Eastside Voter Guide
Councilmember John Stokes includes all voices and perspectives in policy debates at the city of Bellevue. Although we may disagree on certain policies he has supported, when it comes to the most pressing issues facing businesses and the community, Stokes has taken a lead. He has worked on the city’s efforts to address incentive-based affordable housing and homelessness, and views maintaining a business-friendly environment in Bellevue as one of the city’s many goals
Integrity, intelligence and energy in local governance are sought after qualities in today’s dissonant political environment. Stephanie Walter has demonstrated those leadership traits as a member of the East Bellevue Community Council and former Chair of the Bellevue Planning Commission. An effective community organizer, Stephanie helped establish a balanced approach to protecting single family neighborhoods while increasing affordable housing and density in Downtown. While serving as chair of the Bellevue Planning Commission, Stephanie helped guide responsible and accountable growth to accommodate expanding businesses, commercial construction and jobs. We are confident that Stephanie Walter’s leadership and vast experience will foster Bellevue’s future success as a model city in which to work, live and play.
In her first term, Councilmember Zahn proved to be a pragmatic decision-maker who believes a vibrant and thriving business community is essential to Bellevue’s success. She also brings a valuable understanding of construction contracting issues to the City Council. As Bellevue grows, she is uniquely suited to ensure our community receives the greatest benefit for every public dollar spent on capital projects ranging from roads and bridges to schools and incentive-based affordable housing. We also recognize the councilmember’s accessibility and open-mindedness on issues relating to land use and transportation. We hope the employer community can count on her leadership on issues relating to the business climate, job creation and the cost of general government, if reelected.
We offer an early and enthusiastic endorsement for incumbent Jennifer Robertson. First elected in 2009, she was reelected in 2015 with over 80% of the vote because she is a champion for neighborhoods and the business community alike. An attorney by training and trade, Robertson is the undisputed leader on land use policy and was a driving force behind the Downtown Livability Initiative, the first major update to Bellevue’s land use code for Downtown since 1981. More recently, Robertson has championed interim improvements to the Emergency Men’s Homeless Shelter at Lincoln Center, to ensure year-round operations until a new facility can be built. Both employers and residents need Jennifer Robertson’s leadership on the Bellevue City Council.
Bellevue was settled in 1869 by William Meydenbauer and Aaron Mercer, who claimed homestead tracts several miles apart. Prior to the opening of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in 1940, Bellevue was a rural area with little development. Nearly 80 years later, all that has changed.
Councilmember Armondo Pavone’s 30 years of business ownership and community involvement, all in Renton, make him uniquely qualified to lead the executive office. His deep family roots in the community and his positive and inclusive attitude would serve the city well. It is notable that his former campaign rival and Renton council Colleague, Ruth Perez, recently endorsed Pavone for the general election. She joins The Seattle Times editorial board and the outgoing mayor, Denis Law, in backing Pavone’s election. In concluding his endorsement letter, Law states: “Armondo Pavone has the right mix of leadership experience, business acumen, and dedication to public service that will make him a strong mayor for our community.” Pavone is well positioned to continue the legacy of Mayor Denis Law, while further elevating Renton’s leadership role at the regional level.
In the race for vacant Council Position #3, Valerie O’Halloran is a strong candidate. With a long civic resume and a list of endorsements from business, labor, and community groups citywide, O’Halloran will be able to hit the ground running. With the retirement of current Mayor Dennis Law and Council President Don Persson, the Renton City Council will need someone who has a finger on the pulse of the community to fill this position. In a community where neighborhood politics matter, Valerie is a candidate with deep roots. We like her opponent, Renton Chamber Board Chair James Alberson and hope he will continue to deepen his resume and seek appointment to a City board or commission. For this election, however, Valerie O’Halloran is our choice.
It’s one thing to celebrate young leaders for winning an election, but it is entirely more appropriate to raise up those who have been effective once placed in that position of power and trust. Ryan McIrvin deserves re-election for his accomplishments, his collaborative character, and his deep community connections. He is well-versed with issues facing the business community from his years serving the Association of REALTORS. As Chair of the City of Renton Transportation Committee he is charged with the delicate job of balancing the mobility needs of neighborhood commuters and 737 wing assemblies. He has shown his capacity to help lead Renton’s promising future.
