Ryan is a dedicated community servant leader. He has worked tirelessly the last 10 years on the Council’s Finance, Public Works, and Planning committees. His work has provided a solid foundation for the city today and in the future. He is a problem solver, he is a critical thinker, and he always facilitates a collaborative transparent public process.

Laurie Gere

Letters to the Editor

Thank you all for your support! Please also review our list of endorsements.

Walters supports Anacortes' interests

I am voting for Ryan Walters because ...

If you watch the council meetings on TV, he has carefully done his homework, knows the background and pays attention to the details, asks good questions, always advocates for transparency and leads the way to find solutions.

If you’ve reached out to the city for help, he gets right back to you, validates your concern and immediately gets to work addressing the problem.

If you’re on Facebook, he patiently answers questions from the community, offers important insights and is always respectful to people who don’t agree with him.

If you’re downtown, you’ll see him shopping or sitting outside at one of our local restaurants.

There is no one I trust more than Ryan to continue Mayor Laurie Gere’s legacy of friendly, open and honest city government that is forward-thinking and responsive to the public. It’s no surprise to me that he’s endorsed by so many who work with him and want to work with him as mayor. And I know he’ll take Anacortes forward — in a way that’s inspired, community-driven and in the best interests of our whole town.

My vote is with Ryan Walters. I hope yours will be, too.

—Carol Miner

Walters the right leader for Anacortes

In decades of living in Anacortes, elected officials have come and gone. Some left a shining star, others a smudge. Ryan Walters has been a shining star throughout his tenure on the council.

Why? More than many elected officials he has been responsive. Agreeing or not, he is quick to respond, engage and listen to concerns. I can trust his honesty about issues — including unpleasant ones (rat infestations in the neighborhood).

He cares about this town. He was planted here. His roots go deep. For our community to thrive, all economic strata need to be able to live and work here. Ryan knows the importance of balancing economic growth with affordability. Ryan has pledged to do this while protecting the character of our neighborhoods.

A walkable community is key to good health and friendly neighborhoods. Ryan understands that a smattering of safe walking places (sidewalks) in front of new construction is useless without sidewalk continuity all the way down the street. A practical and strategic thinker, I believe Ryan Walters is the person to lead our community through rebuilding our economy and social fiber as we emerge from this pandemic.

—Margaret Studer

Support Walters for mayor

Like other small cities, Anacortes faces big challenges—declining revenue, homelessness, budget constraints, the effects of climate change and now the COVID pandemic.

To meet these challenges, we need innovative, experienced, thoughtful leadership. One mayoral candidate has repeatedly demonstrated those traits and actual accomplishments for our city—Ryan Walters. He doesn't sit back and wait for someone else to figure out solutions. He seizes new opportunities and finds new ones.

Two years ago, Ryan recognized how the city could use a new state law to retain states sales tax dollars to fund affordable housing projects and preserve the historic Olsen Building. He championed the outdoor dining parklets along Commercial Avenue, which have helped keep our restaurants afloat. He pushed for greater transparency and made it easier for citizens to access city documents.

He wrote the ordinance requiring city contracts to undergo financial and legal review, a prudent step that saves taxpayer dollars. He's worked to make childcare more available and less epxnesive by streamlining permitting. And these are just a sampling of his initiatives to make our community a better place.

Ryan Walters is a leader for the future. He has my vote.

—Susan Rooks

Need Walters as mayor

Ryan Walters is the person we need for mayor of Anacortes.

His record on the City Council shows an extraordinary and clear understanding of how the city works and where we need to go. He has the same clarity and understanding of how Skagit County works. As an attorney for the county and as assistant director of the county planning department, he learned how the health and future of Skagit County and Anacortes are woven together, and he understands well how state laws affect everyone.

When he takes the seat designated for the mayor of Anacortes on the Skagit Council of Governments along with other mayors and the three County Commissioners, he will bring more skills to that job than anyone I know.

He will be great for Anacortes and Skagit County.

He is smart, hard-working and a good person. He is the best choice for mayor of Anacortes.

—Mark Lundsten

Walters will get the job done

Ryan Walters gets the job done.

