Port Townsend councilman/former mayor decides not to run again

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — After 10 years on the City Council, Mark Welch, a former mayor, is bowing out.

Welch, 64, has decided not to seek another four-year term on the Port Townsend City Council.

“After much thought and discussion with my family and friends, I have decided not to seek another term in office,” Welch said in an email.

“While it has been my pleasure and honor to serve, I feel that it's time for me to move on, and find other ways of contributing to my community.”

Pamela Adams, who ran for the council in 2011 but was disqualified because she did not meet residency requirements, said Wednesday morning that she plans to run for Welch's seat.

Adams, who previously said she would not challenge an incumbent council member, said Welch gave her advance notice of his intentions.

She filed Wednesday.

Welch is the last of three City Council incumbents up for re-election this year to announce his intentions.

Michelle Sandoval and Catharine Robinson both filed Monday for additional terms.

Like Welch, Sandoval and Robinson are former mayors.

Welch was appointed to serve on the council from 1997 to 2000 under the strong mayor system of government.

In the November 2005 general election, he upset incumbent Councilman Kees Kolff and served as mayor from 2006 to 2008.

Since then, he has worked as a councilman.

Before serving on the council, he was on the city Planning Commission and Parks Commission. He has taught media studies at Port Townsend High School since 2000.

“It's been a learning experience for me,” he said of his time on the council.

“As long as good people continue to become involved in government, the system will continue to work.

“There will always be a tension and discussion between people in government, but I've never met anyone who didn't want the best for their community, even if I haven't agreed with their point of view.”

Welch has local politics in his blood: His great-grandfather, Charles Eisenbeis, was Port Townsend's first mayor.

Welch said he will focus his efforts on his teaching job and work toward improving the school's media program before retiring.

“We are fortunate in our city to be rich in human resources, and there are many thoughtful, dedicated people who can and will step forward to offer their service to our city government,” Welch said.

“Local government remains the last government we can touch. It's vital that we each be involved in our own way.”

Other candidate filings Wednesday were:

-- Port Townsend School Board President Jennifer James-Wilson filed for a second four-year term and will be opposed by Rita Beebe-Caldwell for the District 2 seat.

-- Gary Rae filed for District 2 on the Quilcene School Board, a four-year term.

-- Gary Phillips filed for Position 2 on the Quilcene Fire District Board to fill an unexpired two-year term.

-- Three candidates filed for the Coyle-Thorndyke Park and Recreation District.

Dennis Schmitt, Position 2, and Larry Robinson, Position 3, are seeking four-year terms while Cathy Bohman, Position 4, is running to fill a two-year unexpired term.

-- Nikki Hay filed for Position 2 on the West (Forks) Jefferson County Hospital District, a six-year term.

Fourteen candidates filed Monday. Eight filed Tuesday.

The declaration of candidacy can be filed in person at the county elections office in the basement of the county courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St. in Port Townsend, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day.

It also can be filed by printing out a declaration, available at a Jefferson County website devoted solely to aspiring candidates at http://tinyurl.com/coqejgx, and by mailing a completed declaration to the elections office at P.O. Box 563, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Mailed declarations must be received by Friday.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 16. 2013 8:13AM
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