Think holding public office sounds like fun? Then this is the year for you.
The election highlight this year will be the race for the seat in the state House currently held by appointee Rep. Carol Gregory. Gregory is a Democrat and with control of the lower House so close, this will be a hotly contested race. Some experts are guessing total spending could pass the $1 million mark.
Since Gregory’s appointment was delayed for several weeks by political maneuvering, she hasn’t raised any money, and won’t be able to until the Legislature goes home, sometime in April or May. Republicans hope to take advantage and get a head start.
In addition to Gregory, Cliff Mark Greene, who represents the Revived Citizens Party, and Councilman Martin Moore have announced their candidacy. As expected, Moore switched parties this week and will run as a Republican. There is also speculation that Council members Bob Celski and Kelly Maloney will run as well.
Moore and Maloney are not up for re-election to the City Council and can retain their seats while running. However, Celski is up this year and would have to make a choice. My guess is he stays with the Council seat. Maloney seems likely to run. Former Mayors Skip Priest and Jack Dovey have been mentioned but neither seems likely.
Other Council members up for election this year are Dini Duclos, Susan Honda and Lydia Assefa-Dawson. Duclos said on several occasions that she probably wouldn’t run again. But more recently she has seemed like a candidate. Expect her to run. Several people in the community who have run before have been anticipating Duclos would step down and they could run for her seat. If she runs, as expected, those candidates may prefer to run against someone else or wait two more years.
Honda was smart to read the tea leaves and announce early for re-election so any potential candidates would know she was serious about keeping her position. That leaves Assefa-Dawson, who was appointed to the Council, as the most vulnerable to challenge. Her best option is get started now to try and scare off any potential challengers as Honda is doing.
The two most frequently-mentioned potential candidates are Republican businessman Mark Koppang and Democratic labor representative Anthony Murietta. Both have run before, which gives them an advantage, as they will be better prepared.
Could one be persuaded to run against Duclos? The other names to watch for are Democrats Shari Song, Roger Flygare and Richard Champion. Song ran a losing race for the Senate against Miloscia last fall, while Flygare and Champion were candidates for appointment to the Legislative seat Carol Gregory was awarded. They all could run for the Legislature or City Council or not run at all.
The school board could be very interesting as incumbents Claire Wilson and Danny Peterson are up for re-election. Both look like they are running. Hiroshi Eto was appointed to the board and will have to run this fall, as will whomever is appointed to Gregory’s seat when she steps down in March.
The school board is elected by district so if you want to run, check which district you live in. Like most offices, appointees are usually the most vulnerable, but the school board had a lot of controversy last year and we will have to watch for any affect on Wilson and Peterson.
South King Fire and Rescue board of fire commissioners has been very controversial in the past few years as incumbent Mark Freitas has fought a lonely battle against the cozy relationship between the board and its administration. Freitas and John Rickert are up this year and if Freitas decides to run again, watch for the fire district administration and some board members to wage a hard battle to defeat him.
Until the community decides to consolidate all the separate governments into one, we will have plenty of offices to choose from. And in case you think I have forgotten about my favorite board, we even have a board for sewer lovers.
Lakehaven Utility District has two positions up for re-election this year that are currently held by Commissioners Chuck Gibson and Ron Nowicki. Water and sewers may sound boring, but many current office holders got their political start on utility or fire boards.
Federal Way has something for everyone’s interest and running for office can be so much fun!
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn: email@example.com.