The biggest race in the state this year is right here in Federal Way between Democratic incumbent legislator Carol Gregory and Republican challenger Teri Hickel.
Tomorrow is Halloween, but don’t get tricked into voting for a candidate by some inaccurate or misleading mailings or television commercials. Anything that isn’t from the candidate or endorsed by the candidate came from a special interest group that has its own agenda. And it may not be the same as yours. Only read or listen to pieces from the candidates themselves. If they put their name on it then at least listen or read. But with the ways things get stretched, you still need to be careful.
Gregory has more relevant experience than Hickel, although Hickel has a significant community involvement background. However, in the endorsements that count, Gregory got the endorsement of the Federal Way Mirror, while Hickel got the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune. Gregory received a “very good” from the Municipal League and Hickel received an “Outstanding.” Hickel led coming out of the primary, but based on mailings Gregory is closing the gap. Big turnout favors Gregory, light turnout favors Hickel. Forecast is a low turnout, outside Seattle.
In the council races, look for incumbent Dini Duclos to retain her seat. However, P.K. Thumbi may have closed the gap with a late television push. Appointed incumbent Lydia Assefa-Dawson should hold off under-financed and unknown Mark Greene to get a full term. In retiring Councilman Bob Celski’s open seat, front runner Mark Koppang has lost a little ground to first-time candidate Julie Hiller but he still is likely to win. Hiller should have started sooner.
The only race for the school board is between incumbent Claire Wilson and former board member Angela Griffin. Good race, good candidates! Wilson has been in the right place at the right time and voters may want to keep the current team in place and see how they do with the new superintendent. Advantage Wilson.
For the board of commissioners at the South King Fire and Rescue, Bill Fuller should win. He started his campaign as the moderate voice of change against the more-edged voice for change Jerry Galland and insiders choice Roger Flygare. In an upset, Fuller was leading out of the primary, with Galland eliminated.
But most of Fuller’s lead was likely do to his willingness to challenge the status quo at South King Fire and Rescue. Challenge it in a reasonable manner, but still challenge it. Predictably, as the front runner, at the last debate he had already started to soften his comments. But that might also cost him some votes. At the same time, Flygare had added just a slight edge of willingness to open up a small debate on the transparency of keeping commission minutes. Flygare was trying to pull some votes from Fuller. However, the biggest threat to Fuller isn’t his softened position, or Flygare trying to change his image. It is Galland who is running as a write-in candidate. He isn’t likely to win, but Galland could pull enough votes away from Fuller to give the race the Flygare. Makes you wonder what may have gone on behind the scenes for Galland to try and gain votes?
The bond for the fire district improvements should pass this time. They were only a few points short last time, the amount is now lower and the fire district has worked to answer questions. However, if it does pass, the fire district needs to be careful how they interpret the results.
There is still a lot of voter mistrust that needs to be addressed.
In county races, current deputy elections Director Julie Wise should win over legislator Zach Hudgins. Incumbent Assessor Lloyd Hara is still the front runner over his former Deputy John Wilson but this race might get closer. Since both are Democrats, the Seattle turnout will be critical. Seattle has City Council elections that are hotly contested and could bring a heavy turnout.
Voters made marijuana legal statewide. However, in Federal Way a majority of the City Council continued to use their legislative authority to stop retail shops from opening. The mayor and council made an agreement to ask the voters a slightly different question and place an advisory vote on the November ballot to resolve the dispute. The question now is whether to allow marijuana businesses.
Only four would be allowed. Next door in Auburn they don’t report any difficulty with the shops. But the “no” committee has been far more active than the “yes” committee.
Despite the rumor that a couple of council members would vote to continue the moratorium no matter what the voters think, the advisory vote should pass. Although it might be closer.
Remember to vote. It gives you the right to complain.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn: firstname.lastname@example.org.