race, land use policy, homelessness, addiction and transportation were at the forefront.

Low has held the District 5 position since last fall. He won a special election against Hans Dunshee, who was appointed to the seat when Dave Somers exited following his election as Snohomish County Executive.

The lifelong Snohomish County resident received about 37,000 votes in the 2016 general election, more than any other official who has run for the position, he said. Prior to his win, Low served on the Lake Stevens City Council for three years. Last year his campaign centered on fiscal responsibility, which included finding a cheaper solution to renovating the Snohomish County courthouse in Everett.

This time around, Low pushed for road improvements. Many of the routes in District 5 are not sufficient to handle the millions of commuters that traverse the system annually. He estimates the area’s arterials are underfunded by about $1.5 billion.

Low has pointed specifically to widening the bottleneck from one to two lanes between the Snohomish River to Paradise Lake Road on State Route 522, and the two-lane highway that spans the stretch from Skykomish to Sultan. He has said the commute is “unbearable, period,” especially on weekends.

Kelly also focused on transportation but largely honed in on the importance of sustainability issues throughout her campaign.

The Pilchuck Audubon Society touted her experience and commitment to making land-use policy a priority if elected. Kelly has also worked as the program director for the sustainable-growth nonprofit Futurewise, and she had said she hoped to find more ways to support small businesses in the community.

Kelly served on the past two Snohomish County Charter Review Commissions, where she ran against nearly a dozen others and won the most votes for her district both times. She received some significant endorsements during the race, which included Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, all four Snohomish County Democratic state lawmakers, former state representative and county councilmember Hans Dunshee and Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan: Snohomish County Councilmember Sam Low speaks during a recent candidates forum.


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