Candidates emerge for city seats

Political season for Oak Harbor mayor and council positions is off to the races.

Political season for Oak Harbor mayor and council positions is off to the races with a whole slew of candidates coming forward.

The scuttlebutt has been much quieter when it comes to the 59 other local government positions on Whidbey that will appear on the ballot in November. Because of resignations, all of the positions on the Oak Harbor School Board will be before voters in the general election.

Candidate filing week is May 15-19, but some people seeking election have announced their intentions on social media or by filing with the state Public Disclosure Commission, or PDC.

A second candidate has come forward for the Oak Harbor mayor position, which will be open as Mayor Bob Severns isn’t seeking reelection. He said this week that he won’t endorse anyone to replace him.

Ronnie Wright filed as a mayoral candidate with the PDC. Wright, a managing partner at Pacific Grace Tax and Accounting, has a long history of involvement with the Oak Harbor community. He is currently on the city’s parks board and has served as a board member for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Whidbey Golf and Country Club and the city arts commission.

Earlier this year, Councilmember Shane Hoffmire became the first person to announce he plans to run for mayor.

Two newcomers filed documents with the PDC indicating they plan to run for council. Barbara Armes is seeking the position vacated by Dan Evans, who resigned. She said she became interested in city government out of concern for sewer rates and has been attending meetings since January 2022.

“I want to be part of the solution,” she said. “I don’t want to sit on the sidelines.”

Christopher Wiegenstein also filed with the PDC, but the website doesn’t indicate which position he is seeking. He is a counselor, owner of a counseling business, an elected member of the board of North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation District and a board member for the Whidbey Homeless Coalition and Oak Harbor Youth Coalition.

Earl “Andy” Plumlee, the operations manager of Island Drug and owner of Popsies, announced on Facebook that he is also seeking Evans’ seat.

According to the city, six people so far have submitted applications to be appointed to the vacant positions.

Patrick Harman announced he is running for the seat currently held by Councilmember Beth Munns. Harman previously ran for mayor against Severns but was unsuccessful. He didn’t want to apply for the vacant position, he said, because he doesn’t believe the council would choose him since he has been critical of some decisions in the past. His top priority is fixing city streets.

Councilmember Tara Hizon also filed with the PDC.

Besides those running for the Oak Harbor city offices, only one other person has filed as a candidate in Whidbey Island elections with PDC, as of Wednesday night. Christopher Carlson, the chairperson of the Langley Finance and Personnel Commission, indicated he will run for Thomas Gill’s seat on the Langley City Council.