By Bob Roegner, Inside Politics
If we had voted to change Federal Way’s form of government last February, we would be asking publicly a question that was repeatedly asked quietly behind the scenes:
Who would have run for mayor?
The position would have been up for election this fall for a three-year term. The three-year term would place the position on the local election cycle so it would be up for election again in 2011 with city council seats.
The election campaign would have been put together on very short notice, effectively Feb. 20, so name familiarity and the ability to raise money would be huge.
So, who would have run? What names did I hear? Who were people speculating about?
First, let me say most of the folks did not specifically say they would run, although some were certainly considering it based on several scenarios. Others might actually be surprised to learn that voters were musing about their possible candidacy more than they were.
Two of the most logical and prominent names I heard were Superintendent of Schools Tom Murphy and Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Pierson. Besides their first names, they also have another similarity. Neither one lives here.
Pierson lives in Milton, a couple of minutes away. And through a quirk of fate when I was mayor of Auburn, the future growth lines were drawn so that Murphy actually lives in Auburn.
Sorry about that, Tom. If I had just known then what I know now. Oh well. So, the two Toms are out.
Three other names mentioned were State Sen. Tracey Eide (D), and state representatives Skip Priest (R) and Mark Miloscia (D). I never thought Eide would have been interested, but Priest and Miloscia would have had to give it serious thought. Besides, Priest previously served on the council and as mayor, and knows City Hall inside out.
Logic tells us to also look at the city council members. Jeanne Burbidge, Eric Faison and Jack Dovey probably would not be interested, but certainly would have weighed the pros and cons. Dini Duclos is a new council member and previously said she would not be interested. Jim Ferrell would have been a definite yes, with Linda Kochmar a strong possibility.
I could be wrong, but I think Mike Park would have had a hard time passing up the opportunity, although he may have been willing to defer to another candidate he liked and respected.
Other names that people speculated about were Mary or Bill Gates. Both are well known and respected. That would be a great dinner discussion.
Former school board president and current municipal court judge Dave Larson, former assistant city manager Derek Matheson, current city manager Neal Beets, Hope Elder, Bob Roegner and county councilman Pete von Reichbauer were other names mentioned throughout the community.
Most likely to run would be Jim Ferrell, Mark Miloscia, Skip Priest, Michael Park and Linda Kochmar.
Who would have won? It would depend on many variables. Important factors include who could raise the money, recruit the volunteers and commit the time.
While I think the citizens of Federal Way made the best choice in staying with the council-manager form of government, that line of candidates almost gets my political juices flowing again. Wow, would that have been fun to write about!
Oh well, idle speculation is almost as much fun. Besides, if Tom Murphy had decided to move inside the city limits, nobody else would have run, and that would be boring.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at email@example.com.