Year-end awards

Columnist Bob Roegner offers his annual awards to community and national leaders.

The “Big Winner” Award goes to Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell with his easy re-election victory, and the opening of the Performing Arts and Event Center.

• The “Profiles in Courage” Award goes to John McCain and his thumbs down “no” gesture on repealing Obamacare, which put people over party and restored his maverick image.

• The “Acts like Donald Trump” Award goes to Ferrell. Mr. Federal Way called him “Frump.” We hope he won’t repeat in 2018.

• The “Time to Step Up” Award goes to Federal Way City Councilman Martin Moore. Moore was elected four years ago on the strength of his compelling personal story. He was re-elected, and now it is time for him to do less pandering and show more substance.

• The “Now is Your Time” Award goes to Federal Way City Councilwoman Lydia Assefa-Dawson as she has finished her two-year apprenticeship and should start to fulfill her potential.

• The “Keep Fighting for the Homeless” Award goes to Federal Way City Councilwoman Susan Honda. Honda lost her race to become mayor, but she shouldn’t let that deter her from keeping the pressure on City Hall to help the homeless. With the new council members, she may have help.

• The “Welcome to The Seamier Side of Politics” Award goes to new City Council members Hoang Tran and Jesse Johnson. The thrill of victory helped both recover from unexpected sources attempting to undermine their campaigns.

• The “Perseverance” Award goes to the Friends of the PAEC. Despite opposition, controversy and lack of money, they persevered until the project was done and became an attractive addition to the community.

• The “We Deserve the Best School District In the State” Award goes to the Federal Way School Board, Superintendent Tammy Campbell and the residents of Federal Way for passing a much-needed facilities bond issue to build and remodel our schools.

• The “Heart of the City” Award goes to the leaders of Reach Out and our faith-based leaders who selflessly serve as the community conscience by keeping the needs of the less fortunate in front of us.

• Who would you vote for as the “Best Leader” in the Mirror’s Best of Federal Way? Superintendent Campbell? She got over 60 percent on her bond “election,” or it could be recently re-elected Mayor Ferrell, or three-time winner Councilwoman Honda.

Some are voting for Chamber of Commerce CEO Becca Martin, or would you choose one of our legislators, District 30 Sen. Mark Miloscia or state representatives Mike Pellicciotti or Kristine Reeves? Or retiring longtime City Council member Jeanne Burbidge? From where we were to where we are is huge. Campbell would seem be the front-runner.

But who is your choice?

• The “Thanks For The Memories” Award goes to departing council members Burbidge and Bob Celski and School Board member Liz Drake and Highline College President Jack Bermingham for their years of service.

Celski helped balance the council with his consistent conservative voice and his eye on taxpayer money. Burbidge was a true independent who valued progress, but with financial caution. Both were strong supporters of the PAEC and count it among their accomplishments. Drake has departed the school district board to care for her family, but her imprint as a School Board member and former administrator will be missed.

Lastly, we will miss retiring Bermingham’s regional leadership in matching economic development with education from a regional perspective. Under his watch, Highline set the standard for its commitment to cultural diversity.

As we look forward to 2018, we will still face many challenges that demand our leaders’ attention. But 2017 provided a good foundation from which to start.

Happy New Year to all our readers.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former Auburn mayor and retired public official. He can be reached at

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