This is an editorial written by Elizabeth Albertson, candidate for Kent mayor. It has not been edited.

Elizabeth Albertson, Councilmember from 2006-2013, is stepping up to offer the voters of Kent a true progressive leader for Mayor. “I was recently contacted by several worried voters who feel like the current candidates do not understand or support the issues they care about. However, it was the recent sale of the Par 3 golf course property, that cemented my decision to run. Kent’s property tax abatement program was designed to encourage urban style housing near the transit center to reduce traffic, encourage walkability and support business growth in Historic Downtown. I was disappointed when the Council awarded this special tax break to construct a large multi-family apartment complex across from the golf course. So, we lose the tax dollars and get increased traffic congestion in return?  And we got another giant apartment complex, by the side of the road.  My opponents’ actions are short-sighted and demonstrate a clear lack of vision and or leadership.”

“Additionally, I’ve heard from people who are upset that the Council raised her salary, shortly after Mayor Cooke announced she would not seek reelection. Cooke had requested an increase from $102,192 to $133,192.  Mysteriously, the Council approved an increase to $138,000. However, Kent’s next Mayor will actually receive $144,996 per year. Is this because my opponents were already running for Mayor? I don’t know, it might be legal, but it doesn’t feel ethical. Can we expect more of the same if one of them has control of our city? As your Mayor, I will reject this excessive raise and donate it to Kent Hope for local women and children experiencing homelessness.

Elizabeth, 55 was first elected to the Kent City Council in 2005, and served 8 years. Her formal public service began when Former Mayor Jim White appointed her to the Land Use and Planning Board in 2002 where she made critical decisions about future growth and addressed infrastructure issues. “I was honored by the appointment and it gave me a unique insight into the challenges facing Kent as the 4th largest warehousing district in the country.”

Since moving here in 1983, Elizabeth has lived in the Panther Lake Area, the Historic Mill Creek Neighborhood, near Lake Meridian and the Lakes Community on the Green River. She and her husband Mark, recently downsized to a home located between Historic Downtown and Scenic Hill. “Each time I relocate my perception of the issues facing our city grows. It’s important to recognize that where you live within a city matters. It’s critical that Kent’s next Mayor has the vision and leadership skills needed to work in partnership with our neighbors. And clearly direct future growth to maintain a high quality of life for the people who call Kent home.”

“My opponents are currently small business owners and I’ve been asked, if elected will they sell? Lay-off their people and shut down? I don’t know, but I do know that running the 6th largest city in Washington state is a full-time 24/7 position. Kent deserves a professional mayor who will devote full-time energy to the job and the people of Kent. I will be that Mayor.”

“Both of my conservative opponents were publicly negative about the Business and Occupations tax, calling it a “business killer”. As a Councilmember, I strongly supported this unpopular fee to repair our failing and damaged roads without raising property taxes. Shortly after implementation, Amazon built a large warehouse which brought jobs and needed B&O dollars to the valley. As Kent’s next Mayor, I will bring strong, consistent leadership and my high-energy focus to City Hall.”

Some of the challenges I will tackle as your Mayor:

Public safety means more than just the police budget. Increasingly, our officers are called upon to address issues brought about by untreated mental health issues, drugs, homelessness and extreme poverty. Systemic changes are needed to facilitate strong community systems and alliances to free up our officers to address violent, criminal activities. A safe and healthy community requires an increase in authentic relationships with the officers and the people they serve. I will personally bring together officers, community agencies and the talent of our people to strengthen Kent.

Make Kent Beautiful When a city feels dirty, housing values decline, business growth suffers and crime increases. Like many residents, I am frustrated by the graffiti, garbage and general “run-down” feeling in many areas of the city I love, we can do better and I will lead the effort.

Trains, Trains, and more Trains are added daily to the tracks running through our downtown and business valley. We face increased pollution, noise, and lengthy traffic delays. I will personally be at the table, vocally lobbying for Kent to get its share of local dollars and grant money. I don’t expect local taxpayers to solve regional, state and federal issues. We deserve action, not empty promises and expensive studies.

“I will use my high-energy level and resourcefulness to keep campaign expenses low. Seattle consultants say it takes at least $100,000 to run for Mayor, that’s just plain crazy. There is so much our community could do with that kind of money. My campaign will host monthly fundraising events, which will include a “Giving Tree” and the dollars clipped to the tree will be donated to a different Kent non-profit after each event. I pledge to earn your vote with a lean, volunteer, community driven campaign, the same skills I will bring to City Hall.”

“Although, I always appreciate support from elected officials, I realize folks are tired of this type of “political backscratching” and it will not be a focus of my energy. As your Mayor, I will be ready on day one to work with democrats, republicans, and independents without any conflict resulting from back door deals or hurt feelings.”

“I will personally knock on your door and host weekly “chats” throughout the city, I want to hear your thoughts, ideas and concerns. The times and locations will be posted on my Facebook page. Invite me and I will come. [email protected] Call me and I will answer, 206.595.3627. I would be honored to earn your vote.

By Elizabeth Albertson
Submitted to for publication on July 27, 2017

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