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Early surprise in council race

LANGLEY — The race for Langley City Council is on, and the big surprise so far is the man who earlier announced plans to walk away from city hall. It seems Mayor Neil Colburn doesn’t want to wander very far.

Colburn said last year he wouldn’t seek another term as mayor, but Colburn said he now plans to seek a seat on the city council.

Three seats are up for grabs this fall. Currently, those positions are held by longtime councilman Jim Recupero and newcomers Bob Waterman and Paul Samuelson, who were both appointed last summer after Faith Bushby and Doug Allerdice resigned.

“I plan on running for a council seat,” Colburn said.

Colburn is likely to run for Paul Samuelson’s position. Samuelson recently announced he would run for mayor and not the city council this November.

As someone who has served on the city council for 14 years, and as the mayor the past four, Colburn said he has learned the ins and outs of Langley government.

“I’d hate to waste all that experience,” he added.

Yet, he also hinted of a laid-back approach to this campaign.

“I wouldn’t be heartbroken if a qualified person decides he really wants to do it,” Colburn said.

Recupero plans to run again as well. He has been on the city council for seven years and has also served on the Langley Planning Advisory Board.

Recupero has been involved with projects such as The Grove development, Fairgrounds Road and the marina in recent years, and he said age and experience are positive attributes he will bring back to the council if elected.

“I am just trying to excercise common sense in all situations,” he said.

Waterman said he will run to retain his council seat. He is also the chairman of the transportation committee for the comprehensive plan update and was the co-chairman of the Imagine Langley project.

Waterman is also involved in

the South Whidbey Historical Society, among other activities.

During his time on the council, Waterman has stood out through his support of efforts to push historic preservation in Langley forward.

Another potential council candidate is Herb Helsel, a small business owner in Langley.

Helsel said last week that he is considering a run for office, but wasn’t ready to make a formal announcement yet.

Helsel owns Langley Clock & Gallery, and has also served the city on its Planning Advisory Board. Most recently, Helsel was part of the negotiating team that worked out the contract between the city of Langley and the Port of South Whidbey transfering ownership of the city’s marina to the port.

Helsel applied to be appointed to the council last summer, but Waterman and Samuelson snagged the open spots.

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