I have known Ryan for more than 20 years. I was president of the School Board when he was student body president at AHS, and I watched as he racked up a solid record of achievements like preparing a new student handbook that hadn’t been updated for 10 years, revamping student ID cards and writing new rules to make student dance royalty elections more inclusive. It was the most productive student body presidency I’ve seen.

During his 10 years on the City Council, I’ve watched Ryan work hard to make Anacortes a better community. He partnered with other council members to launch our fiber-optic network, to pursue real housing affordability through the Yes for Housing project and to create real transparency at City Hall.

Ryan creatively seeks opportunities and figures out how to make the most of them. He supports the local business community by patronizing local merchants and being responsive to their complaints, and I love his excitement about helping people open new businesses by streamlining the bureaucracy.

If you want the job done, vote for Walters.

—Jean Fantini

Vote Walters for mayor

In 2016, Anacortes concluded its multiyear Comprehensive Plan update — a process in which hundreds of community members participated. That plan highlighted the fact that we are a maritime community, and it adopted the policy for Anacortes to strive for a balanced and resilient economy that encourages growth of industries that offer family-wage jobs. It’s unwise to pursue an economy too focused on tourism, because a tourism-focused economy is a tourism-dependent economy.

We have a good roadmap forward in the recommendations of the City/Port Maritime Strategic Plan. But we need a mayor who will take this plan forward to implementation. Ryan Walters is that person.

Ryan has knowledge and understanding of maritime issues, and the vision of Anacortes as a place with permanent maritime industry as critical in our overall economy. He understands it’s essential to support and strengthen our 50-plus maritime businesses, which provide 1,200+ quality year-round jobs.

Ryan has championed the MSP recommendation to improve the boat ramp at Washington Park so middle-class families can enjoy boating, crabbing, and fishing — not only people who can afford marina slips. Waterfront access is important for our entire community.

—Andrew Stewart

Walters is the choice for mayor

Whom should we choose for mayor?

The mayor ultimately reports to the 18,000 citizens of Anacortes. He ought to be experienced in finding solutions to problems where not everyone agrees. Ryan has worked with a variety of constituents throughout his career, is respectful of all points of view and has repeatedly demonstrated his door will be open to all.

The mayor needs to be a competent manager of city departments. As assistant director of the county and Samish planning departments, Ryan has been an innovative manager. His knowledge of municipal law and finance gives him the edge in helping departments find alternatives and do the financial planning required for long-term fiscal health.

The mayor needs to be a leader. Ryan has repeatedly demonstrated he’s a creative problem solver. He’s been bold where it matters, like addressing housing affordability through last year’s successful ballot measure. He’s also willing to change direction when the facts warrant it.

There’s one standout candidate who hits all these marks. Vote Ryan Walters for mayor.

—Bill French

Put Walters at the helm

The City of Anacortes will remain the gem it is with Ryan Walters at the helm of mayoral leadership.

Ryan and I both grew up in Anacortes. Knowing him both personally and professionally, I confidently share with you that he works authentically, honestly and tirelessly for the good of his community, neighbors, family and friends.

Our gorgeous tree-filled city deserves a leader who knows the heart of long-term sustainability, land-use development and planning policy. I have witnessed Ryan’s direct effort and skill bring results that have benefited our quality of life countywide. After over a decade of working with Ryan, I know he will both guard and grow our city into one of the most sought-after destinations in Washington.

I have always known Ryan to make well-executed, informed decisions that secure people, planet and profit into community framework.

—Callie Martin

A fantastic slate of candidates

Anacortes has a fantastic slate on the ballot, and I am proud to support the following:

I’ve endorsed Ryan Walters for mayor because of his incredible work ethic, ability to think strategically, dedication to our environment and commitment to maintaining economic vibrancy.

Amanda Hubik understands complex issues around housing and public services, balanced with her business savvy, which makes her an ideal fit for council. While legislators are partisan, our staff are not, as they provide access for constituents of all political views. She handles this with a level head and is responsive and helpful; solving problems for people every day.

Bruce McDougall deserves another term because of the tenacity he has shown delivering broadband to our community and because he brings that same level of energy to his council deliberations.

