OAK HARBOR CITY COUNCIL PRIMARY: Dudley stakes campaign on experience

One Oak Harbor City Council race is on the primary election ballot, which voters have already received in the mail. Scott Dudley, Gerry Oliver and Mel Vance are seeking Position 5, which is being vacated by Eric Gerber. The two candidates who get the most primary votes will advance to the general election in November. Return ballots must be postmarked no later than election day, Aug. 18.

No stranger to the Oak Harbor community, Scott Dudley’s involvement includes numerous clubs and community activities. As a financial advisor with Edward Jones, he’s also known to host free financial seminars.

Now Dudley hopes to expand his community roots by running for an open position on the Oak Harbor City Council. The nine-year Oak Harbor resident said he’d like to be a part of what he sees as the current council’s amicable, forward-moving pace.

“I’d like to help them keep moving down the right path that we are,” he said. “I don’t have an agenda. I don’t have an ax to grind.”

The current council members work well together, he said, “and I’d like to keep it that way.”

Dudley’s satisfaction with the way things are going doesn’t mean he’ll roll over when, and if, trouble starts.

“I don’t necessarily accept every answer I hear,” he said. “I’ll research the issues.”

If Dudley wins the seat, it’ll be his second successful political venture. He previously served on the Rainier, Wash., City Council from 1995 through 1998 and applied for a vacancy on the Oak Harbor City Council, but lost to current Councilman Bob Severns. However, he supports the man who defeated him.

“If I knew (Severns) was running, I wouldn’t have thrown my hat in the ring,” he said.

“It’s a thankless job,” he said of his experience in Rainier, “but you walk away from it and ask yourself if the town or city was better off than when you started.”

In place of higher taxes, Dudley would rather see the city work within its means. Same with grants, he said.

“Couldn’t we just start with what we need instead of what we can get?” he said. “I believe in fiscal responsibility.”

Dudley said infrastructure repair and maintenance should be a priority over creating new facilities.

“I’m not a one-issue candidate,” he said.

Dudley believes the city could have been more aggressive in its effort to create an affordable housing project, which he says is “inevitable.”

“They should have been more of a ‘squeaky wheel,’” he said. “I think we can do more to ensure things happen. I have no problem rocking the boat if the boat needs to get rocked.”

Dudley would also like to improve the city’s relationship with the state.

“We need to have a bigger presence in Olympia,” he said, suggesting the city do more to “sell itself,” or lobby at the state capitol.

In preparation for his campaign, Dudley has attended city council meetings over the last couple of months. He also attended the budget workshop last year and is looking forward to the budget session this summer.

“I bring experience, the ability to communicate and stay open minded,” he said.

Meet the candidates

Meet and question the candidates for Oak Harbor City Council at a forum Tuesday, July 28, presented by the League of Women Voters of Island County.

Candidates Scott Dudley, Gerry Oliver and Mel Vance have been invited to give statements and answer questions from the audience.

In addition, Island Transit’s proposed sales tax increase of three-tenths of one percent will be discussed.

The forum takes place from 7 to 9 p.m., July 28 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, 155 NE Ernst St.

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