Q&A: 5 Kent City Council candidates on primary ballot

Five candidates in same race to advance to general election with one of two top spots

John Boyd, Kelly Wiggans-Crawford, Cody T. Clark and Jamie Lee.

John Boyd, Kelly Wiggans-Crawford, Cody T. Clark and Jamie Lee.

Five candidates are on the Tuesday, Aug. 1 primary ballot for the Kent City Council position to replace Les Thomas, who decided not to seek reelection.

The Kent News emailed a Q&A to the five candidates with the same three questions and gave them a week to return it. They were asked to limit their answers to each question to 200 words.

John Boyd is a retired lead quality inspector from Boeing; Cody T. Clark is a construction inspector; Michael Ferguson is a financial manager at Interior Logic Group; Jamie Lee is the owner of All Aglow Spa in downtown Kent; and Kelly Wiggans-Crawford is a certified paralegal.

All but Ferguson answered the Q&A.

“I appreciate the offer and the work that you and your newspaper are doing,” Ferguson said in an email. “At this time though, I wish to provide no comment.”

The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the Nov. 7 general election. King County Elections mailed ballots last week.

Why should voters choose you?

John Boyd

My wife and I moved to Kent 27 years ago and it is the place where we chose to live and raise our family. I love our city and I want to make it the best place to live.

I want voters to know that I will do everything to make Kent a wonderful city to live in. I am committed to safeguarding and protecting Kent’s residents from crime and promise to help our fellow citizens who need help to overcome drug and alcohol problems.

Other elected officials and organizations who have looked at the candidates in this race are overwhelmingly supporting me. I have been endorsed by all six of our state legislators - Sens. (Karen) Keiser and (Claudia) Kauffman; and Reps. (Tina) Orwall, (Mia) Gregerson, (Debra) Entenman and (Chris) Stearns.

My campaign is also supported by two groups supporting gun safety - The Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Mom’s Demand Action - because of my commitment to stop needless killings in our community. I am also supported by unions representing Boeing machinists and many other professions.

Finally, I would like to see more citizens get excited about voting again. Democracy is important and I want everyone in Kent to participate.

Cody T. Clark

Voters should vote for me because I’ll bring a decade of invaluable local government experience to Kent City Council position 3. With expertise in plan review, contract interpretation, project management, budgeting, and communication, I possess the essential skills necessary to serve our Kent residents effectively.

My sole focus is on achieving the best for our city, free from personal agendas. I am committed to being transparent in my actions and responsive to the needs and concerns voiced by residents. Throughout my campaign, I have self-funded all efforts, avoiding financial contributions from external sources.

I believe in being accountable to the residents and acting on their priorities. I don’t want to be the change, I want to lead the change, let’s be the change together.

Jamie Lee

You are tired of what’s been harming our community and ready for a hands-on, proactive and solution-based approach to face and conquer our communities challenges. True democracy means placing individual neighbors over special interests. By rejecting endorsements or financial contributions from any group during my campaign, I am saying “yes” to the will of the people I represent. There is too much at stake in our city to risk voting for a candidate who only plays the role for a party or group regardless of outcome.

As a business owner and Kent Downtown Partnership board member, I place a high value in hearing ideas and solutions from everyone. Hearing from small business owners, residents, and our social services and first responders, I have had a deep first-hand experience in the areas we do well and where we fall short. Representing you with consideration will create the best city we can be. Safe. Strong. Thriving. My ability to listen, then take definitive action, make me a council member that can bring the right people together for pressing problems to be solved. This means solving the addiction and homeless issues with empowerment, not enablement.

My two middle school boys and I have built our lives here. I hope to see them be able to choose to raise families here, and that there is a city worthy of that by then. Let’s bring back safety, community, and revive our downtown and tourism. I long to live in a Kent that sets the pace for other towns to follow, and I know how to get there. Common sense needs a comeback. Let’s get to work.

Kelly Wiggans-Crawford

I genuinely care about my fellow community members and want to see Kent continue to grow in a positive direction and be an advocate for all my neighbors. I think we need more “rational” people in leadership roles to make the decisions for issues that impact us on a daily basis. I’m solutions driven and believe problems should be solved with practical answers. I’m not a politician, but have a varied work history, knowledge of the community, and keen interest in solving problems which gives me a unique perspective to think outside the box when necessary.

I’ve faced adversity, and deeply understand the day-to-day struggles many of us confront. I was raised by an alcoholic, my husband is 15 years sober, and I have lost friends to drug addiction. I am compassionate while knowing firsthand what addiction does to families and children, as well as the addicts themselves.

Lastly, the pandemic took my job; so, like many others, I decided to start a new career path. I have never let adversity derail me but choose to confront it head-on and not let anything hold me back. I will use my “don’t quit” attitude to help Kent grow into the future.

• What is the top issue you plan to take on and how would you try to resolve it?

John Boyd

I think our biggest problems are homelessness, home affordability and drug and alcohol abuse.

Studies have shown that it is much cheaper to keep people in their homes and apartments than trying to house them once they become homeless. Too many of our neighbor’s live paycheck to paycheck and even small things like helping with rent if a family has a medical emergency or has been laid off can make a big difference.

As a trained substance abuse counselor, I know we must do a better job treating those with substance abuse and alcohol problems that lead to crime and homelessness. I am committed to doing more to help our fellow citizens to help them get treatment because treatment is cheaper than jail.

I believe Kent needs to create a professional team dedicated to helping our fellow neighbors stay in their homes and getting treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems. Because we have many seniors living on fixed incomes, I think it’s important this team reach out to seniors too so they can continue to live in Kent.

