Get ready for start of campaign season

May 6, 2011

By Contributor

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If you’ve been thinking about taking on a bigger leadership role in Newcastle, it’s time to take the next step. Filing for candidates is June 6-10.

Newcastle City Council, school districts and the Coal Creek Utility District will hold elections this fall.

Many candidates are already filling out the needed paperwork with the state. Others have announced their intentions.

City Council incumbents Lisa Jensen, Carol Simpson and Steve Buri will seek re-election. Sonny Putter will opt out after serving 17 years; Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton has said he will seek Putter’s seat.

Council candidates must be registered voters at the time of filing and have one year of Newcastle residency. Those qualifications are the law, but candidates should also bring the willingness to devote hours every week to numerous meetings and study of the issues. An elected official’s most important attribute is the ability to listen and communicate.

The issues sure to be hot topics in City Council races this year include future city budgets, future development in the city limits and mitigation of seasonal flooding on Lake Boren. Park development and funding is sure to come up, and the relocation of City Hall will likely get rehashed.

Both Issaquah and Renton school districts will have board member seats open this year. However, the director districts that encompass Newcastle will not be open until 2013.

The only CCUD commissioner up for re-election is Pam Martin. The commission meets twice monthly.

Elected office is the ultimate volunteer job. While some positions come with pay, the pay is nominal — far less than minimum wage.

Candidates will represent their constituency at the table for important decisions, but also at regional and state meetings. It’s not a job for the faint of heart — although some say it gets easier after the campaign!

The City Council election two years ago was a turning point for the city. Candidates were forthcoming about their differing visions for the city’s future. It will be interesting to see if the new direction the voters chose in 2009 will be upheld come Election Day 2011.


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