Snohomish County Executive News May 2017

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News from the County Executive

May 3, 2017

Welcome to the first issue of Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers' Newsletter!

We plan to share his goals, plans, insights, and activities during his time serving the public. If you have any comments, positive, negative or indifferent, please contact us at (425) 388-3312 or

"The Future We Choose" 

In the early 1970s, I was working as fish biologist and was tasked with building an artificial reef in Edmonds. We sank bundles of car tires to provide shelter for fish to live and breed. The next day I had to reposition some of the tires, and as I looked at the tires a tiny rockfish was staring up at me. He (or she) had obviously found a new home. I rolled a few tires to a new location, kicking up clouds of silt and sand. As the sand settled, I saw that the little rockfish had followed its home to the new spot. That rockfish had found a good place to live and was not going to lose it. They are no different than us; when we find a good place to live, we’re not going to give it up. Each and every day as county executive I ask myself: What can we do to make Snohomish County a better place to live and work? How can we make sure we are building something that will make our community stronger? How do we work together to create the future that we choose, not the future that happens to us? Those are the questions that should challenge us every day to do what’s right for the people of Snohomish County and our region. 

dave somers

State of the County

We have a diverse history, a diverse community, a diverse economy, and a diverse future. We are the ancestral homeland of the Tulalip, Stillaguamish, and Sauk-Suiattle Tribes. We live in an extraordinarily beautiful place and one that needs nourishing to thrive.

Snohomish County is now the 2nd fastest growing county in the nation, right behind Pierce County. We live in a globalized world, where you will be left behind if you aren’t competing. As a region, we need to do better in the competition for global investment dollars and business opportunities.

Our economy runs the gamut from high tech aerospace to equally high tech but more traditional agriculture. Our job as public officials is to make sure we have planned ahead well enough to maintain our diversity and expand opportunities where we can.

We have a well-trained work force, a base of good jobs, and the best quality of life. Our region stacks up very well against any in the world. Snohomish County is expecting an additional 200,000 people to move here over the next twenty years. That means more people on roads, more pressure on the housing market, more people needing good jobs. We must prepare for that future, the future we choose, or be subject to the future that happens to us.

As of January, the unemployment rate in the county was 3.7%, according to the State of Washington. We are second behind only King County in the state. If we want to maintain that level of employment, we must be looking ahead to create jobs that will sustain our current levels of economic activity. We are seeing a shift in the aerospace industry with the development of systems that are moving work to automated construction rather than human workers. We expect some of our major employers to continue to shed jobs over the coming years.

Last year, I launched an economic development initiative. We established nine specific sectors and assigned a lead within Snohomish County government for each sector. These sectors span the range from:

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest Products
  • Technology
  • Trade & Business
  • Military & Defense
  • Recreation & Tourism
  • Energy & Sustainability
  • Arts, Culture, & Film
  • Education, Life Sciences & Global Health 

This initiative gives us the ability to target specific areas of opportunity.

  • Identify the county's roles and opportunities in the advancement of each of these sectors. 
  • Identify staff within the county to develop strategies around each sector
  • Promote these sectors
  • Partner with other locally, nationally, and globally

On May 8, I will be co-hosting a joint regional economic development summit, in conjunction with the Executives from King and Pierce Counties, bringing together chambers of commerce from across the Tri-county region. Opportunities for collaboration and innovation don’t happen just by chance. We need to facilitate those discussions. We are looking for ways to make our county and region more competitive globally. We have no choice but to succeed.

Dave Sommers

Dave Sommers
County Executive

3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S
Everett, WA 98201

PH: 425-388-3312

FAX: 425-388-3434


PH: 425-388-3365

dave somers