Sequim City Council members seek to fill the vacant seat of Jennifer States, seen in this file photo, who resigned earlier this year. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)                                Jennifer States addresses the Sequim City Council at a question-and-answer session for potential candidates for the vacant seventh council seat in January 2018. States has announced her intention to resign from the council. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim City Council members seek to fill the vacant seat of Jennifer States, seen in this file photo, who resigned earlier this year. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file) Jennifer States addresses the Sequim City Council at a question-and-answer session for potential candidates for the vacant seventh council seat in January 2018. States has announced her intention to resign from the council. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Four residents seek to fill Sequim City Council vacancy

Teleconference interviews to be scheduled

SEQUIM — Four people are vying for a Sequim City Council seat vacated by Jennifer States.

States resigned in February after a job promotion.

City residents seeking the seat are Sarah Kincaid, Michael Pence, Lowell Rathbun and Robert Sheckler.

Sequim council members will meet and interview the four candidates by teleconference. The date is in question.

The teleconference originally was set for 6 p.m. today with residents listening at www.sequimwa.gov. But that meeting was cancelled because the technology allowing the public to hear the meeting by telephone yet not be able to speak during the meeting was not available in time, the city said in a Thursday press release.

So the interviews will be rescheduled to the next meeting on April 27. If the technology is in place earlier then a special meeting may be called.

Currently no public comment is available for virtual meetings. Written comment can be submitted to City Clerk Sara McMillon by email at [email protected] wa.gov or traditional mail at City of Sequim, 152 W. Cedar St. Sequim, WA 98382, Attention City Clerk.

Candidates for the post answered preset questions, and when next interviewed they will answer more questions, with each candidate asked the same questions.

After the question-and-answer session, council members plan to meet in executive session, after which they may make a decision in open session.

Council member terms last four years, but the person appointed will serve until Dec. 31, 2021. Voters will then decide who will fill the remainder of the unexpired term in the November 2021 General Election.

Here is some background on the candidates:

• Kincaid moved into the city in July 2015 from Diamond Point where she had lived since July 2000.

She served as an office manager for the California Teachers Association, quality control supervisor for private labels at Mervyn’s, and as a part-time lead associate for Petco before retiring.

She also started a write-in campaign running against States for the general election in 2019.

In her application, Kincaid said she sees “a need for good representation of the people who live in Sequim, and I’ve spoken to many as I door-belled for the position.

“I believe I understand many of the concerns on all sides of the issues, and will strive to support the citizens in the direction they want to see the city move,” she wrote.

Kincaid said her priorities “are those of the people of Sequim, as I will be representing them.”

• Pence has lived in Sequim for more than a year. He had retired as director of public works for Liberty, Mo., in 2009.

Pence said he wants to “contribute to the orderly progress of the city.”

“I feel my 33 years of municipal government experience gives me great insight into solving problems on a local level, and a great advantage of being able to listen to the facts and make good decisions,” he said.

Pence said he wants Sequim to “stand head and shoulders above the other towns in the area as the best to live and work in.”

He said he also wants to continue efforts to improve the central business district downtown along with other commercial areas.

• Rathbun has lived in the city for more than two years and is a retired radio frequency design engineer.

He retired from Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Ore., six years ago.

Rathbun is active with the Clallam County Democrats.

He said he wants to serve on the council after he was drawn to the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic matter.

“As I sat through four City Council meetings from start to finish, I became aware of longer-term matters important to our community, such as the need for affordable housing and the critical need for locally provided health care,” he wrote.

Rathbun said he can bring analytical skills and strategic thinking to the council as a trained engineer.

Rathbun said affordable housing is in short supply and he would like the city to become more involved in efforts to address the problem.

His other priorities include attracting attached and multi-family housing development for younger/lower income residents, sustainable development, adapting to climate change and local health care options.

• Sheckler moved to Sequim in December 2018.

He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years and worked primarily in the banking and mortgage industry before being elected to the City of Des Moines (Wash.) city council in 1996. He served as mayor from 2004-2011.

Sheckler wrote in his application that seeking a seat on Sequim’s City Council is “a natural thing for me to do, as evidenced over the last 25 years of public service.”

He added, “I work very well with other elected officials and have made friends with many on both sides of the political fence … (and) I bring a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to the table.”

Sheckler said his priority is assisting the city with its growth.

“Economic Development is essential to any city’s future,” he wrote.

“The key is to find the perfect balance between what the citizens want and what they need. Oftentimes, this can cause conflict between the citizens and their elected leaders. It has been my experience, however, that many, if not all, of these conflicts resolve themselves over time.”

For more information about the upcoming Sequim City Council meeting, call 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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