If the Langley residents want to keep Mayor Tim Callison around for four more years, he’s more than willing to comply.
“If they will have me, I would be honored to be mayor for another term,” Callison said during an interview. “It has truly been my honor to serve the citizens of Langley.”
Island County candidate filing week is May 13-17. The primary election is Aug. 6 and general election is Nov. 5.
Other South Whidbey elected officials who plan to seek another term are Langley City Councilman Bruce Allen and Linda Racicot, chairwoman of the South Whidbey School District board of directors.
Langley Councilwoman Ursula Shoudy isn’t seeking another term, nor is Shawn Nowlin seeking reelection to the South Whidbey district school board. School board member Damian Greene said he is “90 percent sure” he’s not running.
In addition, a seat on the Port of South Whidbey board, a South Whidbey Fire / EMS position and two seats on the South Whidbey Park and Recreation board will be on the ballot.
Callison, elected in 2015, said he enjoys leading the Village by the Sea for the parades, street dances and many other festive local events. He’s known for putting on a white tuxedo with an ever-changing mix of colorful cummerbunds and other accessories during special events.
People top the list as Callison’s favorite aspects of the job.
“The breadth and depth of the talent and experience of my fellow Langley residents, and their willingness to commit to efforts to improve our city constantly amaze me,” Callison said.
His first term was marked with numerous controversies, including serious allegations against an over-zealous police chief.
Last summer, angry residents poured forth with complaints about David Marks, Langley’s police chief who’d been accused of excessive force when arresting a suspect. Callison ultimately sacked Marks who appealed, resulting in an official “resigned” status and one year’s worth of salary.
“The biggest challenge I have had is keeping the community feeling united, despite of the divisiveness at the national level,” Callison said.
Of the two positions up for re-election on the Langley City Council, Bruce Allen said he will seek another term while Ursula Shoudy has decided not to run.
“I’m not running because of the schedule of my work and the schedule of city council meetings,” said Shoudy, manager of the Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club. “It’s a lot of meetings so between those meetings and my work schedule I get maybe two days off a month. It’s just getting to be too much.”
Shoudy called her first foray as an elected official positive.
“I have a passion for the town,” she said. “I learned very quickly about politics, but it was different than what I’d expected. I wouldn’t have traded the experience, though.”
While South Whidbey’s public schools have been the subject of heated community meetings the past two weeks with accusations that the district has failed to properly educate and protect students, Nowlin said the recent controversy isn’t why she’s decided not to seek re-election after one term.
“If anything, I would be enticed to stay to participate in the ongoing energy that has risen up recently,” Nowlin wrote in an email.
Nowlin, who has been involved as a volunteer in the schools for many years, said small town politics grow large in the age of the internet.
“In our social media world of instant viral communication, the emotions often get too far ahead of the facts.”
“This is particularly true in a small community,” Nowlin said. “I have tried to be a better listener so I can really understand what is being told to me or asked of me as a school board director.”
Nowlin said she planned to continue community advocacy through other avenues.