Leavenworth Mayor Carl Florea is running for re-election in order to keep his seat.

This year, Florea will be entering the August primary with mayoral candidates Rich Brinkman and Becki Subido.

Florea said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to bring more affordable housing opportunities to the City of Leavenworth.

Throughout his time in office, Florea has repeatedly stated his commitment to adding workforce housing to the upper valley community.

“We don't have housing, not just our hospitality workforce, but those who work at the hospital, those who work at the school district, mid-management level [employees] can't even afford to be here,” Florea said. “I believe a community needs diversity if it's going to be a true community. I don't want us to become just a resort.”

The mayor said that he encountered a small setback when he was first elected, stating he was limited on what he could accomplish due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, a portion of the community shared their dislike of Florea's role as mayor after a Change.org petition began to circulate. The petition asked for Florea’s resignation after publishing a community letter that denounced systemic racism.

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Florea shared that in the past three years, city hall has been working on redeveloping the Osborn Elementary School site, closed down Front Street to make it more pedestrian friendly, and altered the lighting ceremonies to the Village of Lights.

Previously, the city turned all of their Christmas lights on at the same time. However, Florea said that led to intense overcrowding and prompted a change to their procedure.

“By spreading that out by losing that one magic moment, we just have a ton more magic moments, so it wasn't a loss, it was just gaining more,” Florea said. “It's been good for the business, it’s good for the town.”

Regarding the recent Oktoberfest legal debacle with Projekt Bayern, parties on both sides agreed to settle their lawsuit out of court. 

Last year, both the city and Projekt Bayern held opposing Oktoberfest events within the Wenatchee Valley, with the city holding an event in Leavenworth and Projekt Bayern holding one in Wenatchee at Town Toyota Center.

“We got so much positive feedback from that, both from locals and downtown. Lots of people just avoided Oktoberfest, the locals did, and now they were able to go back to it.” Florea said. “We want to keep that going and I feel real happy about doing that.”

He said that the festival began to outgrow the town’s capacity, with the city wanting to make it more family-friendly and sell local ales over imported German beer.

Florea said he has dedicated his life to building community, co-founding Upper Valley MEND, a nonprofit that provides food and housing assistance. He also previously served on both the Leavenworth city council and planning commission, the Cascade School Board of Directors, and the Board for the Housing Authority of Chelan County.

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