In our last post, we got the chance to discuss the Japanese Gulch, books, and other interesting tidbits with Council member Richard Emery.
DM: How did you get started in politics?
RE: I applied to fill Marlo Liias vacant position on the City Council in 2008. I did not expect to be appointed and was very surprised that I was chosen. I have found it to be engaging, and at times challenging, to be a Council member.
DM: Who inspired you to take this path?
RE: There were two people who influenced me to apply. One was my wife, Liza, who talked me into speaking to the Council about saving Japanese Gulch, which led to me becoming a spokesperson for that. The other was Randy Lord, a Council member who suggested someone from the Gulch group apply for the vacant position.
DM: Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of and why?
RE: Being that spokesperson and a dedicated advocate for buying Japanese Gulch as a park for Mukilteo and area residents.
DM: What is your favorite place to visit in Mukilteo and why?
RE: There are several favorite places: I like to visit our many excellent restaurants. I also enjoy walking in Japanese Gulch and Big Gulch. And the waterfront and beaches are wonderful places to be.
DM: Do you have a favorite book, website, or podcast, and why?
RE: I would have to say, The Lord of the Rings, which I have read at least 15 times. Why? That’s a long answer. It’s an amazing, dramatic Quest story peopled with multiple characters, all with their own back story. Tolkien created an entire, complex world of many peoples and traditions and filled them in with many songs and poetry. It’s main character, the Hobbit Frodo, was not cast as a Hero or Avatar, but as someone who sees he has been given a job to do that he accepts, even though he does not know how to do it.
A major reason this is an important book is because it is the only Heroic Quest story I know where the major character goes to destroy an object of power, instead of finding one to vanquish the enemy/save the woman/protect the world. It’s a different paradigm in many ways, not the least of which is how things of power can corrupt. And lastly, there’s Gollum, a rare if not unique literary creation, with whom one can almost sympathize as he struggles with whether to reclaim his better self. Or not.
DM: If you could have dinner with someone (alive or dead, real, or fictional), who would it be and why?
RE: That depends on my mood and what I’ve been reading or noticing at the time. Today, I’d pick Mark Twain for his humor, and insights into the America of his time and ours, and for his courage to write about what he saw.
DM: Do you have a favorite food? If so, what?
RE: Today it’s a Poke Bowl from Hani Hani.
DM: What do you think surprises people about you?
RE: I’m not all sure that anyone really thinks about me that much. Perhaps how long I’ve been on Council? Or maybe that I appear to be doing fairly well for an old guy?
DM: What is the biggest challenge you face as an elected official during these uncertain times?
RE: I think the biggest challenge will be how to work with our neighboring cities and the County to maximize our efforts to reduce global warming and climate change.
DM: Is there anything else you would like to share?
RE: It has been a pleasure (mostly) and an honor to have had the opportunity to serve Mukilteo and our residents as a Council member for many years. I am especially humbled by the voters electing me to the Council several times since 2008.
DM: Is there any question I should have asked you but did not?
RE: Yes: What do I enjoy most about being an elected official? I most enjoy the process of learning as much as possible about the issues and decisions that have to be made, and working with my fellow Council members, the Mayor and City staff to shape Mukilteo now and for the future.