As candidates begin their campaigns for the upcoming August primary and November general elections, three Lynnwood City Council hopefuls have united on a mission to lead the city into what they view as a more inclusive future.
With the goal of securing two council seats, candidates Ashkahn Amouzegar, Naz Lashgari and Nick Coelho have decided to run a slate campaign — meaning they will campaign on a common platform and support each other during the election season.
Amouzegar and Lashgari are both running for the Position 4 council seat, which is currently held by Shirley Sutton, who is running for Position 7. The two will face off against each other and four other candidates in the Aug. 6 primary election. Coelho is running in a two-way race for Position 6 against incumbent George Hurst in the Nov. 5 general election.
Shortly after deciding to run for council, the candidates decided to band together because their goals for Lynnwood were so similar.
“Allies in the community brought us together and said we should talk together,” Coelho said.
Amouzegar said after their first meeting, the candidates had a very clear idea of what they wanted for the city’s future. This led to the creation of their shared vision for the city, which they have named “Lynnwood Forward.” The vision has since become their campaign’s brand and it is a symbol for the city’s continued progress.
“It’s like riding a wave,” Lashgari said. “It’s very important that we continue on that momentum.”
As part of their “Lynnwood Forward” vision, Amouzegar said the candidates will support Mayor Nicola Smith’s 2018-22 Strategic Plan, be forward thinking, embrace smart planning, make inclusiveness a priority and prepare the city for developments like the coming Sound Transit light rail station.
“One thing the city needs to do to ease the anxiety around light rail and the changes that are coming is a public awareness and public education campaign,” he said.
Together, the three candidates are also hoping to bring more diversity and representation to the predominantly white city council dais. As Iranian-Americans, Amouzegar and Lashgari are hoping to fill that void.
“We’re here to move forward and be there for the new era,” Amouzegar said. “Lynnwood’s demographic is changing. We need to have broader representation.”
As both Amouzegar and Lashgari serve on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, they are hoping to make the city more than racially inclusive. Lashgari added they want to make Lynnwood more inclusive for everyone — from members of the LGBTQ community to single mothers providing for a family.
“It’s very important to make sure we have a group of leaders who want to work together to take us forward as to where we’re going with our city,” Lashgari said.
Though the candidates are hoping to make progress if elected to the council, Amouzegar said each of them is appreciative of the work of past and present councilmembers that have moved the city forward.
“I am grateful for the work they have done and that they have contributed,” he said. “They were the pioneers.”
While the candidates might not always agree on each other’s policies, Coelho said it is more important that they share a common goal.
“When you agree on the goal, everything else is just a technical challenge and those things can be worked out,” he said. “And that’s the thing that’s important for a functioning city council.”
–Story and photo by Cody Sexton