Caleb Johns, the current unofficial mayor of Vashon, announced last week that he will run for reelection to the faux post.
In the Strawberry Festival tradition where donations to a charity count as votes, Johns is campaigning in support of the Vashon Community Care Foundation. He is up against Joe Thieme, who is running in support of Rj’s Kids, and a goat named Bandit, who is running on behalf of Vashon Youth Baseball & Softball.
Johns also ran in support of the VCC Foundation last summer. He said that growing up on Vashon, he watched some elderly people leave the island and their families for care in other places. Vashon Community Care, he said, plays an important role by allowing residents to stay on the island as they age. The care center turns no one away for lack of funds, but in recent years has relied on community fundraising to help make up for what Medicare doesn’t cover.
“I think the foundation is a fantastic addition to providing sustainability to the care center,” he said.
Johns is perhaps best known on Vashon as the farmers market manager and lead server at May Kitchen + Bar. As unofficial mayor, he has attended several local events and ribbon cuttings in the past year and even made mock mayoral proclamations. He said he enjoyed being able to fill the role and was surprised how much people appreciated his lighthearted mayoral appearances.
“I found that the actual duties … are developing into something that’s very valuable for the community,” he said.
Johns didn’t originally plan to run for reelection, he said, but was approached with the idea by VCC Foundation volunteers, who also offered to help him campaign. He’s glad to raise more money for the foundation, he said. And should he win, he looks forward to continuing his mayoral duties.
“A lot of people before me and myself have invested in something that will grow and be a valuable part of this community,” he said.
Unofficial mayor candidates can campaign and raise money until the Strawberry Festival, which will take place July 17 through 19. Donation jars are in locations around town. The winner will be announced at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the Strawberry Festival beer garden.