Bob Baggett and Vera Orlandic-Hodak. COURTESY PHOTOS

Bob Baggett and Vera Orlandic-Hodak. COURTESY PHOTOS

Baggett, Orlandic-Hodak bid for city council seat

Candidates talk about key issues as general election approaches

Incumbent Bob Baggett and challenger Vera Orlandic-Hodak are vying for Position 7 of the Auburn City Council.

The Auburn Reporter posed some questions, and here’s what they had to say.

The general election is Nov. 5. King County Elections mailed ballots Oct. 16.

Bob Baggett

Four years ago, I was elected as councilmember for Position 7 on the Auburn City Council. My slogan at the time was “motivated to serve” and it remains unchanged today.

First, a few words about who I am.

I am a native of Santa Monica, Calif, and have a bachelor’s degree in business management and organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco. I have a wonderful wife whose name is Pattee and we have been married for 35 years.

I was a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster when my son was young, and a soccer dad for my young daughter. I served as president of three homeowner associations for more than 30 years. I retired from The Boeing Company after a 45-year career in leadership positions. I served eight years on the Auburn Planning Commission until I was elected to the city council in 2015.

Auburn has been my home for more than 23 years and, during that time, we have seen our population increase dramatically, as home builders and developers alike struggled to meet the demands of residents attracted to our city. It hasn’t all been a smooth ride, as we have also seen the homeless population increase, a significant rise in opioid addiction, citizens with behavioral health problems and the city grapple with meeting the demands for affordable housing and road and infrastructure maintenance to meet the needs of our growing population. We are now a city with a population of more than 84,000.

Some recent good news is that our mayor and council approved the Auburn Resource Center , which will be a one-stop-shop for our homeless and less fortunate citizens. It will provide more temporary sheltering for the homeless, and the Auburn Food Bank will be relocated and expanded at this new location. Other health and human services will also be available to help those with mental and behavioral health issues and addictions.

Sound Transit is moving forward with building a second transit parking structure in Auburn, and our downtown area is growing with more housing, recreational, and shopping choices.

As your councilmember, I remain dedicated and motivated to move Auburn forward to prosperity, and will continue to work collaboratively with my fellow council colleagues and the mayor to:

• Increase public safety;

• Support the downtown and south corridors of our city;

• Develop new businesses and job growth that promises family-wage jobs;

• Availability of a quality education for our youth;

• Encourage and strengthen tribal and multi-cultural development and growth within the city;

• Ensure adequate revenue streams for future city budgets; and

• Fair and equitable tax and fee structures for our citizens.

These are only a few of Auburn’s challenges and opportunities, but we can do this together by applying common sense solutions to resolve any of Auburn’s issues. I remain accessible to all citizens of Auburn and hope you will continue to support my re-election campaign and vote for me in November to continue representing you as your Auburn councilmember.

Vera Orlandic-Hodak

I‘m originally from Yugoslavia. I was married, had a child and owned a construction supply company with a hundred employees. Over 20 years ago, war broke out in my country. I left everything and fled with my child to the United States, as raising a child there at that time made no sense. I started here with any job I could get and went to school at night, still caring for my son. I am now a project manager at Boeing. I understand project management, finance and business as well as personal relationships. I am a mother and grandmother. I want to give back to Auburn. That is why I am running for Council.

For five months, I’ve walked neighborhoods asking people their concerns. I’ve talked to people on the north end, West Hill, Lea Hill, downtown, the south, on the Muckleshoot Plateau and Lakeland. In each of those areas there are people who have lived here for generations and some for a year. They come from different backgrounds, go to different churches, schools and have different needs. Since I speak 11 languages, I have been able to speak with many about their needs.

More than 7,000 people in Auburn have told me they want to be safe in their neighborhood, in their car or at the store and primarily for their children to be safe at school. You told me you care for those people truly in need, women and families without a home, people addicted to drugs and alcohol or with mental health problems and those who want help should get it. I believe you said those that those who don’t want help and prey on our people, should be arrested and go through the judicial system.

I heard you. It’s my first priority.

You’ve told me you want a clean, safe city. You said downtown and all Auburn is dirty and needs to be cleaned up. I agree with you. It’s my second priority.

You want city services, but not more taxes. You want more businesses. You want the city to stay within budget. Many people think that more taxes on business will mean fewer new businesses coming to Auburn. I heard you. Stay within budget. Cut fees to bring new business we want to have here. I agree with you. It’s my third priority.

You also want better roads. You want a plan for what roads will get fixed, when they will get fixed. Then let the people vote for those projects. I heard you. It’s my fourth priority.

I hear you. Please vote.

Note: The Auburn Reporter will hear from candidates of the other city council races in next week’s edition.

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