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Slowik prepares to govern

Now that Jim Slowik apparently won a hard-fought campaign to become Oak Harbor mayor, he has a couple of months to prepare for the real challenge — governing a city with a lot of issues on its plate.

Slowik said one of the first things he’ll focus on is improving communication between the city and the public. There’s also many infrastructure issues to consider, including costly work on Highway 20 and Pioneer Way and an even costlier sewage treatment plant. There’s the Windjammer Plan and the marina redevelopment plan.

“I have no big changes in mind,” he said, “but I plan to bring in some good standard business practices, if they’re not already there.”

Meanwhile, City Councilman Paul Brewer, who lost to Slowik in the election, said his 12-year political career may not be over at the end of the year. He said he may run for council again in two years, most likely against Councilwoman Sheilah Crider.

“She’s been part of the problem in city government,” he claimed.

When he is handed the gavel next year, Slowik will be joined by three other newcomers to city government. Jim Palmer, Beth Munns and Rick Almberg won seats on the City Council. In fact, Slowik conjectured that is was the citizen’s desire for a transformation in city government that helped him win office.

“I think it’s the change issue,” he said. “The voters wanted to see fresh faces.”

In the second count of election results Thursday afternoon, Slowik was ahead of Brewer by 56 percent to 44 percent. Slowik won 1,718 votes while Brewer received 1,332.

The winning City Council candidates had even wider leads. City Council candidate Jim Palmer won 60 percent of the votes, with 1,754 ballots cast in his favor, while Bob Morrison got 40 percent with 1,162 voters.

Candidate Beth Munns received 1,986 votes, or 69 percent, while challenger Chris Hiteshew earned 902 votes, which is 31 percent.

Finally, council candidate Rick Almberg won 1,972 votes, or 71 percent, while Mel Vance received 800 ballots cast in his favor, which is 29 percent.

After Brewer called Slowik Thursday night to congratulate the used-car dealer on winning, the two men ended up talking about city issues for more than an hour.

Brewer said he was pleased to hear that Slowik seemed to agree with him on many things

“I hope Jim Slowik is true to what he campaigned on,” Brewer said. “If he is, we’ll be OK.”

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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