Washougal Mayor Sean Guard wants to buck the trend.
As his first term wraps, Guard has announced his intention to run for a second one. All too often, the Washougal native said, the mayor has been one-and-done, never serving a second term.
“One of the things I think has held Washougal back is you don’t have stability in the office,” he said.
Unfinished business in the city, Guard said, includes improving streets, creating a strong tourism and marketing plan for the city and supporting the development of the downtown corridor.
Taking to social media last week, Guard called it his “profound honor” to serve as mayor and said he wanted to continue helping the city move “forward and transform from a small community to a vibrant city that is growing and making a difference.”
By phone, Guard said he still has plenty left to accomplish in the city of 14,340. For one, he wants to continue to find ways to keep utility costs affordable, despite anticipated annual increases. For another, he wants to look at ways to increase staffing at the police department to the level it was in 2009.
“We’re still growing,” Guard said. “So we’re receiving more calls at a time when we’re still down one person.”
In 2009, Guard defeated former Mayor Stacee Sellers. Her term was marred by controversy, stemming from her questionable use of a city-issued credit card during a trip to the Eye Candy Lounge in Las Vegas, along with state audit that revealed $100,000 in city money disappeared under her watch.
In the ensuing years, Guard said, the city has had its up and downs, but he feels it’s heading in the right direction now. “The only thing that’s hampered us has been revenue,” Guard said.
Mayoral races are nonpartisan. So far, Guard is the only announced candidate. But challengers could emerge, as they have until mid-May to register to run.
Guard, now 50, began his political career at 21, when he was elected to the Washougal City Council and became the state’s youngest elected official. He later served a seven-year stint as a Camas city councilor, before moving back to Washougal and temporarily stepping away from politics in 1997.