Elections

Question #5: How would you shape Federal Way's role on the regional stage? | Mayor candidates

Federal Way
Federal Way's mayor candidates, left to right: Mike Park, Jim Ferrell, Linda Kochmar and Skip Priest.
— image credit: Courtesy photos

The Mirror is offering Federal Way mayoral candidates an opportunity to speak to readers in their own words. Below, the candidates answer the question: How would you shape Federal Way’s role on the regional stage?

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Jim Ferrell

First, Federal Way has been well-served by the representation on regional committees by our council members, each with their own expertise. As mayor, I would encourage them to continue their work on these committees. Additionally, the city needs a representative on the Sound Transit board because of our strategic interests in transportation planning. As mayor, I would serve on several of these regional committees as well, representing the people of this community.

Second, we need to continue with our dialogue with our county officials, state legislators and members of Congress. As mayor, I will further build on my relationships with these officials to ensure that Federal Way gets the state and federal investment we need for important projects.

Third, we must actively recruit new businesses and organizations to come to Federal Way and invite them to invest in our community. To do this, we must provide an environment that is inviting by providing infrastructure development, a vibrant city core, a downtown park and safe public spaces.

Fourth, we must ensure that our city encourages growth and innovation. Word will soon get out that Federal Way is an excellent place to do business and to start a business. An example of this is our support of a small business incubator, in coordination with the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

Lastly, we need to promote Federal Way as a tourism destination, due to our proximity to the mountains, Puget Sound, Wild Waves, the Aquatic Center, Celebration Park and neighboring cities.

Fast facts: Ferrell was first elected to city council in 2003, then re-elected in 2007. Last fall, Ferrell led an effort with voters that created the elected mayor position. He works as a King County prosecuting attorney.

Website: www.voteferrell.com

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Linda L. Kochmar

Your city council members have represented you on the following regional committees:

• Regional Policy Committee

• Municipal Solid Waste Management Committee

• Regional Transit Committee

• South County Area Transportation Policy Board

• Growth Management Planning Council

• South King County Human Services Forum

• Regional Law Safety and Justice Committee

• King County Flood Control Zone

• Seattle King County Economic Development Council

• Enterprise Seattle

• Human Services Steering Committee

• Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board

• Growth Management Planning Board

• Regional Transit Committee

• Valley Communications Executive Board

• SCORE

• Transportation Improvement Board

• Suburban Cities Association Executive Board

I was elected by 37 other council members and mayors to serve as chair of the Suburban Cities Public Issues Committee and on the executive board. I’ve also served on the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board and on many of the committees listed above.

Although Federal Way is currently well represented on the regional stage, as your mayor, I will propose the following:

• Join the U.S. Conference of Mayors. There are many grant opportunities available for cities in this organization and membership would allow the city to take a position on the national stage.

• Become active in the Association of Washington Cities and National League of Cities to provide networking and lobbying opportunities.

• Form a coalition of neighboring cities to collaborate on issues of mutual concern.

• Form a steering committee of business leaders to advise on economic development opportunities.

Fast facts: Kochmar was first elected to the city council in 1997, and was appointed mayor under the current form of government in January. She works as a risk manager with Lakehaven Utility District.

Website: www.lindakochmar.com

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Mike Park

As King County’s fourth largest city, centrally located between Seattle and Tacoma, Federal Way plays an important role in the region. Federal Way has been underrepresented in the King County and state budgets, and as your new mayor, I will fight for our fair share of monies to attract business investment, reduce traffic and keep families safe. I will also initiate partnerships with other mayors in King County to learn what has worked for them, so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel in Federal Way.

I will lobby the state on Federal Way’s behalf for important traffic and infrastructure programs, such as the Triangle Project. Initiated while I was mayor in 2000, this project is absolutely vital to Federal Way. It will reduce accidents in one of the most accident prone areas of the city, and reduce traffic in the city center. Only about 60 percent of the project’s $200 million budget is secure, and as mayor I will fight for the rest. While mayor in 2006, I hosted an event for Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Sheriff Dave Reichert and Representative Adam Smith, where I took them on a bus ride through the impacted area and explained to them the problem, and I will continue to use innovative means to champion our interests.

I’m also currently lobbying with Interim Police Chief Andy Hwang for the Cops Grant fund, a federal program available to cities facing budget deficits, because I want to ensure that family safety is not compromised for the budget.

Fast facts: Park was appointed to the city council in June 1995, won re-election in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007, and served as Federal Way's mayor from 2000-2001 and 2006-2007. He owns Midway Cleaners in Kent.

Website: www.votepark.com

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Skip Priest

Federal Way is at a crossroads. Demand for essential services is increasing while revenues are decreasing. Regional cooperation has never been more important. As mayor, I will provide strong leadership in this arena to promote our city's priorities.

The city's effective participation in regional policy bodies like Sound Transit, or the Puget Sound Regional Council, depends on the mayor's ability to articulate the city's needs while maximizing the value of existing leadership roles developed by current council members. This is particularly true in three areas:

• Jobs. The mayor's success at bringing jobs to our city will depend on his/her credibility and experience. As a longtime business owner, a legislative task force leader that kept Boeing in our state, and a recent trustee of the governor's bio-tech Life Sciences Discovery Fund, I have the background to promote our city's unique strengths regionally and will aggressively do so.

• Public safety. Our police department's implementation of auto theft legislation I authored provides an outstanding example of regional coordination. Working together, city and county agencies have dramatically reduced car theft in Federal Way and the Puget Sound area. As mayor, I will actively promote this approach to reduce the growing number of organized home break-ins that threaten our neighborhood safety.

• Transportation. Improved streets and freeway access are essential to economic development and quality of life. I'll emphasize the local, state and federal partnerships necessary to fund major infrastructure projects such as the 348th Street "Triangle Project" and connecting light rail to Federal Way.

Fast facts: Priest served on the Federal Way City Council from 1991 to 1997, including two years as an appointed mayor under the city's current council-manager form of government. Priest was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002. He will forgo re-election to the Legislature in order to run for mayor of Federal Way.

Website: www.skippriest.com

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LEARN MORE

The Mirror is offering Federal Way mayoral candidates an opportunity to speak to readers in their own words. Each candidate received a list of questions about their goals and vision.

Their answers will appear the next four Saturdays in The Mirror. A debate among the four mayoral candidates is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. July 19 at Federal Way High School.

Questions? E-mail editor@federalwaymirror.com.

A debate for Legislature candidates is slated for 6 p.m. July 26 at Federal Way High School. Stay tuned for information about these candidates.

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