Who will be the political newsmakers in 2013? | Roegner

It will be hard to top the political drama of 2012. But it will still be an exciting year as the politics turn local.

The mayor’s office is up for election to a four-year term.  Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest was elected to a three-year term to match with this election cycle. He has been making movements that suggest he is running again. Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell has also been making contacts that suggest an interest. But there may be others.

In January, the Federal Way City Council will appoint two new members of the council to replace Linda Kochmar and Roger Freeman, who were elected to the state Legislature. The two appointees and Councilmember Jeanne Burbidge will then stand for election in the fall. Given the number of  candidates that have mentioned an interest in being appointed, we could have some good races if those not appointed decide to run.

Freeman is a Democrat and was appointed vice-chairman of the committee on Early Learning and Human Services. He is in a good position to help with Federal Way’s education and social service needs. Since he is in the majority party, expectations for him are higher than Kochmar, who is in the minority party. Can he deliver?

Kochmar isn’t off the hook. She will still have to show if she can work the system to benefit the 30th District and Federal Way.

State Sens. Tracey Eide, a Democrat, and Joe Fain, a Republican, are in very powerful positions and the pressure will be on them to lead the way on education and transportation issues that are critical — both locally and statewide. Both of their terms are up in two years and they need to start building toward re-election.

After the public show of confidence in Federal Way Public Schools, will the standards grading issue subside? What new projects will Superintendent Rob Neu come up with?

What will be new Gov. Jay Inslee’s impact on state government? Will the Senate function, or will House Speaker  Frank Chopp run the show?

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer’s position is up this year, and though he hasn’t confirmed whether he will run again, political insiders expect that he will.

King County Executive Dow Constantine is also up, and so far, no challenger has been making the rounds.

There will also be elections for the Federal Way School Board. Angela Griffin and Ed Barney are up for election. Also, Lakehaven Utility District, South King Fire and Rescue, and both Federal Way Municipal Court judge positions are up.

Will a South King County resident emerge as a contender for appointment to the Port of Seattle commission?

The Seattle Times was a newsmaker in 2012. The newspaper took a controversial leap and not only endorsed Rob McKenna for governor, but gave an in-kind donation worth $75,000 of  print space to McKenna’s campaign. The move raised ethical questions, but it was an attempt to demonstrate the influence of advertising in the Times to future candidates.

McKenna was a good candidate, but he got only 37 percent in Seattle — the Times’ home turf. Will they try it again in this year’s mayoral race?

Is this finally the year that we see some significant progress with downtown development in Federal Way?

Sound Transit will be releasing an alternative analysis, looking at I-5 and Highway 99, for extension of light rail. The route selected will help determine our future growth.

What does the community want as a preferred route?

With gun control emerging as an issue after Newtown, Conn., will the mayor and city council — who have previously ducked the debate — finally ask themselves and the community “what would we be doing right now if it had happened here?” Some legislators are signaling a plan to raise the issue in Olympia, and we have two former council members who are now legislators. Linda Kochmar is even on the Local Government Committee. Will our mayor and council  lead? If so, in what direction?

Who will be the biggest newsmakers of 2013? We’ll see as the year unfolds.

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