One of Oak Harbor’s newest council members is hoping to change his title to “mayor.”
While rumors of potential candidates have been swirling for years, Councilmember Shane Hoffmire, who was elected to the council in 2021, is the first person to announce he is running to be the next Oak Harbor mayor. Bob Severns, the current mayor, said he isn’t seeking reelection.
Hoffmire already has a website, shanehoffmire.com, in which he outlines his platform in broad terms. His campaign, he wrote, will focus on affordability, accountability and livability.
“With results-driven intention, fighting for an affordable future for the citizens of Oak Harbor is the ‘why’ of my campaign,” he wrote. “The people deserve to have their voices heard and to be represented by one of their own.”
In 2021, Hoffmire was an energetic city government newcomer when he successfully took on Joel Servatius, a longtime council member. During his campaign, Hoffmire argued that people were disenchanted with a council that wasn’t listening to its citizens, pointing to issues like the controversial angel sculpture and the ever-increasing utility rates — which decreased for the first time last fall.
Hoffmire’s message of change and responsiveness resonated with voters. He won by a landslide in the election, netting 73% of the vote.
It appears that Hoffmire will continue his “man of the people” campaign in his quest to become mayor. He shares the story of his working class background, his own concerns about the cost of living in the city and his commitment to community and volunteerism.
“It’s the people that I represent,” he wrote. “That’s why I serve, and I believe any success is ours together and that success is best shared.”
Hoffmire’s family moved to Oak Harbor nearly 25 years ago from Indiana. Working on Whidbey, he first became involved in farming and switched to working in construction. Since 2009, he’s worked in “building maintenance and modernization,” according to his platform.
Hoffmire served as commissioner for the North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation District for five years. He has also volunteered with a local Little League, Pony Club and the Washington Trails Association.
Hoffmire explained on his website that his top priority is “reducing the strain placed on the ratepayers by the city’s exorbitant monthly utility bill.”
When it comes to affordable housing, Hoffmire proposes a “hybrid” approach that includes modernizing the city’s “outdated” development codes and implementing a task force’s recommendations.
During the council campaign, his opponent was critical of Hoffmire for his alleged unquestioning support of the city administration, saying government needs checks and balances. Indeed, on the council Hoffmire has been loath to criticize or strongly disagree with city staff, though he isn’t afraid of asking questions or state his opinion in his typical upbeat manner.