McCarthy offers robust economy for Langley

Fred McCarthy, not even a year into his appointed office, is running unopposed to lead Langley as mayor.

Election signs dot Langley’s streets and yards, a simple green and white board with “Fred McCarthy” on them. Even though he has no challengers, despite being one of five men to seek appointment by the city council in February, McCarthy said he’s campaigning and doorbelling because the office matters to him.

“I take this job very seriously and I care about this city,” he said.

McCarthy, a retired South Whidbey School District superintendent, set a three-item platform. At the top is diversifying Langley’s economic growth, followed by creating an approachable and responsive government, and planning capital improvements.

One way McCarthy would like to make South Whidbey’s only city more versatile in its businesses is by bringing a mix of middle and high-income, younger employees to Langley. As mayor, he said he would look at city-based incentives that could attract those types to the city. He also noted that inviting “knowledge workers,” people who typically work from home on a contract basis, to locations in the city could boost business in the Village by the Sea.

“That would provide a more stable economic base,” McCarthy said.

Creation of a light industrial zone, long a topic of discussion and interest in Langley, was another facet of his economic plan. While plans for such an area outside the downtown core are in the works, McCarthy envisioned one in the heart of Langley. He said possibly turning a place like Callahan’s Firehouse, used as a blown-glass boutique and workspace, could be an ideal location for metalwork and industrial artists.

Turning Langley City Hall into an approachable and responsive government has been underway since the city council appointed McCarthy in February. An example of this is his plan to track job growth and loss to the point where “City Hall knows if a restaurant worker is hired.”


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