Serving the hopes and wishes of citizens, improving affordable housing and supporting economic vitality are among the common threads for the candidates in the race for position 1 on the Langley City Council.
On the ballot this year are Burt Beusch and Christy Korrow.
Beusch, a 61-year-old retired Langley resident who spent most of his career in senior level operations positions in the commercial office furniture industry, currently holds the seat. He was appointed to position 1 in June following Rene Neff’s resignation, which was also sought by Korrow and Langley resident Frank Rose. Beusch, a full-time resident of Langley for the past two and a half years, said he’s pursuing a four-year term so he can help guide Langley toward economic vibrancy while “protecting the charm” of the city.
“I really do care about the City of Langley and I really feel like I can make an impact on the future decisions of the city,” Beusch said. “I’m in a position now where I’ve got the time to do that and I think it’s a pretty great opportunity to demonstrate civil service that I haven’t been able to do in the past.”
If elected, Beusch’s major focuses will be supporting the city’s economic health, continuing to grow the tourism economy, improving affordable housing options through a “common sense” approach and encouraging the arts. He said his career required him to demonstrate leadership on a daily basis and solve “considerable problems” in a timely fashion. He found that listening to his customers was critical to his work, which he feels directly correlates to how he would operate as an elected city councilman.
“In our role as a city council, I think we have a priority to listen to the people and listen to the business owners and listen to the visitors and sort of collectively shape what that vision is going to be,” Beusch said.
Beusch, who is also a member of the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club, is currently the council’s liaison for the Cemetery Board, Langley Arts Commission and Planning Advisory Board. He said his experience being on the council over the past five months has been invaluable and will be an advantage if elected.
Korrow, 50, has been a Langley resident for the past seven years. She’s held a few different careers as a magazine editor, rights and permissions manager for a book publishing company, while she is now an elderly caregiver.
Her goals, if elected, will be to improve housing affordability and address challenges in the community from opioid use to climate change. She also wants to see the continued growth of business vitality and of arts in the city.
Korrow said she has a history of civic engagement through her work on the city’s Planning Advisory Board and as a co-founder of Upper Langley, an affordable housing community “within the context of city limits.” She has been chairwoman of the planning advisory board for the past two years, a group that serves as the council’s primary resource for initiating, researching, reviewing and recommending action on land use activities and legislative work. She’s had plenty of time to sift through legal documents as part of her role on the planning board, while she’s also gained insight to what things need to be done to make housing in Langley more affordable through her work with Upper Langley.
“One of my strongest areas of experience is in housing,” Korrow said. “Part of that was four years of navigating the nuts and bolts of the subdivision codes and all the diplomacy is takes to move a development forward in the city.”
She said one of the biggest responsibilities of being a city council member is being able to “listen with an open mind.” She said that while the position is nonpartisan, it involves a democratic process that won’t always make everyone happy.
Both candidates were asked whether or not they support President Donald Trump. In a written response, Beusch wrote, “As an American, I feel it is my responsibility to support the President of our country. However, it is a challenge to support the current administration’s decisions and performance.”
Korrow emphatically answered, “No.”
Korrow and Beusch were unified in their support for the inclusive city resolution passed by the city council in March. Beusch said the resolution was a “huge win” for the city and a “good response,” while Korrow said it was important that progress was made despite it being a “polarizing” discussion.
Neither ventured to say whether or not they would vote for a sanctuary city ordinance. They both said they would rather wait to hear from their constituents and speak with the city’s police chief and other stakeholders before determining their vote.
Both candidates also offered their support for efforts being made to make the city more lively, such as the nighttime music events at The Machine Shop, with the caveat being that they’d like to keep the public in the loop about its happenings.
There are two other city council races this year.
Incumbent Thomas Gill is seeking reelection for position 5 and is being challenged by Peter Morton, a newcomer to politics. City Councilwoman Dominique Emerson is squaring off against Bill Nesbeitt for position 2.