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Ferrell officially kicks off campaign for Federal Way mayor
City council member Jim Ferrell officially kicked off his campaign to become Federal Way's first elected mayor.
More than 130 supporters attended a breakfast April 20 at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club. The event netted $10,000, said campaign manager Steve McNey, who expects to reach $20,000 in total contributions for the month of April.
McNey recently relocated from Florida to Federal Way to run Ferrell's campaign. McNey helped Ferrell get elected to the city council in 2003, then worked to pass Proposition One in 2009, creating the position of elected mayor in Federal Way.
"It's also a big day for the folks who believed in an idea," Ferrell said at the breakfast, thanking supporters who helped change Federal Way's form of government. "We led a truly grass-roots effort and stood up to the political class in this community."
Ferrell outlined his three priorities as Federal Way's mayor, should he win the election:
• Protect taxpayers from unnecessary capital projects: Ferrell cited his past opposition to taxpayers funding part of a performing arts center in Federal Way. The project came with a proposed price tag between $50 million and $70 million.
• Fighting crime: He said a September 2009 shooting illustrated the need for a strong mayor. As mayor, he wants to deter violent crime at the transit center by establishing a police substation and increasing police presence. "People will only invest in and move to Federal Way if they feel safe," he said.
• Economic development: If businesses fail, this community fails, Ferrell said. As mayor, he wants to protect and bring living wage jobs to Federal Way.
When first elected to city council in 2003, Ferrell asked fellow council members to consider an ombudsman who would listen to concerns from Federal Way residents, he said.
"My colleagues wouldn't go for it, but we got one now," Ferrell said. "It's called a mayor."
Federal Way resident Richard Schultz attended Tuesday's breakfast, and said Ferrell earned his vote by listening. Schultz has had "a running battle" with code compliance in his neighborhood near Mirror Lake, he said. Frustrated by what he saw as a lack of response from the city, Schultz called Ferrell with a complaint regarding garbage in a neighbor's yard.
"Next thing I know, I got calls from the police," Schultz said. "Never once was there an ‘I'm too busy.’ ... Jim was right there to communicate, step up and get involved."
Federal Way City Council member Michael Park and Mayor Linda Kochmar have also announced their candidacies for elected mayor. The filing deadline for candidates is June 7-11. A primary election will be held Aug. 17. The general election will take place Nov. 2.
Last fall, voters approved an initiative to change Federal Way's government, replacing the city manager and appointed mayor with a strong elected mayor who earns $112,800 a year.
Ferrell and McNey spearheaded the effort to pass Proposition 1 in one of Federal Way's most controversial elections. After the measure passed with about 51 percent of the vote, Ferrell declared his candidacy for mayor.
About 55 percent of voters rejected the same initiative in 2008. Afterward, Federal Way resident and Accountability Comes to Town (ACT) president Roy Parke led another signature drive to get the initiative on the November 2009 ballot.
Ferrell said that backing Proposition One was the right thing to do for Federal Way, regardless of criticism. Last fall, opponents of Proposition One cited concerns of potential corruption and mismanagement in a strong mayor form of government.
"We need somebody in the mayor's office who will stand up for what's right, even if it's not popular," Ferrell told attendees at the April 20 breakfast. "We need that kind of leadership."
Ferrell, a King County prosecuting attorney, was first elected to city council in 2003, then re-elected in 2007.
To learn more, visit voteferrell.com or call (863) 450-8225.
VIDEO: Proposition One
The video below documents the passage of Proposition One in November 2009: