After three tie votes ending a five-and-a-half hour meeting, Mayor Jim Ferrell exercised power to select Leandra Craft as the Federal Way City Council’s newest member for Position 5 on Oct. 15.
Craft, a Federal Way resident of more than 20 years, is a deputy prosecuting attorney for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office specializing in incarceration alternatives and prosecuting hate crimes. She is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science from Santa Clara University. She also serves on the executive board of the Filipino Lawyers of Washington.
At the Thursday night meeting, five finalists for the position were interviewed throughout the meeting, with Craft and Jack Dovey emerging as the final two candidates.
After two consecutive roll call votes ended in ties, as well as a failed motion by Council member Martin Moore to continue the process to Tuesday night, Mayor Jim Ferrell cast a vote for Craft on the third roll call, breaking the 3-3 tie.
“It’s certainly something I had great reservation about. I wanted to give the council the full opportunity [to decide]. I did come to the conclusion that I thought they were deadlocked,” Ferrell said about making the final decision. “And I’m glad I did.”
On all three of the split votes, Council members Hoang Tran, Greg Baruso and Lydia Assefa-Dawson voted for Craft, while Council members Martin Moore, Linda Kochmar and Council President Susan Honda voted for Dovey.
Ferrell said he was impressed by the amount of research Craft had conducted, with her interview, including understanding the intricacies of the city’s budget, and her ideas for the future of Federal Way, balancing both the development of downtown with the interest of the nearly 100,000 residents.
“The way she conducted herself through this process and who she is as a person, I think she’s going to represent Federal Way in an exemplary fashion,” Ferrell said.
Craft was chosen over former mayor Dovey, who also previously served for 14 years on city council. Ferrell, referring to Dovey as a great person and a friend, thanked Dovey for his commitment and services to the community, and said he believed Craft deserved the opportunity to serve.
Ferrell, a former prosecuting attorney, never crossed paths with Craft in the industry. However, her employment and her work at the King County Prosecutor’s Office is an indication of her intellect and commitment.
Being a prosecutor is not just about putting people in jail, Ferrell said, it’s ultimately about helping people.
“When I heard her talk about that job, I saw somebody who got it,” he said. “The job of a council member is about service and about helping our neighbors and our friends. I think she understands that and gets it.”
As noted on her application, Craft’s top priorities as a council member are to bring more funding resources to Federal Way and South King County, to empower youth by strengthening the Youth Commission and other opportunities, and working towards transit-oriented development in response to the incoming Sound Transit light rail.
Craft will serve in the Position 5 previously held by Mark Koppang, who resigned in July. Her term will run through December 31, 2021. By statute, the election for the position will be held in November 2021.