Councilwomen seek another term

May 26, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Eileen Barber

Eileen Barber

Councilwomen Eileen Barber and Maureen McCarry launched re-election bids last week.

Barber and McCarry ended speculation by becoming the first incumbents to announce their intentions. Voters will cast ballots for four council seats and mayor this fall.

The incumbents sounded similar themes: Barber and McCarry said they want to encourage economic development and environmental preservation.

“We need to balance the beauty of this area, which we love and is attractive to business” with efforts to lure new business to Issaquah, McCarry said.

Barber, nearing the end of her first term, presented herself as an advocate for business who would also keep a close watch on city finances. Barber plans to seek re-election to her Position 3 seat; no challengers have yet lined up to oppose her.

“I ran on a platform of preserving our quality of life while planning for our future,” she said in her campaign announcement. “In these difficult and uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever that we accomplish both for our citizens and our city.”

McCarry highlighted her efforts as the city works to weather the recession without significant service cuts and layoffs. The city faces a $1.5 million shortfall; officials slashed $1.6 million in spending to close the gap.

“During these challenging economic times, I was very pleased we were able to achieve my goal to obtain a 5 percent reduction in 2009 budget and not raise property taxes on the hardworking families in Issaquah,” McCarry said in her announcement.

McCarry will work to retain her Position 5 seat. She will face South Cove resident Joan Probala, a former Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce president.

Maureen McCarry

Maureen McCarry

McCarry said her experience make her more qualified to serve on the seven-member board: “I feel we need people with experience on the City Council,” she said.

Probala said her involvement with the city — she serves on the city Arts and Planning Policy commissions — and her experience as a businesswoman and chamber member prepared her to serve on the council.

“I want to create an Issaquah that we can all be proud of,” Probala said.

Seats held by councilmen David Kappler and Councilman John Rittenhouse are also open. Mayor Ava Frisinger is seeking re-election as well.

Issaquah Highlands resident Mark Mullet and Squak Mountain resident Tola Marts are also running for council seats. The filing period for municipal candidates lasts from June 1-5.

Squak Mountain resident McCarry was appointed to the council in 1998 to fill the seat vacated by Frisinger, a former councilwoman. McCarry served until 2000, but opted not to run then. McCarry ran successfully in 2005.

In her campaign announcement, McCarry also noted how her efforts helped preserve conservation land.

“I am proud of my service in preserving 40 acres and expanding Squak Mountain State Park,” she said. “I also enjoyed working with the highlands community, city and developers, to preserve essential wildlife habitats bordering Central Park.”

Barber, a Squak Mountain resident, moved to Issaquah in September 1976. Before she was elected to the council, Barber owned the Ben Franklin Store downtown. She also served as chamber president.

Barber said city officials should work to attract and retain businesses despite the downturn. She discussed the proposal in early May, when the City Council met to set goals for 2010.

“That’s going to be really key,” Barber said in a follow-up interview. “That’s been a piece that, even years when I was working with the chamber as president, we kept talking about the need to have this retention and attraction because we would see Bellevue literally snatching [businesses].”

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment on this story at

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