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LaConner mayor seeks Barlean’s seat in Legislature

Eron M. Berg, the mayor of LaConner, has announced he will run for state representative from the 10th District.

Berg, a Democrat, is seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Kelly Barlean of Langley. Barlean is campaigning for his party’s nomination to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Democrat Rick Larsen.

On a visit to South Whidbey Oak Harbor last week, Berg said he was undeterred by the state’s recent financial difficulties, and the prospect of starting next year with a big budget deficit. He is also undaunted by the competition, Oak Harbor’s Barbara Bailey.

“I see it as an open seat,” Berg, 27, said of of the upcoming race. He criticized the state budget approved just last week. “You shouldn’t adopt a budget or pass laws that are not sustainable,” he said.

Berg is an attorney with an entrepreneurial background. At the age of 15 he started an espresso business in LaConner and soon added two branches.

He used the proceeds to pay for college at Western Washington University, where he earned a BS and MS. He went on to earn his law degree at the University of Washington.

Berg is married to Shasta Marine, a second grade teacher in LaConner. He served the city on the planning commissioner and as an elected council member before being elected mayor in 1999.

With his background in local government, Berg is sympathetic to the needs of cities and counties.

“Towns and counties need more help,” he said. If elected to the House, “I would support local government; they’re the entities that actually deliver the services ... the state has turned a blind eye to us recently.”

As mayor of LaConner, the Skagit County tourist town on the Swinomish River, Berg takes credit for helping build a new fire station and enhancing streets, lighting and stormwater drainage.

Berg is chairman of the Skagit Council of Government and Skagit Regional Transportation Policy Organization, among other endeavors.

In his run for the state House, Berg said he will emphasize the need for leadership on the “key issues” of transportation, education and the economy.

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