The election season has already started in Oak Harbor.
Oak Harbor native Lucas Yonkman announced he is running for the seat on the City Council currently held by Bob Severns.
Yonkman, a 2002 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, rose to prominence in the city as a calm, well-spoken advocate for gun rights. His admission that he was armed during a meeting led to a well-publicized showdown between the council and Second Amendment supporters.
“I was getting a lot of requests from citizens of Oak Harbor who want me to run,” he said. “People seemed to like the way I handled myself at those meetings.
“I’m always willing to step forward and help my country and my community.”
Yet Yonkman said he’s more than just a one-trick pony. He said he’s immersed himself in city business beyond the gun issue since the beginning on the year and is interested in a wide-range of issues.
He counts Mayor Scott Dudley among his supporters, though he said the mayor isn’t one of those who asked him to run.
He’s not afraid to speak his mind. He said, for example, that the council members made the wrong decision recently when they refused to confirm the mayor’s choice for city attorney, citing his lack of experience.
Yonkman said there’s more to people than what’s on a resume.
“You need to look further down the road to see what he would have become,” he said.
Yonkman is a disabled Army veteran. He was in the military for five years, and was preparing to become a helicopter pilot, when his career was cut short by an IED in Afghanistan.
He was medically discharged.
Yonkman worked for his father’s well-known company, Yonkman Construction. Later, he and a partner started a new business, Ronsons Design and Construction LLC, which focuses on federal contracts. He is the president and majority owner.
Yonkman said people urged him to run against Councilman Joel Servatius, who supported Councilman Rick Almberg’s unsuccessful motion to disarm Yonkman during a meeting. But he was concerned that people would think he was running out of revenge.
“I didn’t want people to see it as a grudge match,” he said, adding that he believes someone else will run against Servatius.
Yonkman said he believes it is time for change in the position he’s vying for.
Councilman Bob Severns disagrees. He said he plans to run again; he pointed out that he has a lot of experience and a good understanding of city issues.
Severns said he is pleased to have competition. He said he was disappointed when he ran unopposed four years ago.
“I think the citizens deserve to have a choice,” he said. “And it’s good to see young people get involved.”