Incumbent Olympia City Councilwoman Julie Hankins appeared headed to win her first council election Tuesday night.
Hankins had a substantial lead over her challenger for Position 5, businessman Mike Volz.
Hankins was appointed to fill Stephen Buxbaum’s council seat almost two years ago after he was elected mayor.
Volz, who has lived in Olympia since the early 1990s, is a newcomer to politics.
Hankins, 48, is an administrative assistant at Nova School and has been active in neighborhood associations.
Hankins’ top priorities include a sustainable budget, neighborhood planning, improving downtown Olympia and more public involvement. She emphasized that the city needs better neighborhood planning and advocates continuing a process that would allow each neighborhood to draw up a plan. Such plans would provide continuity and allow the city to go forward, rather than change when new leaders are elected.
“Every four years we start to tack one way, and then we change again, ” she said during the campaign.
She said the city needs more public meetings, not just the ones where people get three minutes to address the council.
Volz, 43, restores classic Chrysler automobiles at his shop, MVP Mopars, located in the Spoon Auto Parts building.
Volz also spoke about wanting to improve downtown and against a proposed homeless shelter that would accept sex offenders and drug users.
Volz opposed the so-called low-barrier shelter, which faith group Interfaith Works proposed at a property on 10th Avenue but reconsidered after neighborhood opposition. He said street people need help, but he doesn’t believe in sheltering people who won’t follow rules.
Hankins was part of the City Council that approved spending more than $30,000 on a low-barrier shelter. But she now says she opposes the original proposal for the shelter that would accept Level 3 sex offenders.