Cody T. Clark

Addressing the top issues that concern our residents is a priority for me as a council member. While I don’t come with a pre-set agenda, I’ve actively listened to our community, and key concerns such as homelessness, the drug crisis, mental health, battery storage near Mattson Middle School, and road maintenance have been brought to my attention.

Rest assured, I am committed to thorough research and finding the best possible solutions for each challenge. Though some issues may require time to resolve completely, I am dedicated to taking significant steps in the right direction. My focus remains on benefiting our residents and strengthening our community through effective and thoughtful actions.

Jamie Lee

The addiction crisis is something we must act on. Vote for someone who has experience and knowledge on the subject. A close family member’s addiction affected my children’s lives and mine considerably years ago. I dove into the recovery community, forged connections with top leaders, and became one. I spent thousands of hours working with hundreds of families as a program director for Celebrate Recovery.

I will be assembling a team of those in my network and partner them with our first responders. With finances waiting untapped at county level, we can address this public health crisis. Our rising crime has coincided with these problems, and have affected the safety of our city considerably.

As a lifelong resident and mother, I will never get used to it. It is unacceptable that everything from car theft to homicide rates are rising rampant, we have open drug use like we have never seen. Our small businesses need help. I have had my sleeves rolled up for years on these issues, and they will stay there as your council member. I’ll be dedicated to connecting those ready to get to work creating lasting and financially responsible solutions that help all of us.

Whether I support our first responders and our mayor on trips to Olympia advocating for more state support, or in my duties as council, I will support giving them more relief and funding for new programs for safety.

Let’s inspire other cities in our state with a dramatic turnaround on crime, addiction, and homelessness. Kent can be safer and healthier now and in the future.

Kelly Wiggans-Crawford

Obviously, homelessness is at the top of most people’s list followed by public safety. We need to look at what is actually working in other communities and implement sound solutions. I have been attending the City Council meetings for almost a year to better educate myself on how issues are addressed and resolved.

Also, to have a better understanding of the crisis, I have reviewed several studies addressing homelessness and spoken with community leaders who advocate for our unhoused population. Through these conversations, I have developed a better understanding of what it will take to address the homeless crisis. We need to funnel money into programs that have proven to work.

This is a crisis being confronted by every city in the country and some cities are having moderate success at assisting the homeless in their communities. I would like to investigate if their approaches would work for our city. What we are currently doing is not working and we need to do better for the most vulnerable in our community. This does not need to translate into more money, but focusing existing funds on programs that have a proven track record for success.

• What will you do as a council member to make Kent an even better place to live?

John Boyd

My priorities will be working better with our neighboring cities, improving our police department, having more of our citizens involved in city decisions, and maintaining and expanding our parks and playgrounds.

It is important that Kent works better with our neighboring cities to solve regional problems. This is important because problems like crime and homelessness spill over across city lines.

Making sure the Kent Police Department has the highest policing standards in the country will be one of my highest priorities. I believe police officers need to be out in the community engaging with our residents and building trust. Our police officers also need to maintain high training standard so they can successfully deescalate contentious situations they encounter.

I also believe the City of Kent has more interaction with our residents. It is essential that more of our residents participate and give advice before the council makes decisions. Too many people have very busy lives, and the city needs to do a better job making it easier for them to participate.

Finally, Kent has wonderful parks and playgrounds for our residents to enjoy. I strongly believe we need to maintain them and keep them safe.

Cody T. Clark

As a council member, my focus is on improving the quality of life in Kent by preparing the city for the future. Contributing actively to the comprehensive plan, I will ensure that resources are optimally allocated in the budget. Identifying discrepancies in various departments, I will work collaboratively with management to find effective solutions.

Residents’ concerns have great importance to me, and I am committed to taking action by researching and preparing plans to address these concerns. I want the community to be apart of the decisions that affect their lives.

I understand that once elected to city council that it is not an easy task, there is a lot of work involved, I embrace this challenge and want to do right by residents. I am the next generation of Kent residents and look forward to the next steps in Kent’s future. I don’t want to be the change, I want to lead the change. Let’s be the change together.

Jamie Lee

Beyond the pressing issues mentioned, our youth need social and emotional support now more than ever. We are just beginning to see the effects of pandemic isolation on our kids and teens. By boosting our after school and mentorship programs offered through our incredible Kent Parks and Recreation, we expand opportunities to foster community through healthy friendships and hobbies. This will give a healthy advantage to our youth.

Our amazing teachers in Kent can’t be thanked enough for what they have done the last few years, and I would love to give other outlets for children that need extra love and support finding their place in our community. Creating that safe neighborhood to play in and hang out with friends in as teens later is a huge part of that.

I volunteered for three years in a youth program that coached them through a parent having depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, and other trauma and discovered how deeply these kids needed one another and other adults that cared for them. We have some of the best parks programs in the nation. Let’s make them even better.

Kelly Wiggans-Crawford

We need to attract more small businesses, and spaces for people to gather. We need maker’s spaces, more diversity in our restaurants, and variety in our shops. These types of spaces help bring communities together and generate a sense of belonging.

Additionally, we need to create programs for our youth to get involved, not only in their community, but also with projects they are interested in to potentially offer them a direction for their lives. Mentor shadowing, makers spaces, job training are all important to create a foundation for our youth to move into adulthood. By providing our youth places to meet up and constructively utilize their time, they are less likely to get involved in activities that negatively impact the community.

Through my engagement with the community by doorbelling, I have heard numerous times we need to look for creative ways to engage our community members to foster pride in where we all have chosen to live. Whether it is supporting more cultural events, car shows, or a giant ice cream social, these are the things that will help move Kent to be more welcoming and inclusive while creating an identity.

Talk to us

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John Boyd

John Boyd

Cody T. Clark

Cody T. Clark

Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee

Kelly Wiggans-Crawford

Kelly Wiggans-Crawford

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