For the first time since 2007, Redmond Mayor John Marchione will not be on the mayoral ballot. Redmond voters have the choice between three candidates. We endorse Angela Birney. First elected in 2015, Councilmember Birney has represented Redmond on regional bodies such as the Cascade Water Alliance, King County Board of Health and Eastside Transportation Partnership. These assignments have prepared her to serve as a strong mayor and will give her instant credibility with other elected officials in the region.
A former middle school science teacher, PTSA and Lake Washington Schools Foundation leader, Birney has deep community roots and will be a consensus builder. While not from a business background, she seeks to address the challenge of housing affordability while bringing with her a firm grasp of the transportation issues unique to Redmond and the Eastside. We look forward to hearing more from her about workforce housing solutions and those directed at the “missing middle.”
Incumbent Hank Myers has been a knowledgeable voice for the business community on the Redmond City Council. Since his first election in 2007, He he’s also developed a thoughtful reputation on issues relating to environmental protection, representing Redmond on the local Hazardous Waste Management Coordinating Committee (LHWMCC) and the Salmon Recovery Council.
In the community, Myers has been a voice for tolerance and diversity in a time of political division. Following vandalism against the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond in 2016, he spoke to the need for need for a community response to this incident, including voluntary repairs to the facility and citizen patrols. Hank Myers has earned another term on the Redmond City Council.
Hank Margeson has held a variety of leadership positions since his first election in 2007. He’s been chosen by his colleagues to serve as Council President and Vice-President, as well as chair of the Finance, Administration, and Planning and Public Works Committees. At the regional level, Hank has represented his community well on the Sound Cities Association (SCA) Board of Directors, the PSRC Growth Management Policy Board and the King County Open Space Advisory Committee. Each of these assignments require tact, diplomacy and a grasp of complex policy .
Most important, Hank’s business background and his solid record of community service with Hopelink, Redmond Derby Days and as a youth soccer and baseball coach, all point to his skills as a consensus builder. Hank is the type of leader our region needs now more than even. We’ve endorsed Hank in each of his previous campaigns and recommend him for a fourth term.
Redmond, like many other Eastside cities, is on the rise. It faces challenges with growth and infrastructure that demand connected and energetic elected leaders. Vanessa Kritzer has the potential to be one of these leaders. A former student Regent at the University of Washington and Redmond Planning Commission member, Vanessa has experience locally and nationally in making government work. For Redmond voters, her experience in harnessing technology and innovation in the public sector comes at the right time and in the right place.
During his three terms on the Redmond City Council, David Carson has been a steadfast voice for both fiscal restraint and economic development. As a member of the City’s Lodging and Tax Advisory Committee, Carson has been a strong advocate for tourism, marketing and other activities designed to broaden Redmond’s economic base – including promotion of microbreweries and wineries and using festival proceeds to benefit victims of domestic violence. We’ve endorsed Carson in each of his previous campaigns and are pleased to do so again.
Redmond has a strong Mayor/Council, non-partisan form of government. Seven Council Members and the Mayor, all representing the community at large, are each elected directly by the people for staggered four-year terms. The City Council adopts the City budget, establishes law and policy, approves appropriations and contracts, levies taxes and grants franchises.
There is growing pressure on Mercer Island to reject initiatives that would keep the island community on pace with our growing cosmopolitan region. David Rosenbaum sees another path forward. Instead, David wants to help Mercer Island grow with the region while maintaining its high quality of life. David thinks the city can do more to help small businesses prosper and seek to return the city to a responsible fiscal footing.
We like David’s pragmatic approach to government. Should he achieve election, we hope he will sharpen his position on rent control and right-of-way acquisitions by utilities, two issues of importance to the Eastside business community.
