Four in running to fill OH council position | Corrected

Four candidates with distinct backgrounds have applied for the seat on the Oak Harbor City Council vacated by Bill Larsen, who resigned earlier this year.

The city council members will choose who will be appointed to the position after interviewing the applicants in a public meeting, which will take place Aug. 5.

The applicants are Bryan Stucky, a funeral director at Wallin Funeral Home; local activist Jabari Diggs, who helped organize Black Lives Matter protests in Oak Harbor; Millie Goebel, guest teacher at Oak Harbor Public Schools; and Navy veteran Earl Plumlee, Jr., from Island and La Conner Drug.

“In my four years here I believe that I have worked hard to do my part to make our community the best it can be,” Stucky wrote in his application.

“Currently, I belong to Rotary and serve on the board of directors for Help House,” Stucky said. “Through my business, Wallin Funeral Home, I have done all I can do to give back. I believe that city council is a natural next step to use my skills to help this community that my family has come to love.”

Stucky said his three top priorities for the city are addressing a lack of housing, coming out of the pandemic and filling empty commercial buildings, particularly along Pioneer Way.

In her application, Diggs lists the police budget, student discrimination and minority inclusion as three issues the city needs to address.

“Currently, I am a member of Bridging the Races and was formerly a part of Whidbey Against Brutality and Racial Injustices,” Diggs said in her application. “We worked towards making changes that benefit our BIPOC community and help to bring awareness to the racial injustices that POC endure and witness everyday.”

“We also held a large rally for BLM and hosted a silent march in solidarity with all Black Lives and POC,” she wrote.

She wrote that she hopes to continue to help the community and people of color have a voice and be included in the major decisions being made in the city.

Goebel wrote that the three issues the city needs to address are maintaining and protecting the city’s financial position without overburdening the taxpayer, completing long-term plans for Windjammer Park and development of the waterfront, and addressing the homeless problem with action and viable solutions.

“Throughout my life I have volunteered for numerous organizations in the Oak Harbor Community,” Goebel said. “My service has given me a greater understanding of our diverse community and how to better meet the needs of the citizens of Oak Harbor.”

“I have served for the following organizations in various capacities: Oak Harbor Music Festival, Citizens for Better Schools, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Teddy Bear Breakfast, Ft. Nugent Castle Park Build, Festival of Trees, Bids for Kids, Whidbey Health Foundation Gala,” Goebel wrote.

In his application for the council seat, Plumlee cites a lack of skilled labor, lack of special needs services and the homeless population as the three top issues he believes the city needs to address.

“Since this position is for a short duration I would like to focus my accomplishments on creating actionable plans for items already on the council’s docket,” Plumlee wrote.

“Were I fortunate enough to earn a second term I would focus on longer term goals,” he said.

“For this term I would make it my goal to set the next person to hold my seat up to succeed. I believe it would be a distinct privilege to serve your community and a trust to be protected.”

“Should I only be granted this privilege for three months, I would want to ensure the next council member could work towards meaningful growth from day one,” Plumlee said.

At the meeting Tuesday, Councilman Joel Servatius recommended that council members interview all four of the applicants instead of narrowing down the candidate pool beforehand.

“You can read a resume and an application, but I also appreciate hearing them speak and getting a chance to get to know them a little bit better,” Servatius said.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Millie Goebel’s name and stated she was compiling plans for Windjammer Park instead of completing plans for Windjammer Park