Unofficial Vashon mayor hopefuls, including two canines, a chicken, a Greek goddess and Santa Claus himself, have announced their bids to enter the annual island competition ahead of this year’s Strawberry Festival.
The candidates all launched their campaigns last month to raise money for a number of charities and nonprofits on the island.
The unofficial mayor’s race has been organized by the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce every summer for 18 years. Each candidate must select an island organization to fundraise for and declare their run to the chamber and newspapers. One dollar is one vote, and donations can be made in collection boxes set around town as well as online.
The deadline to file was July 1. The winner will be announced at the festival Beer Garden at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 20 in Vashon Village.
In related news, the chamber named Norm Mathews, founder of Vashon Island’s Thriftway Grocery Store, as Grand Marshal of this year’s festival parade, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 20.
Goliath, incumbent unofficial mayor, for Vashon Community Care (VCC)
Goliath, the gentle giant and 7-year-old Newfoundland therapy dog who has delighted islanders, seniors and VCC residents, is running for a second term as the unofficial mayor of the island.
Anne Atwell, director of development and community relations, said while Goliath’s platform of unconditional love has not changed, there is a good reason he is seeking reelection.
“The tagline is, ‘the love endures,’” she said. “With all the changes we’ve been going through at VCC, really what this reflects is the support the community has shown us, and Goliath reflects that.”
Atwell was talking about the decision of Bellevue-based nonprofit Transforming Age to end skilled nursing at their island facility in April and instead offer enhanced assisted living and memory care.
She added that one of Goliath’s magical qualities is the calming presence he brings to every room and bedside. Atwell hopes it translates to continued support for VCC.
“The residents really love him,” she said. “People just love to pet him.”
For more information and to support Goliath, visit vashoncommunitycare.org.
Kit for Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP)
Eleven-year-old golden retriever Kit has not let any challenge stop him, beginning his life as a rescue only to suffer from genetic abnormalities in his spine and most recently from bone cancer in his front leg, which was amputated last year.
But now Kit is healthy and gearing up to win as much support as he can for VIPP while demonstrating that a life well-lived is one that is filled with happiness and love. Islander Scott Harvey, Kit’s owner, spoke on behalf of the Kit campaign and said the dog’s good nature and affinity for others would make him an excellent unofficial mayor if elected.
“He’s just a really happy, good boy all the time,” said Harvey. “He really is. He’s adapted really well to hopping around on his three legs and it’s really been great.”
Harvey added that Kit, who recently made a stop at the Farmer’s Market, epitomizes the mission of VIPP. For more information and to support Kit, visit www.vipp.org or mail a check to VIPP at PO Box 245, Vashon, WA 98070 with “Kit — Unofficial Mayor” written on the “For” line.
Henrietta for Jill’s Farm Animal Rescue
This 6-year-old hen wants you to know that she speaks for all farm animals without a voice of their own.
“She wants to show everybody that farm animals have feelings and are special beings and that they deserve compassion and kindness,” said campaign spokesperson Jill Johnson.
Henrietta’s sunny-side-up disposition belies her commitment to education, said Johnson, who added that the nonprofit animal rescue organization the hen is representing promotes student outreach while providing sanctuary for a variety of farm animals.
In total, Johnson said the animal rescue is currently home to six sheep, 14 goats, 35 geese, 45 ducks, 15 turkeys and between 80 and 100 chickens. Some animals that go to Jill’s Farm need a place to live out their twilight years. Some are recovered from cases of abuse or other circumstances and need a level of care that will enable them to be regular animals again.
“They all have their own stories,” said Johnson.
To support Henrietta and Jill’s Farm Animal Rescue, visit their fundraising page on Facebook.
Eirene, the Goddess of Peace, for The DOVE Project
Islander Lynann Politte is running for unofficial mayor of Vashon as Eirene, the Goddess of Peace, in support of Vashon’s DOVE Project.
Politte, an island activist and producer known for her work in support of feminist causes, said in a press release that her focus is on advancing the rights and well-being of women and children.
“My passion is empowering women and supporting them to be all they can be. It is probably not surprising that I believe our patriarchal culture is rife with systemic sexism and a lot of other ’isms,’” she said, adding that a cultural change uplifting women is overdue in society.
For more information and to support Politte, visit vashondoveproject.org/donate.
Santa Claus for the Vashon Senior Center on Bank Road
Islander George Eustice brought smiles to children’s faces as Santa Claus for more than 18 years, and now he is bringing the big man himself to Vashon where he will campaign in support of the Senior Center on Bank Road.
“When I finally figured I could do a fair amount of justice to the attempt, I decided to run,” said Eustice, adding that whether you have been naughty or nice, your donation will go a long way toward helping with program expenses and enriching the lives of older adults on the island.
“Everybody and anybody can vote in this race as much as they wish. It’s a spoof on politics and I happen to be running for the Vashon Senior Center,” he said.
For more information and to support Eustice, visit vashonseniorcenter.org.