Community Education Government

Gig Harbor getting new mayor, three new city council members

Posted on November 2nd, 2021 By:

Gig Harbor will receive an infusion of fresh leadership after voters elected a new mayor and three new city council members in Tuesday’s general election.

Councilwoman Tracie Markley will replace Mayor Kit Kuhn, who chose not to run for a second term. For months, Markley’s win was a foregone conclusion after nobody filed to challenge her. Then, just two weeks before the election and after ballots had already arrived in the mail, longtime former councilman Ken Malich jumped in the race as a write-in candidate. His late, long-shot bid failed as Markley leads by a 91.8%-8.2% margin.

“I’m so incredibly honored to serve our wonderful city,” Markley said. “This is truly the honor of a lifetime. I’m so excited to get to work.”

Roger Henderson

Roger Henderson

It was assured that at least one of the seven council members would be new as Roger Henderson and John Skansi competed for the Position 2 seat left open when Bob Himes decided not to run for another four-year term. Henderson, a retired engineer, beat Skansi, who has worked as a teacher and commercial fisherman, by 23 points in the August primary. He more than sustained the advantage in the general election, 64.2%-35.6%

“I’m honored to have earned the trust and confidence of the people of Gig Harbor,” said Henderson. “This is a validation of my message and it’s a huge honor for me as a relatively unknown in our wonderful town. This has really been a grassroots effort and I thank all of my supporters for their help.”

Brenda Lykins

Brenda Lykins

Other newcomers defeating incumbents were Brenda Lykins in Position 3 and Seth Storset in Position 7. Lykins, a semi-retired nurse practitioner, is leading Jim Franich, 74.4%-25.5%.

“I’m really pleased and grateful that my message of hope for our great city has been so widely received,” said Lykins. “This is a great honor. I want to thank Councilmember Franich for serving our city so well for 14 years. I have tremendous respect for him.”

Seth Storset

Seth Storset

Maritime manager Storset holds a 61.1%-38.5% edge on Spencer Abersold, station manager at KGHP radio station.

“Thank you Gig harbor,” Abersold posted on Facebook. “I have always put my trust in the public to make the best choice for our community. Seth Storset ran an honest and honorable campaign and I would like to publicly thank him for having the strength and character that he displayed. I think he is a great person and I would have supported him in any other race.

“The last four years have been an educating, enlightening and emotional experience. To those that voted for me, I hope you give Seth the same support. This has been a honor to serve my community for the last four years. Now I’ll be like John Lennon after the Beatles: Just the Walrus.”

Jeni Woock

Jeni Woock

Jeni Woock, in Position 1, is the only incumbent to survive the election. The retired businesswoman received 71% of the vote in the August primary to 17% for Robert Wiles, a real estate agent. Wiles didn’t mount much of a threat thereafter, resulting in a 75.5%-24.3% deficit Tuesday.

With Markley moving over to become mayor, her council seat will also be the fourth filled by a newcomer.

Butler, Olson capture school board positions

The Peninsula School District board will welcome one new member to replace retiring Deborah Krishnadasan, who didn’t run for re-election. In District 2, architect Jennifer Butler leads Linda Ader, a former environmental consultant, 61.7% to 38.1%.

Jennifer Butler

Jennifer Butler

Butler built her campaign on chairing a committee to build four new elementary schools, avoiding partisan national political battles and recovering from COVID-19. Ader spoke out against critical race theory and comprehensive sex education, and in support of expanding career options for students not interested in attending college.

“I’m thrilled and I’m encouraged and I’m just, I’m grateful for our voters,” Butler said. “And I’m, you know, looking forward to the work ahead. I think it’s a really exciting time to be on the school board with our new superintendent and our new schools. And I really think that we have a great, great future ahead of us.”

David Olson

David Olson

David Olson appears to be headed for a third District 5 term, leading Juanita Beard, 56.6%-43.2%. Olson, a corporate banking relationship manager, ran on giving every student the opportunity and resources they need to succeed academically, particularly those with disabilities, English language learners and the homeless. Beard ran on her expertise as a mental health therapist and on promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.

“I think the voters have spoken and given me a mandate going forward. And I’m very, very excited about that,” Olson said.

Asked what that mandate is, Olson said, “Our parent voices matter.”

“We welcome our parent voices and freedom of expression. And so I’m just super excited. We have an amazing board. We have a great superintendent. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m just excited to move forward to help do what’s best for our students.

“And we just we have amazing vision for our school district to be a No. 1 district in the state and I just, you know, just wait, watch, watch what happens because our next four years are going to be amazing.”

PenMet Parks board stands pat

The Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District board will remain intact as two incumbents hold leads. Missy Hill is topping Matt McKee for Position 2, 66.0%-32.2%, and Steve Nixon is ahead of Joshua Hardwick, 71.4%-28.4%.

Missy Hill

Missy Hill

Steve Nixon

Steve Nixon

Nov. 2 General Election Results

Gig Harbor Mayor

Tracie Markley 2,229 91.77%
Write-in (Ken Malich) 200 8.23%

Gig Harbor City Council

Position No. 1

Jeni Woock 2,157 75.5%
Robert Wiles 694 24.29%

Position No. 2

John Skansi 1,035 35.59%
Roger Henderson 1,868 64.24%

Position No. 3

Jim Franich 731 25.54%
Brenda Lykins 2,129 74.39%

Position No. 7

Seth Storset 1,682 61.14%
Spencer Abersold 1,060 38.53%

Peninsula School District No. 401

Director District 2

Linda Ader 5,333 38.14%
Jennifer Butler 8,628 61.71%

Director District 5

David Olson 7,829 56.59%
Juanita Beard 5,987 43.28%

Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District

Commissioner Position 2

Matt McKee 2,513 32.24%
Missy Hill 5,143 65.98%

Commissioner Position 3

Joshua Hardwick 2,184 28.38%
Steve Nixon 5,492 71.36%

Fire Protection District No. 5

Kevin Entze 7,288 72.48%
Ken Fryk 2,738 27.23%