BY LAURELLE WALSH & ANN McCREARY
Four of Winthrop’s almost 400 residents filed for local office in time for the May 17 deadline: current council member Sue Langdalen for mayor, incumbent Rick Northcott and newcomers Vern Herrst and Mike Strulic for positions on the town council.
Langdalen will be running unopposed for mayor at the close of outgoing mayor Dave Acheson’s second term.
Langdalen said she went in to Town Hall to reapply for her expiring council position on the final afternoon of the filing period, learned that the mayor’s slot was still empty, and decided right then and there to run for mayor. “I knew I couldn’t leave the town sitting there without anybody to be mayor,” she said. If elected, this will be Langdalen’s second time leading the town, having already held that position from 2002-2006. Langdalen has been a teller at Farmer’s State Bank since 1986.
The county auditor’s office will set a special three-day filing period for Position 4 being vacated by Langdalen at the end of her term, since no one filed for that position. If nobody runs for the position, it will be considered vacant and will be filled by appointment when it expires, Acheson said.
Both Northcott and Herrst will be running for Winthrop Town Council Position 1.
The incumbent Northcott has held the seat since 2006. “I want to keep serving the community and being a part of the decision-making,” he said. Northcott, born in Winthrop, counts six generations of his family in the Methow Valley.
Northcott owns Rick Northcott Construction and the Pony Expresso in Winthrop.
Challenger Herrst decided to throw his hat in the ring after “a lot of friends and neighbors said I should get involved,” he said. Herrst has lived in Winthrop for 15 years and spent three years on the Westernization Architectural Committee, he said.
Herrst and his wife, Judy, operate an embroidery business – V Bar J Enterprises – out of their home on Castle Avenue.
Newcomer Strulic will be running unopposed for Winthrop Town Council Position 2, currently held by Tiffany Langdalen. Strulic was not reached for comment.
Filer, Hill to face off
Only one of three Twisp Council seats on the November ballot is contested. Dwight Filer, a plumber and former council member, is challenging Clay Hill for the position.
Hill was appointed by the Twisp Council last June to fill the remainder of Hans Smith’s term after Smith resigned from the board. Hill is a deputy prosecutor for the Okanogan County prosecuting attorney’s office, and has lived in Twisp since 2010.
Filer has lived in Twisp since 1979 and runs a family plumbing business. He said he decided to seek the council position because “it’s a pretty exciting time to be involved in with the city of Twisp.”
Filer has been a member of the Twisp Planning Commission for the past two years, and served previously on the commission from 1999 to 2003. He was elected to the Town Council in 1995 and served until 1998, when he stepped down due to family responsibilities.
Filer said he was motivated to run in part because of Hill’s outspoken support of allowing ATVs on Twisp streets, a proposal that Filer opposed when the issue was being debated a few months ago.
Hill said he decided to run for election because he was encouraged by three of his fellow council members and because he wants to promote economic vitality.
“My wife and I push the stroller round town and we still see way too many empty store fronts and lots,” he said. “We think Twisp has potential to be the greatest small town in the state and we feel we haven’t reached our potential yet.”