Mirror staff reports:
Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest announced this week that he plans to seek re-election, and if re-elected, he plans to continue on the path he has set the city on in his first three years in office.
"I'm proud of the direction Federal Way is heading," Priest said in an official press release. "Over the last three years we've successfully fought through some very challenging economic times and the city is poised to take the next step to ensure that all our citizens have a great place to live, work and play."
Priest, the city's first elected mayor under the "strong mayor" form of government, feels that Federal Way has made significant strides in areas like crime, economic development and budget management.
For crime, the city recorded its lowest crime rate in 2011, something that Priest credits to the Federal Way Police Department and numerous community engagement initiatives like the Safe City camera program.
"We are committed to using a proactive rather than reactive approach to ensuring public safety in our community," Priest wrote in a news release.
In terms of economic development, Priest reports that a number of employers have moved into Federal Way, even during the Great Recession. Among those employers he noted in his news release were DaVita, Morphotrak, and the Xerox/ACS call center. A new infusion of cash into The Commons Mall from an investment group that includes Magic Johnson is also a positive note, according to Priest.
"The City Council and I have worked hard to ensure that we have the most competitive and attractive business environment possible and this strategy is already paying large dividends. In addition, I am committed to finding innovative ways to revitalize the downtown core to ensure that we have the financial resources necessary to support police, schools parks and other essential public services in the future," the mayor wrote in a news release.
Finally, Priest noted that the he's been able to keep the city's budget under control, even as other municipalities and levels of government have struggled with fixing significant financial shortfalls in recent years.
"My priority will be to keep delivering high quality services, such as great parks and roads without potholes, while continuing to strengthen the economy," he said.
Priest served on the Federal Way City Council from 1992 to 1997, including two years as an appointed mayor under the city's council-manager form of government. Priest was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002, where he served until 2010.
Priest was elected mayor in 2010, defeating current Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell with about 52 percent of the vote. In 2010, his campaign spent $39,622 compared to Ferrell, who spent $80,073.
So far, Priest is the first official candidate for the 2013 mayoral election.
Ferrell told The Mirror he will not run for mayor in 2013. He wants to focus on his family, his current city council role, and his job as a King County prosecutor.
"It's a very personal decision that affects every aspect of your life," he said, noting that he enjoys working with the incumbent mayor. "I have to just take a step back and say, 'where can I best use my skills and talents?' I enjoy being the deputy mayor."