News

Council incumbent draws heavy opposition

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

Federal Way City Council incumbent Jeanne Burbidge will face competition for her seat, after all.

Three other contenders — Bill Foulkes, Mark Walsh and Gayla Hardison — filed for the Position 4 race just under the filing deadline last Friday.

Walsh was unavailable for comment Monday, but both Foulkes and Hardison said they want to see more emphasis by the council on local business interests.

As a former volunteer on several city committees and commissions, Foulkes said he already is familiar with city issues. He served on the Parks Commission, the Human Services Commission and the Municipal Facility Advisory Committee, which reviewed options and ultimately recommended against building a new City Hall downtown.

Several weeks after the committee’s recommendation, the council received an offer for the former Paragon building located on Eighth Avenue South for several million dollars less than the city was expecting to pay for a new City Hall.

Foulkes works for Hammes Company, a local healthcare consulting firm, and is the president of Federal Way National Little League.

Foulkes said he’ll use his business background — he has a masters of business administration from the University of Colorado — to make Federal Way “a better place to live, work and own a business.”

He’s running for the council in an effort to make city government more responsive to business interests and property owners, he said.

“So often, individual citizens and businesses are shut out of the process so that the vision of a few people can be put in motion without meaningful public debate,” he said. “Sometimes it feels that the decisions of the council are already made before citizens can be heard on crucial issues. That practice must come to an end.”

Hardison said she’s running to bring a better balance of business priorities to the council.

“Federal Way needs to be more business friendly, and more business friendly on a small business level. There are a lot of hoops being made for people and the community,” she said. “By having a strong business base, I know we can improve employment here. We can improve Federal Way overall by making all areas strong. I see great steps being made to prepare, but I sincerely have my doubts whether long-term we can support those things without increasing taxes.”

Hardison owned a business in Federal Way — Griffin Resources of Washington — and lives and works in the city. She said wants to change the council to favor businesses in Federal Way.

“Several (council members) do not seem to be business-friendly,” she said. “As long as we have that train of thought, business won’t be able to grow.”

Two other council incumbents, Linda Kochmar and Eric Faison, are up for election this fall. Only Faison, who faces social services leader Dini Duclos, has opposition. No one filed to run against Kochmar.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-55645, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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