The Town of Coupeville’s one primary race for city council suggests that it could be a hot political season in Whidbey’s most historic community.
Incumbent Councilman Bob Clay finished first in the primary, but wasn’t that far ahead of environmentalist Gary Piazzon, who will also advance to the general election. Clay effectively represents the “we’re going to grow, so let’s get ready for it,” crowd, while Piazzon would just as soon put the damper on growth, or at least not encourage it. Third place went to Sue Cunningham, the impressive newcomer to the town and its politics. She ran a solid campaign, preaching for more effective historic preservation, and did well in the vote count. Will her supporters go to Clay or Piazzon? Such questions provide the intrigue that make small town politics so interesting.
Coupeville’s two other Town Council incumbents are also being challenged in the general election: Molly Huges by Roxallanne Medley and Marshall Bronson by Ann Dannhauer. Either race could be competitive if voters think the present town government has been leaning too far to the pro-growth side.
Nancy Conard appears to some to be angling for the Mayor for Life title bestowed upon the unbeatable. But the environmental activists in town aren’t supporting her and they displayed their influence with Piazzon’s surprisingly good showing in the primary. For mayor they’re backing Gordon Burton, who’s critical of Conard’s second hat as full-time town administrator. An upset seems unlikely, but anything can happen with Coupeville’s town politics percolating so rapidly.
As in Oak Harbor, the key to the election is for challengers and incumbents alike to work hard and state their cases clearly. Then, win or lose, you will have done your part for our democratic system of government.