Christopher Reed and Jill Johnson

Christopher Reed and Jill Johnson

Democrat files for Island County Board of Commissioners Dist. 2 seat

A self-described “lawn guy” is vying for a seat on the Board of Island County Commissioners in the 2020 election.

Democrat Christopher Reed is running for the District 2 position, currently held by Commissioner Jill Johnson.

Johnson, a Republican in her second term, said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll seek re-election.

“I’ll do a lot of reflection on what I really want to do,” she said.

“I want to make sure I’m making the right decision for my family and for the community,” she added.

Reed, who owns Barnavit Industries in Oak Harbor, said he decided to run for office to solve problems that he sees “instead of complaining about it on Facebook.”

The lifelong Whidbey Island resident said he hopes to focus on homelessness, the opioid crisis and deregulating small businesses.

He grew up in Greenbank, graduated from Coupeville High School, lived in Freeland and moved to Oak Harbor in 2015.

Johnson grew up in the city and graduated from Oak Harbor High School. She worked off island for a little more than a decade before returning to Whidbey to work at Whidbey Island Bank and then as executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

Johnson was first elected in 2012 and has focused on affordable housing and mental health support. She spearheaded the formation of a task force to look into the housing crisis and is an advocate for a new mental health and chemical dependency crisis stabilization center to be built in Oak Harbor.

Reed said his low-income background and history of working blue-collar jobs instilled a work ethic that would serve him well as commissioner.

“I’m not establishment,” he said. “I’m a worker bee.”

He’s held a variety of jobs, including changing oil, mowing lawns, working on assembly lines and serving as labor foreman. He is now running a commercial lawn care business.

He lives in the city with his wife Jessica, son Gabriel, 13, and his elderly mother. After a lifetime of manual labor, recent injuries caused him to consider other careers, he said. Within the last few years, he started reading and absorbing information about policy and politics in the U.S.

He said he’s willing to work with people of all political leanings and opinions to find solutions, and he believes there could be more partnership with the Navy to address housing and jet noise concerns.

He also wants to elevate the voices of community members to get their ideas to state and federal leaders.

“I’m the kind of guy that will walk around all day and talk to these people,” he said.

Johnson has maintained steadfast support of the Navy and its activity at Outlying Field Coupeville. After the state attorney general announced a lawsuit this summer over the Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement process, she asked the local Economic Development Council to respond to the action and advocate for the county’s top employer.

Johnson has described herself as a moderate Republican and independent thinker.

Reed said he’s aligns mostly with Democrat, but he isn’t liberal.

“I vote for what I think is right, whether or not that agrees with my party,” he said.

More in News

Lt. j.g. William McIlvaine, left, celebrates after graduating from flight school. He was killed in a training accident in March 2013. His uncle, Phelps McIlvaine, donated a monument to Oak Harbor in honor of all service members who died while serving in Prowler squadrons. Photo courtesy Phelps McIlvaine
Prowler aircraft monument still in works years later

The Oak Harbor Park Board learned the donated monument will probably be installed this year.

Woman sues Uber over injury suffered in 2018

The woman is suing the car-for-hire company over an injury that occurred in Oak Harbor in 2018.

Legislature opens with call for cooperation on COVID-19 relief

The state legislature launched its virtual session this week.

Low-cost crab pots available at fundraiser Jan. 17

The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron is offering crab pots with… Continue reading

Oak Harbor council decides on marina environmental restoration plan

The boat ramp will be getting a makeover, but no pocket beach is planned for Catalina Park.

The Tokitae ferry pulls into the new Mukilteo ferry terminal Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
State ferries ridership reaches a 50-year low

Total ridership in 2020 was about 14 million, or 41 percent, less than the 10 million in 2019.

A tree on Highway 20 on the north side of the Deception Pass bridge held up traffic until it could be cleared early on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Photo by China Hageman
Windstorm wreaks havoc across island

Power was knocked out to thousands of customers in the first big storm of the year.

State health officer temporarily helping county

Dr. Lindquist has been serving on an emergency basis since Dec. 31 and will continue until Jan. 20.

Firefighter Jeff Rhodes (left), Firefighter Keith Dawson (center, back), Acting Lieutenant Alex Majestic (right) practice a CPR response without the LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System the agency wants to buy. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
District turns to crowdfunding for CPR tool

Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue is looking to raise $18,580 to buy a CPR tool.

Most Read