At this time of year, most of us pause for the holidays and rightly focus on our family. Elections can be far from our thoughts.
However, for others who are planning to run for office in either 2012 or 2013, the campaign has already started. The public just won’t see it for a while.
But before we look ahead, we need to look back for a moment.
The year saw changes in Federal Way’s city council and school board. Two longtime council members will be leaving as will two school board members who each served one term.
Mike Park announced in June that after 16 years on the city council, he would not run again. Jack Dovey was defeated in his bid for re-election.
Park is Korean and Dovey is a businessman. Many citizens tend to think of them as advocates for those constituent groups. Park is involved in the Korean community, and his local and international contacts have been helpful to city interests. But, it would be a mistake to view his contributions so narrowly. He owns a small business and has been a strong proponent of senior needs, parks and recreation in addition to economic development. He was elected mayor twice by his colleagues. He was a leader in establishing the Federal Way Police Department.
The same applies to Dovey. He isn’t just a representative of business, although he was a leader on the medical business incubator. He also took City Hall into the neighborhoods during his time as mayor to try and connect with their needs.
Federal Way has a City Hall, low taxes, low crime rate, Celebration Park and a Community Center at least in part due to the efforts of these two men. They are thoughtful, deliberate and consensus builders. More importantly, they actually understand government, and avoid superficial answers to complex problems, a temptation of many in today’s political climate. They will be missed. They have been good public leaders.
Amye Bronson-Doherty and Suzanne Smith will be leaving the school board after only one term. That’s too bad, as they brought a sense of stability to the board at a time when it was desperately needed. They eased the transition from longtime Superintendent Tom Murphy to new Superintendent Rob Neu.
They were able to avoid issues that caused previous boards problems, and focused on improving our children’s educational opportunities. Neither was interested in self-promotion or political gain. They were school board members like you would like to think you would be if you were elected.
Mike, Jack, Amye and Suzanne, thanks for your hard work. You served your community well.
Lastly, former State Sen. Frank Warnke recently passed away. Many think of Warnke as more closely associated with Auburn, but he looked out for Federal Way’s interests as well. He worked with many legislators in South King County to make sure the whole regional area was protected and represented during his 20 years in the Legislature. Thank you, Senator Warnke.