Incumbent seeking second 4-year term
Edson, Caswell raise modest sums for campaigns
The election campaigns of Leone Edson and Alan Caswell have raised a little more than $500 each, according to figures provided by the candidates.
Edson has purchased yard signs with a $50 donation and $496.45 from her and her husband, Mark Edson.
Caswell has received $605 in contributions from nine donors. Those contributions have paid for campaign postcards and stickers with a total cost of $155.28.
Caswell’s campaign plans to mail postcards to Twisp residents this week, so they arrive in mailboxes about the same time as the ballots. The mailing will cost the campaign about $300, Caswell said.
Shortly after Alan and his wife Lois Caswell moved to Twisp eight years ago, Alan wanted to step up and do something for his new community.
Caswell, a retired building contractor and carpenter from Monroe, lived next door to Twisp Town Council member Hans Smith at the time. He also had gotten to know Mayor Soo Ing-Moody, another resident of his neighborhood on the hill west of Highway 20.
He decided his way to “give back” would be to join the Town Council. Caswell attended meetings after council member Traci Day announced her resignation in late 2015. He was appointed to her seat in January 2016.
As an appointee, Caswell had to appear on the ballot in 2017 to fill out Day’s term and ran unopposed. Now he’s running for his second four-year term and has a challenger in Leone Edson, co-owner of a welding and machine shop in Twisp.
As a former builder, Caswell, 68, said he seeks re-election because he would like to oversee the completion of infrastructure projects currently in the works, including a $3 million civic building that will replace the Twisp Town Hall. Town leaders anticipate that project will break ground this spring.
Edson, who has lived in Twisp more than 30 years, is on the board of directors of the Beaver Creek Cemetery. She has been running Methow Valley Industrial with Mark Edson ever since the two of them married 25 years ago. (Mark has owned and operated the shop at the same location for 45 years.)
Leone and her husband have been going to Town Council meetings regularly for more than 25 years, she said.
“I’ve been a spectator for so long, I think I can add something to this,” Edson said in an interview Thursday (Oct. 10) at her shop.
Vern Nations, who is running for mayor of Twisp, said he supported Edson’s candidacy.
“Leone has been to more council meetings over the years than everyone on the council added together,” Nations said.
“It’s just a matter of, it’s my turn. It’s my time,” said Edson, explaining why she chose this year to seek a seat on the Twisp Council after so many years sitting in the audience. “I want to make sure there is a voice for the people of Twisp, and I think that I can do that. I can add more representation.”
Edson, 58, said she is “passionate about the pool,” referring to the Wagner Memorial Pool, which is operated by the town and has been beset by serious and expensive leaks over the past several years. Otherwise, Edson said, she would not join the council with an agenda.
“I just know that I’m all for change and the betterment of the community,” she said. “I want our town to be prosperous, and I really strive for open communication. I think, with my temperament I am a good listener, and I can interact with anybody and everybody.”
If Caswell has a particular interest on the council, it is, unsurprisingly, public works — the department that handles the town’s construction projects, in addition to the water and sewer systems, and the airport. He likes infrastructure so much, he points to the council’s annual review and approval of the town’s six-year Transportation Improvement Plan as among his main accomplishments.
“I like that we’ve approved the Methow Housing Trust planned development [on Canyon Street],” Caswell added. “It’s nice to see that taking place.” Methow Housing Trust is a nonprofit that builds affordable homes in the Methow Valley.
Caswell got his campaign rolling in mid-September, going door-to-door to talk to Twisp voters. When asked what town residents were most concerned about, Caswell said on the contrary people are happy with recent road improvements, including Canyon Street this year and the sidewalk recently added along Highway 20 on the south end of town.
“Most of them honestly approve of what the town’s doing,” Caswell said.
Edson’s strongest area of expertise is public participation. She not only attends most every council meeting, she often uses the time set aside for public comment at the beginning of meetings to ask questions or express concerns about items on the evening’s agenda. Citizens are asked to say their piece in three minutes or less.
Edson said the mayor and council could do more to create a welcoming atmosphere for residents who attend meetings: Allow them to go beyond the three-minute limit if time allows, or include them in deliberations if they have something worthwhile to contribute.
“I would encourage more open discussion during meetings,” Edson said. “You don’t have to agree with what they have to say, but make them feel like they count. I’m all for welcoming people to the council meetings. They’re doing the people’s business.”
Caswell was asked to comment on public participation in council meetings, in light of Edson’s comments, but he declined.
Ballots for elections in the Methow Valley are available on Friday (Oct. 18) and are due by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 5.