In Coupeville, this election year is no contest

Coupeville candidates are cruising toward victory thanks to lack of competition in the Nov. 4 election. Town government will remain unchanged, except for one position on the council. Local volunteer Molly Hughes filed to take Donna Keeler’s place on the council. Keeler decided not to run for office this year.

Hughes’ upcoming election will make her the third new member of the town council since June. Joe Keeva and Dianne Binder were appointed earlier this summer to fill vacancies on the town council.

While the current council will largely remain the same, so will the issues they will have to face. Candidates say those issues range from controlling water rates to trying to preserve Coupeville’s small town character.

Mayor Nancy Conard said that the town is still dealing with some of the highest water rates in the state.

“That’s not going away. We just want to minimize increases,” Conard said.

She hopes some of the town’s water problems will be alleviated when it obtains two wells from Island County next year.

The town is still going to work with Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve on its development regulations.

“We’re still wrestling with matching our expenditures with revenues,” Conard said.

Councilman Bob Clay, who has been serving on the council since he was appointed in 2001, wants to ensure the town remains small.

“I think keeping this place a comfortable place to live is the challenge,” Clay said.

He said the best way to do that is to continue the council’s work and also work with the reserve to ensure the town’s historic flavor.

“We don’t want to change the town,” Clay said.

Dianne Binder, who was appointed to the council this summer, said that “Coupeville has historically been a slower growth.”

She would like to see the town buy and tear down the former Island Mental Health building, then use the land as park.

The town recently acquired Coupeville Farmer’s Market land and Binder wants it to be converted into a town square.

Binder wants the council to support fund-raising efforts for Krueger Farm and to also develop a long-term plan to protect the town’s limited water resources.

Marshall Bronson, who is finishing his eighth year on the council, echoed these issues.

“The two issues at the forefront of everybody’s mind is growth and water,” Bronson said.

Joe Keeva, who has been involved in various restoration projects throughout the historic reserve, would like the town to continue education efforts about the town’s water and sewer situation, and begin education efforts on the town’s rules and regulations.

The new person on the board will be Molly Hughes who is also the only board member with children in school.

“I just thought I’d represent a population that aren’t currently represented,” Hughes said.

Her first goal is to become more knowledgeable of issues currently facing the town.

“My goal is to jump in with two feet and represent the town as objectively as possible,” Hughes said.

Because Keeva and Binder were appointed to their positions, they had to run for election this year instead of 2005, when their seats would have normally been up for election.


Nancy Conard

Age: 51

Family: Single, two sisters.

Employment: Business manager for the Coupeville School District.

Education: High school graduate, various community college classes.

Experience: Two terms as mayor, one term on the Coupeville Town Council, member of the Soroptimists and the Coupeville Lions.

Town Council

Dianne Binder

Age: 48

Family: Husband, David, two sons.

Employment: Owns Anchorage Inn Bed and Breakfast with husband.

Education: Degree in Business from the University of Phoenix, MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Experience: Appointed to the town council in July 2003, former planning commissioner, member of the “two percent” committee, joint tourism committee and the Coupeville Lodging Association.

Town Council

Marshall Bronson

Age: 65

Employment: Owner of the Compass Rose Bed and Breakfast. Retired Navy.

Education: Degree in English from Western Washington University.

Experience: Two terms on the Coupeville Town Council, member of the Scenic Corridor committee, the “two percent” sales tax committee and Ebey’s Landing Historical Reserve Trust board.

Town Council

Bob Clay

Age: 62

Family: Wife, Marilyn, two sons, three daughters.

Employment: Retired manager of a heavy equipment business.

Education: Business degree from Portland State University.

Experience: Town Councilman since 2001, former planning commissioner, member of the Island County Law and Justice Council and a member of the Coupeville Lions.

Town council

Joe Keeva

Age: 73

Family: Wife, Sally, two sons, two daughters

Employment: Real estate investor

Education: B.A. Education from California State Los Angeles.

Experience: Appointed to the Coupeville Town Council in July 2003, Member of Friends of Krueger Farm and involved in various restoration projects such as the San de Fuca schoolhouse and the Blower house.

Town Council

Molly Hughes

Age: 44

Family: Husband, Larry, two sons.

Employment: Homemaker

Education: High school graduate, three years at the University of Washington.

Experience: Volunteer for the Coupeville School District, Gifts from the Heart and the Boy Scouts.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at or 675-6611.

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