By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
With the coming of 2018, the Washington City Council will have a whole new look and the people who hope to make up the new council will face off during a candidate forum Thursday in the United Presbyterian Church?s fellowship hall.
From 6 to 8 p.m. the candidates for seats on the council will respond to questions, both from longtime moderator Ed Raber and submitted questions from the audience. The public is invited to attend the event. One-term council member Jaron Rosien has announced his intention to run for mayor of Washington. Pete Schaefer has also filed a petition to run for mayor. Current Mayor Sandra Johnson has also announced she does not wish to seek the position again. Three candidates will face off for Rosien?s Ward 4 seat. Bob Gaal, Chris Gault, and Fran Stigers have all submitted papers to seek the office. At-large council member Kathryn Salazar has also announced she doesn?t plan to return to the council next year. Elaine Moore and Evie Richardson have both filed to run for the office. Council member Steve Gault, who won his Ward 2 seat in a special election after former council member Russ Zieglowsky resigned, has filed to run for re-election.
?We?re pleased that there are so many candidates who have stepped forward to run for office,? Raber said. ?This particular election cycle there are not very many incumbents. The only incumbent, Steve Gault, is running unopposed. All the other races have contested races. That will hopefully lead to a healthy exchange.?
The Washington Chamber of Commerce hosts the candidate forums.
Raber said every person in Washington would be able to vote for the mayor and the at-large seat. The election will be Nov. 7.
?Washington residents should watch the comments that have been in The Journal so far from the candidates and the side-by-side discussions that we have at the candidate forum,? Raber said. ?That should help the people of Washington choose their next round of council leaders.?
Washington County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Daniel L. Widmer is reminding eligible voters who want to vote in the Primary Election in Washington County and who are not yet registered that they should consider registering before the deadline for preregistration. Iowa law allows eligible people to register to vote and to cast a ballot on Election Day if they are able to provide proof of both their identity and residency at their polling place; however, Widmer points out that with the convenience of being able to register and vote at the polls on the same day comes potential confusion and check-in backlog. To avoid delays caused by filling out registration paperwork at the polling places, Widmer suggests that eligible voters make every attempt to register with the Auditor?s Office before the close of preregistration.