Dovey-Celski council race is one to watch | Bob Roegner

The race between incumbent city council member Jack Dovey and challenger Bob Celski may not only be the most interesting of the council races, but it may have the most impact on Federal Way government.

Dovey is a businessman and one of the veterans of the council. He has served off and on since 1995. He has been part of most major decisions affecting the community and can justifiably point to many city improvements during his tenure. He notes Celebration Park, improved police services and an updated sign code. He is a strong supporter of economic development and highlights the medical incubator, along with helping to bring events to the community.

He supports the red light camera program and says it is having the desired effect. He believes his experience at this time is a valuable asset as the city struggles with its budget challenges.

Dovey is a Republican, but views his responsibilities on the council as non-partisan.

Even people who disagree with Dovey will say he is likable and reasonable.

Dovey is a seasoned campaigner and will concentrate on doorbelling, mailings and signs. He expects to raise around $10,000 for his campaign. After many years in office, his name recognition should be very high.

Dovey received a rating of “very good” from the Municipal League. He has been endorsed by the Affordable Housing Council, Casey Treat, Councilwoman Linda Kochmar and Mayor Skip Priest. If his campaign peaks at the right time, Bob Celski could be one of the more formidable opponents Dovey has encountered.

Celski has some similarities to Dovey in party persuasion and fiscal conservatism, and both have business experience. But there are also differences.

Celski supports economic development efforts, but opposed the Twin Developments project, which Dovey and a majority of the council patiently supported for many months. Celski also feels Dovey flip-flopped on his positions regarding the conversion from the council-manager to mayor-council form of government.

Celski is a West Point graduate, and has been a petroleum manager and a small businessman. He describes his approach as an “analyst of facts.” Those who know him say he is likable and approachable.

Celski recognizes that the city budget is tight, but wants the city to be known for excellence. He wants to improve the city image and would like to see better parks and ensure safety.

Celski received a “good” rating from the Municipal League. He has been endorsed by Councilman Jim Ferrell and Federal Way School Board President Tony Moore.

Celski is prepared to raise and spend $20,000 on his campaign and will put up signs, doorbell and send mailers.

If Celski wins, it could signal a change in the mayor-council relationship.

Dovey and Mayor Priest are close friends, and retiring Councilman Mike Park has also been allied with the mayor.

Celski is close to Susan Honda, who is running to replace Park, and has Ferrell’s support.

Dovey and Celski are good candidates. Dovey has council experience and name identification. Celski has good name identification for a first-time candidate, and his planned campaign budget is more than Dovey’s. This is a non-partisan race, but they will split conservative votes. Independents and Democrats may make the difference.

They have a similar philosophy, so study their positions and determine which is closer to yours — and try and attend the community debate Oct. 5 at Federal Way High School.

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