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Luke Distelhorst wins council seat on 44th vote


Last updated 1/30/2020 at 7:32am

Luke Distelhorst

Zachary Bauder, student representative on the Edmonds City Council, got in his 10,000 steps Tuesday night, ferrying nomination and ballot slips

back and forth between the city clerk and councilmembers en route to electing Luke Distelhorst to the council's open Position 2 seat.

It took five rounds of nominations and 44 ballots before the council could muster four votes for Distelhorst, who was a dark horse not even in the running until the 35th ballot.

He will fill the remaining two years of the seat left vacant after former Councilmember Mike Nelson defeated fellow Councilmember Neil Tibbott to succeed Dave Earling as mayor.

Distelhorst, 35, is the youngest member of the seven-member council, and was formerly president o the Friends of the Ed-

monds Library board. He is a communications specialist with Community Transit.

On Wednesday, Distelhorst said he had several priorities he hoped to address, including increasing equity and public engagement with

more residents in the city throughout the council's planning and approval process.

"If we can remove barriers to better involve our residents, I think that would be beneficial across the range of issues our city is facing."

In addition, Distelhorst will be working on comprehensive planning for growth.

"In addition to supporting the Citizen's Housing Commission, I'll be looking at our residents' needs in

terms of mobility and transportation, safety, and the environment."

Twelve citizens applied for the open seat, and during the lengthy process 10 of them were nominated. Several of them, including Alicia Crank, Matt Cheung, Lora Petso and Nathan Monroe, garnered up to three votes at times, but couldn't win the necessary fourth vote.

Crank, in fact, was an early favorite with three councilmembers – Susan Paine, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Laura Johnson – determinedly stick- ing with her through repeated ballots, while the other three councilmembers more fluidly moved their votes among other candidates.

Petso, a former councilmember, also received up to three votes, but a win for her would likely have created a rift on the council. The first time Petso was nominated – on the 19th ballot – Coun- cilmember Diane Buckshnis cited an audit report, and charged that Petso had cost the city $5 million during her previous stint on the council.

Fraley-Monillas, who nominated Petso, disputed that charge, but the die was cast, and Petso couldn't garner a fourth vote.

In the end, councilmembers praised the quality of the applicants, and urged them to stay involved.

Lauding the candidates who stayed in the chambers to the end of the lengthy process, Fraley-Monillas said, "You guys really are rock stars. Each and every one of you are really good people."

That may be why the council finally was able to agree on Distelhorst. A relative newcomer to the community, he hasn't had time to make enemies.

Distelhorst moved to Edmonds six years ago, and now lives with his wife Ariunna and daughter Lily in a house near Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Distelhorst's father, Jim Distelhorst, is a commissioner with the Verdant Health Commission, which is based in Lynnwood and provides services to surrounding communities, including Edmonds.


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