Steve Schmalz to run for mayor
Mukilteo City Councilmember Steve Schmalz announced Friday that he is running for mayor.
He and Councilmember Jennifer Gregerson each seek to unseat Joe Marine, who has served as mayor for the last seven years and will be up for re-election. Gregerson announced her candidacy last month.
“When I was not a councilmember, I would go to meetings and see things just weren’t quite right with the city,” Schmalz said. “When I got elected to council, it just solidified my thoughts and my beliefs that we need changes at City Hall.”
Schmalz, 48, was elected to council in 2011 and is serving his first term. He has been a resident of Mukilteo for almost 10 years.
His priorities are public safety, fiscal responsibility, economic development, support for Boeing and aerospace manufacturing, preservation of green spaces like Japanese Gulch and to continue the fight against Paine Field expansion.
He said he would like to see the city invest in more sidewalks and traffic calming measures, as well as present and execute a “truly balanced budget” without raising taxes.
“Right now, our budget is balanced by tax increases, using our reserves and hidden fees,” he said. “This happens year after year, and it’s going to be a disaster if we keep heading down the same road.
“We’ll have to cut spending even more. Everything should be on the table, everything should be looked at.”
As a councilmember, he has initiated a citizens committee to help the city with drainage projects in Smuggler’s Gulch, voted to remove all references to an alternate road for ferry traffic in the Comprehensive Plan, and made the motion to not charge residents to park at Lighthouse Park and on the waterfront.
“There needs to be a clear choice,” Schmalz said. “The other candidates are one and the same. There isn’t much difference in their beliefs, and the people in Mukilteo need another choice.”
“The residents are truly looking for someone to watch out for them and really listening to what their needs are. I’m committed to putting the residents first.”
Marine was first elected to the office in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. He was unopposed in the first race and won his second term against 26-year resident Pat Smith, who has since moved to Stanwood.
“Steve is the only person running that is not a career politician,” Smith said. “He would be outstanding as mayor of Mukilteo because he’s got a vision of what the city could become, balanced with a reality of what they could afford.”
Although he hasn’t made an official announcement, Marine is seeking a third term. His re-election campaign will kick off at 6 p.m. on April 18 at the Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave.
Marine said he doesn’t see Schmalz as a strong candidate, as he has only been a councilmember since 2012.
“He’s gone to absolutely no training, he’s done nothing regionally,” Marine said. “Other than him wanting to be [mayor], what would he bring to the table?”
“My business degree, financial acumen and years of local political involvement more than qualify me as a mayoral candidate,” he said.
Schmalz was a member of the council’s Transportation and Public Safety committees, but left them this year because the committees aren’t “where strong legislation starts, like what I envisioned,” he said.
He is instead on a separate committee with Snohomish County, Paine Field Airport and other Mukilteo councilmembers that is working on the possibility of a park-and-ride just off of Bernie Webber Drive.
In addition, Schmalz is vice president of the Mukilteo Arts Guild, through which he is involved in the Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Waterfront Art Festival, Holiday Art Mart, Open Mic Night and Mukilteo Unplugged.
He is also a member of Waterfront Wednesdays and the Tails and Trails Mukilteo Dog Park committees.
Schmalz has a bachelor’s degree in business from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. He is self-employed and owns two small businesses in Mukilteo, the Art Workshop and Scarves by Awad.
The mayor of Mukilteo is a full-time, non-partisan position that pays $70,800 a year. Mayors serve a four-year term.
Elections for the office are held in odd-numbered years. The deadline to register for the mayoral race is May 17.