In typical Langley style, the races for mayoral and council seats have been very civil, at least in public. It’s heartening that the small, tight-knit Village by the Sea doesn’t let local politics tear it asunder.
The problem is that all that politeness can make it difficult for voters to parse the differences between candidates. That’s why endorsements are especially important and why the candidates have been energetically gathering them.
In the race for mayor, the difference between the candidates is a matter of experience. Thomas Gill is near the end of his second term on the city council. Kennedy Horstman has been the chairperson of the city’s citizen-led Dismantling Systemic Racism Commission since 2020. They both work in fields that require technical expertise.
Gill has been an informed and valuable member of the council, sometimes offering divergent opinions. He has run for mayor previously and threw his hat into the ring to be appointed more than once. His time has come. As Councilmember Harolynne Bobis said in endorsing him, the city needs a tested official who doesn’t have the challenge of a learning curve to contend with.
Gill has a commonsense, straightforward style and the drive to get down to business.
The closest thing to acrimony in the Langley municipal races has been for Position 4 on the council. The city’s appointed mayor, Scott Chaplin, decided he would rather be on the council and ran against Councilmember Craig Cyr, who has occasionally been critical of the mayor. Most recently, Cyr was steamed that Chaplin tried to remove a resident as chairperson of a city committee.
While Chaplin’s time as mayor gives him a unique perspective, Cyr has earned another term in the seat. He delivered on his campaign promise to ban fireworks in city limits and has been working to convince county commissioners to follow suit. He’s smart, progressive and community-minded. He represents Langley well.
In the race for Position 3, Chris Carlson is facing Kay Kenneweg, who is running for council for the second time. She has a background in public health and education and has become a strong advocate for affordable housing.
Carlson, however, would be a valuable asset to the council. He’s a member of the Civil Service Commission and the new Finance and Personnel Legislative Commission, which formed last year in response to growing concerns about city bookkeeping. Hopefully he will use his knowledge to help keep the city out of the red and on track.