March 22, 2011
Now is the time for candidates to step up
Campaign season for City Council seats is off and running. Already? Yes, already.
The campaign announcement last month from Councilman Joshua Schaer and the strong turnout from residents in the recent effort to appoint a citizen to the council shows campaign season is on.
Now is the time for people considering public office in the community to start raising the possibility to family and potential supporters. Now, most importantly, is also the time to start engaging residents about the issues facing Issaquah in the next election.
Residents deserve a robust campaign featuring a full slate of candidates, not a repeat of the drowsy council and Issaquah School Board campaigns from 2009.
The importance of council and school board races cannot be overstated.
Leaders in the city and school district set a large chunk of property tax rates for local homeowners. The city is in the midst of long-term planning efforts for the business district and a downtown park, so a continued tradition of thoughtful leadership is important in the years ahead.
On the school district side, leaders face a continued battering from state budget cuts, as well as decisions closer to home, such as textbook adoption. Many people in the community could — and should — step forward to join the discussion.
The upcoming campaign season offers city voters a chance to decide on a majority of council seats. The positions held by Schaer, Council President John Traeger, Councilman Fred Butler and just-appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman head to the voters.
Schaer is so far the only candidate officially in the race. Other potential candidates remain mum so far.
Issaquah School District voters decide the seats held by longtime board members Brian Deagle, Suzanne Weaver and Jan Woldseth Colbrese.
The deadline for candidates to file for council and Issaquah School Board seats is June 10, in the not-too-distant future.
On the night the council appointed Goodman to Maureen McCarry’s former seat, Schaer encouraged runner-up Paul Winterstein to run for office, though not against the incumbent Schaer. The statement, intended as a light-hearted aside, had no place in a council meeting, but the remark raised a good point.
Winterstein and the other applicants should seriously consider dipping a toe into city politics come June.
The process to appoint a council member attracted nine people eager to shape the conversation in municipal government. Everyone offered a distinctive perspective about life in Issaquah and the role of city government.
The applicants already took the initial step toward serving in public office. Now is the time to take the next step.