We’re pleased that Wendy Weiker has chosen to run for a second term on the Mercer Island City Council. A true pro-jobs consensus-builder, she has been a powerful voice for Mercer Island on regional issues. At a time when some voices advocate a return to an “Island mentality,” Wendy has used her skills, relationships, and values to chart a pragmatic path on issues as difficult as growth and transportation. A graduate of the UW Evans School with an MPA, she understands that complex public policy challenges require both complex thought AND common sense. Prior to her election, she served as a member of the Town Center Visioning Group and we think she is well-positioned to lead discussions on the future vitality of Mercer Island’s business district.
As with many smaller communities on the Eastside, Mercer Island is experiencing some significant budgetary issues that will need forward thinking and tough decisions. Craig’s professional background and passion will bring a thoughtful and levelheaded approach to those vexing issues. He understands the difference between one-time cuts and ongoing, sustainable efficiencies in municipal government. These are tough conversations, but need to take place.
We believe he will help chart a needed balance between growth in the downtown core, island mobility, quality of life, and environmental stewardship. In addition, as the current vice-chair of the Planning Commission, we’re confident he’ll advocate for an inclusive approach to implementing the adopted Town Center Vision, one which is needed to preserve existing small merchants while attracting new businesses.
Issaquah – Sammamish – Kirkland
The Issaquah City Council needs a young, energetic, pro-jobs candidate. Tim Flood is that person. He’s a fiscal hawk, an environmental and social progressive, and a thoughtful advocate for badly needed transportation improvements. Tim has a strong record as a community volunteer with organizations as diverse as Eastside Baby Corner and Washington Conservation Voters. In his second run for Council, Tim Flood is the right candidate to help build Issaquah’s future.
Local politics in Sammamish can sometimes be perplexing. In the past, we’ve endorsed candidates who were fiscally conservative and opposed to new business taxes. These issues remain important to the business community, but as important is maintaining stability and predictability for the business community at City Hall. This year, we endorse Karen McKnight because we believe that addressing congestion and improving the quality of life in Sammamish will require that Sammamish residents have a place to shop, congregate, and work closer to home. Karen has lived in Sammamish since before incorporation, is a longtime real estate professional and businesswoman, and is the current president of the Sammamish Chamber. Karen’s plan for a viable commercial core that preserves single family neighborhoods strikes the balance that Sammamish businesses and residents deserve.
When considering which candidates to interview this year, we could have given Toby Nixon a free pass, based upon his consistent support of the business community over his long tenure as an elected official. Despite our past endorsements, Toby took nothing for granted and was pleased to make made his case for re-election based upon core principles such as limiting taxes and the regulatory burden on small and medium-sized businesses, compassion for those most in need, and open and transparent government at all levels.
Toby Nixon is a true citizen politician with a broad civic and political resume including two terms in the Legislature, a stint as a King County Fire District Commissioner, and community service assignments with Attain Housing, Lake Washington Schools Foundation and Youth Eastside Services, to name a few. We enthusiastically support Toby Nixon for another term.
Port of Seattle Commission
While Fred Felleman is known as a voice for environmental responsibility at the Port, we think he’s also done an excellent job as a spokesman for economic sustainability and responsible growth. We like his emphasis on trade and tourism, and his work to entice returning airline or cruise ship passengers to spend a few days here enjoying all our region has to offer.
Fred’s commitment to the Port’s increasing involvement on the Eastside is more than lip service. He has worked to raise awareness of the economic opportunities of the Eastside rail corridor and has expressed a willingness to partner in furthering those efforts.
The Port of Seattle is a countywide government, which needs leaders who understand the broad interests of our region. Former Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger has a clear track record of listening to all voices and building consensus that can advance the prosperity of our area’s economy and quality of life. Degginger has a deep understanding of the major role the Port plays in economic development across our region and will be an advocate for continued investment in communities on both sides of Lake Washington.
Founded in 1911, the Port of Seattle is a special-purpose municipal corporation serving the citizens of King County; its mission is to create good jobs here and across the state by advancing trade and commerce, promoting manufacturing and maritime growth, and stimulating economic development.