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Poulsbo council newcomers seen as 'visionary' leaders

POULSBO — The Poulsbo City Council can officially welcome two new members to the ranks of civic leadership with the last of the ballots counted and election results finalized.

Linda Berry-Maraist unseated two-term incumbent Mike Regis, who’s work with the city stems from the 1970s, with nearly 57 percent of the vote in the battle for Position 1. Becky Erickson extinguished two-term incumbent Jim Henry’s hopes for a third round in Position 3 with 61 percent of voters’ approval.

Elected to her third term, Connie Lord will continue serving in Position 2, beating out opponent Joseph Price with nearly 70 percent of votes. Position 4 incumbent Jeff McGinty ran unchallenged, and was reelected with close to 96 percent of votes.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the change in council dynamics with the additions of Berry-Maraist and Erickson should prove interesting, and she’s excited to see what the group will accomplish.

“I’m looking forward to working with the newly-elected,” she said. “It’s going to be a busy year.”

She expressed great appreciation for the work conducted by Regis and Henry, and said of Henry’s connections with area tribes that she hopes the city can continue to benefit from what he’s established. The transportation baton long carried by Henry is a facet she doesn’t yet know who will take over.

Councilwoman Kim Crowder said she looks forward to working with the council’s newest elects, but also hopes to see Regis and Henry continue in their involvement, as their contributions have been valuable ones.

“We are losing a lot of knowledge with Mike leaving, but we’re gaining somebody that’s really excited about the future,” she said, adding of Henry’s relationship with the tribes and transportation agencies, “He built bridges to different areas. I’m hoping we don’t lose that.”

She said she feels positively about both Berry-Mariast’s and Erickson’s instrumental interests in moving the city ahead of its own development, a focus the council has centered on in the last few years.

“Definitely there’s a loss,” she said. “But there’s an energy coming with Linda and Becky... They’re hardworking. For that I think it will be great.”

Councilman Ed Stern said the voters’ choices sent clear communication to the council, and he believes both Berry-Maraist and Erickson will be “proactive” as the council works to map out the direction, scope and costs of growth.

“It’s a message from the voters about attending to growth as the top priority in Poulsbo over and above transportation, over and above simple infrastructure,” he said. “It has to do with the big picture of growth... This is going to accelerate that level of thinking.”

Councilman Dale Rudolph agreed, and said the resumes of qualifications and prior work brought by both new electorates packed a punch.

“They both brought some credentials to the table and then they worked very hard during the election and that’s a powerful combination,” he said. “When you put those two things together, that really says a lot.”

Rudolph said he’s worked with Berry-Maraist and Erickson throughout the city’s process of redeveloping the Critical Areas Ordinance and Planned Residential Development codes, during which he was impressed by the efforts of each.

“There’s going to be more of us that are investing in land use in a proactive way,” he said. “We’re going to see a lot more energy going into that I am confident.”

Rudolph said Regis’ knowledge of Poulsbo’s history from both working for the city and being a longtime council member will be a loss.

“With Mike we lose a lot of corporate knowledge particularly in the planning arena,” he said.

Henry’s enthusiasm and dedication to transportation issues, too, may vacate with the exiting councilman.

“He was working specifically on passenger ferries coming into Poulsbo and Lev-X and I seriously doubt if anybody’s going to pick up that mantle,” he said.

When it comes to the council’s new dynamic, Rudolph said he anticipates the January process of seeing how all the pieces fit together to form the new team.

“I’m sad to see the two guys go, but I’m delighted with the quality of the replacements,” he said. “Losing two incumbents, it looks kind of dramatic but I just think it’s the quality of the opponents that allowed them to win. I think it was very positive and very clean because people ran on their merits and their efforts... It’s really one of the best elections I’ve seen with quality on both sides. Good people stepped up and that’s good for Poulsbo.”

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