Now that the election is over, the newly elected local politicians are setting their agendas and priorities. With the McCleary decision (mandating state-funded education) looming overhead, all of the state senators and representatives see funding education as a top priority.
All voting figures are based on returns posted as of Nov. 14 to the Washington Secretary of State, King County Elections and Snohomish County Elections websites, which are updated daily. General election results will be certified Nov. 29.
In addition to education, Democrat Guy Palumbo, who won the 1st Legislative District state senate seat with 57 percent of the votes, said transportation would be the highest priority for him after hearing from voters.
“On transportation, fixing the mobility problems on State Route 9, State Route 522 and Interstate 405 will be a main focus,” he said. “We need to ensure that our district is getting the necessary funding, from state and federal sources, to fix our transportation and capital infrastructure issues. With the passage of Sound Transit 3, it’s imperative that the new Bus Rapid Transit on the 405 corridor be designed in a way that actually alleviates traffic and increases mobility.”
Of his Republican opponent, Mindie Wirth, Palumbo said, “Her concern for our community was evident during the race, and I am sure she will continue to advocate for the needs of our community for years to come.”
Wirth said she is focusing on her family and her job following the loss and was unsure if she will run for office again.
“I’m still trying to clean up from this election,” she said.
Democratic candidate Shelley Kloba, who currently serves on the Kirkland City Council, defeated Republican candidate Jim Langston for 1st Legislative District State Representative Position 2 with 55.4 percent of the votes. In addition to funding education, Kloba said creating more affordable housing and protecting the environment would be two of her top priorities in her new office.
“Funding education and finding tools that communities can use to build affordable housing, (in addition to) making sure we have clean air and water (are my priorities),” she said.
For 1st Legislative District Position 1, Democratic incumbent Derek Stanford retained his seat with 61.1 percent of the votes, defeating Republican candidate Neil Thannisch. Stanford said education will be the top priority, but also listed transportation and embracing diversity as two areas of importance for him. “I will continue to be a voice for fairness and inclusion, so that each of us has an opportunity to reach for our potential,” he said. “By working together, we will find solutions to the challenges facing us.”
For 46th Legislative District Position 1, Democratic State Rep. Gerry Pollet defeated Libertarian candidate Stephanie Heart Viskovich with 85.3 percent of the votes to retain his seat. While education was top-of-mind for Pollet, he also said he was committed to protecting the environment.
“The City of Kenmore has been partnering with many citizens and me over recent months in trying to ensure that contamination concerns in north Lake Washington are not continuing to be ignored by the state, and I am partnering with the city to also address the air pollution from the asphalt plant at the north end of the lake,” he said.
Fellow Democratic State Rep. Jessyn Farrell also retained her seat after running unopposed in 46th Legislative District Position 2. Her first priority for the next session is education, but she also indicated a desire to update distracted driving laws and approve legislation that requires employers to better accommodate pregnant women.
“I want to make sure women don’t have to choose between keeping their jobs and having healthy pregnancies,” she said.
Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBene, with 55.7 percent of the votes, defeated Republican candidate Robert J. Sutherland for the U.S. House of Representatives Washington Congressional District 1 seat. “In the 115th Congress, I will continue to work on building an economy that works for everyone, fighting for equality and passing comprehensive immigration reform,” DelBene said in a statement. “We can only make progress on these and so many other issues when our leaders commit to work together to move our country forward. I continue to be committed to doing just that.”
In major local initiatives, Bothell’s Safe Streets and Sidewalks, Kenmore’s Walkways and Waterways and Sound Transit 3 all passed, while Bothell’s proposed consumer fireworks ban (Advisory Proposition 1) failed.
The nine-year Safe Streets and Sidewalks levy, approved with 53.4 percent of the votes, will provide $4 million per year to the city for street maintenance and repairs. City officials previously told the Reporter the levy will help overcome recent losses in revenue and make Bothell a safer place for car, bike and pedestrian traffic through funding a variety of projects. Following the election, Bothell Public Works Director Erin Leonhart said they were looking forward to getting started on these projects, starting with a robust pavement preservation program in early 2017.
“We’re anxious to get at it,” Interim City Manager Bob Jean said. “We’re going to try to hit it hard early.”
The levy will be funded by property taxes, at a rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. With a median home cost of $376,000, that amounts to approximately $16 per month or $188 annually. For more information, visit www.bothellwa.gov/SafeStreetsSidewalksMeasure.
The consumer fireworks ban, with 48 percent Yes votes and 52 percent No votes as of Nov. 14, but it initially appeared to be going forward on election night with 52.6 percent Yes votes and 47.4 No votes. This is an advisory proposition, meaning the Bothell City Council will take the voters’ input into consideration before making a final decision on the topic.
“We’ll take the results of that to the council and see what they want to do,” Jean said, adding it came down to people embracing the tradition of fireworks versus people who view them as a fire hazard or nuisance. “People either love fireworks or hate them.”
Kenmore’s Walkways and Waterways bond measure, which was approved by 63.8 percent of voters, will fund $19.75 million in projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and access to waterfronts and open space.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to improve safety on a major roadway and also enhance waterfront access and the natural beauty at three of Kenmore’s parks, which is what residents have advocated for since incorporation,” Kenmore Mayor David Baker said in a release.
The projects include 68th Avenue Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, Juanita Drive Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, Log Boom Park Waterfront Access and Viewing, Rhododendron Park Waterfront and Natural Open Space Access, Squire’s Landing Park Waterfront and Natural Open Space Access. For more information about Walkways and Waterways and these projects, visit www.kenmorewa.gov/walkwaysandwaterways.
Sound Transit 3 was approved by 54 percent of voters from King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. “This election offered voters a choice between the gridlocked status quo and creating a transit network that will rival any in the world. (On Nov. 8,) our region chose to move forward with a rail system connecting millions of people in communities across three counties,” King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine said in a statement. “This milestone moment in our history will help ensure we can continue to grow our economy, protect our environment and improve our quality of life, now and for generations to come.”
When complete, ST3 will connect the Puget Sound by linking 16 cities with 116 miles of light rail, 30 cities with bus rapid transit/express bus lines and 12 cities with commuter rail. Bothell and Kenmore residents will be able to use two new Bus Rapid Transit systems, which will offer services every 10 minutes connecting to Snohomish County, other areas of King County and the proposed 116-mile light rail network. The projects would be funded in part by increased sales tax (0.5 percent), property tax (25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation) and license tab fees (0.8 percent). The ST3 website estimates the typical adult would pay $169 per year or $14 per month in new taxes.