Susan Honda challenging Ferrell for mayor’s seat

Councilwoman Susan Honda will take on incumbent Jim Ferrell for the position of Federal Way mayor in this upcoming election.

Honda, who is serving her second term on the City Council, announced her candidacy for mayor Thursday.

“I am very excited to be announcing my candidacy for mayor of Federal Way,” Honda said in a press release. “It has been a journey to come to this decision, and I appreciate all the encouragement, mentoring and feedback from friends and supporters.”

Since first taking Federal Way public office, Honda said she has been pleased with a number of actions the council has taken, including construction of a road near 352nd Street; taking over the Brooklake property; increasing human services spending and keeping the public health building open; increasing public safety and changing the way the courts do business.

While Honda lists public safety, homelessness and economic development as three priorities if she is elected mayor, a more immediate focus would be to hire a city administrator to run day-to-day operations of city government. Honda said, when the City Council opted to transition to a strong mayor form of government prior to her coming onboard, the policy adopted included the hiring of a city administrator, but neither Ferrell, nor his predecessor, Skip Priest, chose to do that. When he first assumed office, Ferrell had Chief of Staff Brian Wilson, but after he left, that position was dissolved, and Ferrell hired Steve McNey and Yarden Weidenfeld to serve as senior advisers. Honda said, if elected, those positions would go away, in favor of the city administrator.

“A city administrator is important because we need someone who has experience running a city our size,” Honda said.

A city administrator would essentially serve as Honda’s assistant and would manage the general city operations, public relations and governmental affairs. Honda said this would allow her to establish a bigger presence in the community, region and even state. Representing the city of Federal Way and its interests at a greater level would only benefit Federal Way, Honda said, by creating relationships and developing partnerships with other cities and entities.

“We can’t be an island,” Honda said, adding, within the community, the city also needs to do a better job of working with the Chamber of Commerce and school district in forming partnerships.

If elected, Honda said she would also do a better job of providing council members as much information as possible, so they can make well-informed decisions. This is something that has been lacking under Ferrell, she said.

“One of my biggest handicaps right now is we are told things on an as-needed basis,” Honda said. “I think it’s essential we all have the same information and as much information as can be legally told to us.”

Honda, who describes herself as fiscally conservative, said it is also important for the city to live within its means, and if elected, she would make sure all the city’s priorities are re-examined to make sure money is being spent wisely and consistently. While she is in favor of hiring more police officers, she wants to be certain the city has enough money to not only fill those positions, but sustain them, as well.

Honda said, while Federal Way is only 27 years old, it has been a community for much longer and is only growing. As mayor, Honda said, she wants to bring long-established and newer residents together.

“We all have a vision for Federal Way, and it will be interesting to hear what our citizens want and need,” Honda said in an email.

Since taking office, Honda has served on a number of committees, including the Parks, Recreation, Human Service and Public Safety Committee, the Finances and Regional Committee, and the Land Use and Transportation Committee. She is also on the Federal Way Domestic Violence Task Force, the King County Domestic Violence Task Force and the King County Board of Health and is the co-chair of the Federal Way Women and Children’s Homeless Initiative. She currently is the president of the local Soroptimist Club and is the incoming co-president of the noon Kiwanis Club.

For more information on Honda’s campaign, go to www.Honda4FW.com.

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