Diana Farnsworth has shown vision, inclusivity and a love for learning in all her work. I’ve seen her interact with children through the years and the clear enjoyment and empathy she brings is wonderful. Meredith McIlmoyle, with her background in the arts and as an active sports mom, will help bring an emphasis to the importance of nurturing the whole child.

—Liz Lovelett

Walters shows leadership, inclusivity

I’m writing this letter to anyone that recognizes the need for our town to be an inclusive one.

I was personally in attendance when all but one council member voted in favor of the City’s Resolution 2060.

The resolution embraced the idea that every person should be measured by the content of their character and the expectation that all individuals residing or visiting our town be treated fairly, free of mistreatment, targeting. The resolution firmly rejects acts of racism, bullying, intimidation and harassment. The resolution mentions being a city for all abilities, working toward more accessibility. The resolution ends with a commitment to maintaining Anacortes as a safe, just community for everyone.

Ryan Walters voted in favor of this resolution. He also did a lot of legwork to help pass it. Doesn’t our community desire to embrace the spirit of that resolution which accepts all kinds of people, with all abilities in order to maintain "Anacortes as a welcoming, safe, and just community for everyone?" Doesn’t true leadership go in the direction of protecting all of our community? A vote for Walters is a vote for this kind of leadership.

—Laura Spehar

Walters for mayor

What makes a great mayor?

When we consider who would be the best candidate to run our city, we want someone with integrity, knowledge and experience.

Someone who makes it a priority to connect with leaders of other communities, sharing ideas about what works and what doesn’t. These connections are of enormous value to our city.

That person has deep hometown roots. He knows the history of the city and what got us here today. He’s experienced the rapid growth and knows we must meet it head on and still support our small-town character. His ten years of dedication to the City Council has provided him with wealth of experience in all matters affecting the city.

He is already involved with housing needs and development, community design and preservation of our community forestlands. His leadership as the Planning Director for the Samish Indian Nation has been commendable.

His experience as an attorney with the court system provides him with invaluable insight into the problems of drugs, mental health issues and homelessness. His background brings in-depth knowledge of the law and its limitations. This experience is of extreme importance to our city.

Integrity, experience, and knowledge.

That person is Ryan Walters.

—Dianne Moritz

Walters a known leader

Experience counts. Lifetime local experience counts more. Ryan Walters grew up in the Anacortes-Skagit County community, understands its problems and issues, its unique character. That’s why he’s been a recognized leader at both city and county levels.

Ryan has navigated the rough cultural and legal waters a small city faces every day. If elected, he’ll hit the ground running. Having forged solid relationships with county officials while a Skagit prosecutor and manager, Ryan also has already cultivated strong and necessary relationships with our elected legislators in Olympia — a huge advantage for Anacortes.

Ryan has 10 years’ experience on the City Council, giving him an in-depth knowledge of the workings of local government. He has led the way on many successful initiatives such as affordable housing, new regulations that protect neighborhoods, tighter financial and legal oversight of city contracts, and open transparent government and demonstrated again and again his ability to work with other members of the council on important issues such as the city’s fiber network; the inclusivity resolution; and open, transparent government.

Strong local experience is a must. Ryan has a lifetime of it. Vote Ryan for mayor.

—Gene Derig

Walters best mayor choice

Anacortes is certainly on the cusp of significant change, especially when resources continue to be tight, and the constraints of COVID-19 burden all of us. Despite these challenges, it is clearly obvious our best choice for mayor is Ryan Walters.

I’ve had the chance to meet Ryan and listen to his vision of the future for Anacortes on at least two occasions, and we have exchanged emails in response to my queries.

Overall, I find Ryan to be extraordinarily intelligent and well prepared when responding to questions about our future. Ryan impresses me with his substantial knowledge and experience in municipal planning and management as well as financial and budget issues.

Ryan has my vote.

—Ernie Hayden

Walters will hit ground running

I am writing in support of Ryan Walters for mayor of Anacortes.

