Brad Shipley: ‘I'm also not a politician. I’m doing this for the first time’

Edmonds mayoral candidate emphasizes importance of looking toward the future
By Cheryl Aarnio | Jul 01, 2019
Photo by: Cheryl Aarnio Brad Shipley kicked off his campaign to be Edmonds’ next mayor June 28 at City Park.

At Brad Shipley’s campaign cookout complete with a campfire, hot dogs, and s’mores at Edmonds City Park last Friday, supporters and community members had a chance to meet the fourth mayoral candidate.

His wife, Ranya Khalil, introduced him as someone whose grassroots campaign does not have any “political machines” supporting him, instead relying on friends and volunteers.

“I'm also not a politician,” said Shipley, a City of Edmonds planner who grew up in Riverside, California. He will face Mike Nelson, Neil Tibbott and Kristiana Johnson in the primary Aug. 6.

“I'm doing this for the first time.

“I entered this race to help shape the conversation and offer a different perspective than what we've been offered. As a planner, I know what kind of challenges citizens are facing, and I talk to citizens each day.”

Shipley, 41, has been with the City for five years and, as a planner, said he’s seen how today’s policies will affect citizens in the future.

“I think a lot of the politics today – we're looking at what is happening immediately in front of us and not looking 10, 15 years down the road of what that actually means.”

Transportation will be changing in the coming years with “micromobility” – other ways to get around, he said – and self-driving cars.

“While all that's being done, we also can't lose track of the fact that we need to build spaces for people to walk and ride bikes, and make sure it's designed for all ages, all users.”

While new housing is being added to the outskirts of Edmonds, it is important to consider how people will get around town without their vehicles, Shipley said.

With transportation comes parking issues, and people want more parking, but that also brings an increase in cars and the question of whether that is what citizens want for downtown.

“I don't think that we need to be building parking at $50,000 per stall for a structure that may not be used in 10 years,” said Shipley, “so we need to make smart choices around that.”

Shipley cites housing as another challenge.

Some seniors are unable to afford housing, but they also may not be able to keep their same quality of life if they move. It is not only seniors, but also younger people who may not be able to afford housing.

Shipley said he wants to address this issue.

The mayoral candidate also spoke of improving the local government’s communication with its citizens. Some people do not feel that the government listens to them, he said.

“We need to standardize how we get communications out and have something that people can expect.”

Shipley said that someone in charge of centralized communications would help in that area. (Editor’s note: The City does have a part-time communications adviser, Carolyn Douglas.) It might also be possible to use a room in City Hall to display the city’s current projects so anyone could go in and see what is happening while being able to talk to a communications specialist there.

With the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector – which city councilmembers recently decided not to go forward with – it would have been beneficial for citizens to have been more involved earlier in the process of it.

“We just need to rethink how we're engaging them.”

For instance, an open house on a Tuesday evening might not be a very easy thing for people to attend, as they might be busy.

Often, the government will make recommendations, and citizens comment on those recommendations.

“The community just feels like they're left out if they're not the ones helping make those recommendations,” said Shipley.

“What I don't like is when we say, ‘Oh, we've done all these things, and we've checked the boxes, and you guys still didn't hear about it. It's not our fault.’ I think we need to change that thought, and it is our fault if it's not known. We need to do a better job of it.”

Anyone should feel like they can share their concerns with him because he thinks that is an important way to learn and evolve, he said.

“If you feel that there's a problem with a project, then it should be heard.”

Shipley’s campaign website is shipleyformayor.com.

 

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