Ryan has deep connections to Anacortes, having grown up here, gone off to college and law school, and then chosen Anacortes as his home. As an attorney specializing in land use and municipal law and as the most senior member of the Anacortes City Council, he brings unmatched experience in local government that is critical to being able to hit the ground running as our next mayor.

Ryan has a holistic approach to support our economic and community recovery from the pandemic while preserving our small-town character, our historic commercial buildings and the environment. I trust Ryan to make real, systematic progress to rebuild our streets, connect our unfinished sidewalks, keep traffic and speeds under control within neighborhoods and build "complete streets" for all users.

He’s the only candidate who’s mentioned reducing the costs of our utilities and improving the performance, efficiency and customer service of our city government. He has a long history of providing real opportunities for public engagement through the community meetings he’s hosted, which he would carry through as mayor to all city departments.

Ryan is the clear choice for mayor.

—Linda Ann Lipke

Walters recognizes need for inclusion

In October 2019, the Anacortes City Council approved a resolution on a citywide policy of inclusion. Ryan Walters worked hard to achieve a unanimous vote.

This resolution "rejects and condemns" acts of racism, harassment, intimidation, and other forms of bullying, as well as "acts of hate speech." This resolution was approved by a 6–1 vote.

There are solid reasons to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity in American communities, businesses and public employment. It is the right thing to do.

Genius can be anywhere. Now is a time when we must welcome concerned minds focused on the challenges of housing, community building, climate change, maintaining quality public education and supporting Anacortes businesses.

Arbitrarily dismissing and excluding talent, signaling to any group that "your kind and your opinions are not welcome" is shortsighted when we need all of the good minds we can get.

From the classroom to the boardroom, let’s welcome all voices who choose to contribute, not just those with connections, privilege and opportunity.

A vote for Ryan Walters for mayor is a vote for Anacortes to continue to grow as an inclusive, caring and welcoming community.

—Megan G. Taylor

Walters for mayor

Out of curiosity about the workings of city government, I’ve attended or watched numerous City Council meetings in the last several years.

It leads me to believe Ryan Walters, currently serving on the council, is best suited to be our next mayor. He does his homework, considers it critically, offers thoughtful input and asks key questions. This is all done while considering costs to taxpayers, balancing growth with ecological integrity, and prioritizing transparency.

He will move us forward with strong stewardship as mayor, and for this reason, I hope you’ll join me in voting for Ryan Walters.

—Kathleen Lorence-Flanagan

Walters has the qualifications we need

I first met Ryan Walters at a Skagit County public hearing when he was the County’s civil deputy prosecuting attorney. His preparation for this hearing made a very good impression on me, and when he ran for the Anacortes City Council, it was a pleasure to vote for him.

Ryan’s work on the council has continued to impress me. Some of the many issues Ryan has been involved in include writing key components of the City’s Municipal Code and working to protect our community forest lands. He has worked to increase the transparency of the budget process so that we can see exactly how and on what our tax dollars are being spent.

During his years as civil deputy prosecuting attorney and, later, as county assistant planning director, and his service on the City Council, Ryan has developed relationships with county commissioners and staff, with members of the state Legislature, and with other Washington cities, all of which will enhance his productivity as mayor of Anacortes.

Please join me in voting for the highly qualified Ryan Walters as mayor of our beautiful City of Anacortes.

—Virginia E. (Bunny) Heiner

Walters dedicated to community

We appreciate Mayor Gere’s efforts opening up City Hall to all and welcoming public participation. As our next mayor, Ryan Walters will carry that progress forward.

Even before Mayor Gere was elected, I watched Ryan push the city to open public comment at City Council meetings and allow public comment on our land use processes. Do you remember when we weren’t permitted to comment at council meetings on anything that was on the agenda? Do you remember we were forbidden to talk to council members about land-use matters, because they were all considered quasi-judicial?

Ryan was instrumental in eliminating those practices. He’s led Anacortes forward on those and many other issues.

We don’t want to slip backward. We need to keep the momentum going with Ryan’s proposals for easier access to city information, such as budget, finance and planning.

Please join me in voting for Ryan Walters for mayor of Anacortes.

—Marilyn Wells Derig

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