It’s only April and the filing deadline is more than a month away, but nine Tacomans have declared their interest in a handful of spots on Tacoma City Council this year. With Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma and Councilmembers Connie Ladenburg, Rick Talbert, and Mike Lonergan term-limited at the end of this year, the field has opened for a variety of candidates. Here is a look at the nine candidates (based on information available on their campaign Web sites or through press materials) who are currently running for office.
— Mayor —
Jim Merritt is a small-businessman and founder of Merritt Arch, a downtown Tacoma architecture firm. According to his campaign Web site, Merritt graduated from the University of Washington School of Architecture and has been involved with the Hillside Development Council, Pacific Avenue Parking Committee, and Visualize Tacoma. He also has an interest in local historic preservation through his participation in Save Albers Mill, Save the Bridge (SOB) Murray Morgan/11th Street Bridge, Union Station Historic District Association, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Its about keeping the jobs we have while creating the jobs we need,” says Merritt. “It’s about creating a safe community and improving our city services. But mostly it’s about creating a shared vision of the future for our city and making that vision our reality.”
Marilyn Strickland was elected to the at-large position 8 City Council seat in 2007. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Clark-Atlanta University. She served as Development Officer for the Tacoma Public Library and has held management positions with American Cancer Society, Starbucks Coffee Company and JayRay. Strickland serves on the Government Performance and Finance Committee, the Public Safety and Human Services Committee and the Pierce County Regional Council. She is a member of the Tacoma Urban League, the Black Collective and serves on the boards of KBTC Public TV Association, the Grand Cinema and Safe Streets.
— District 2 —
Jake Fey was elected to the Tacoma City Council in 2005 and has lived in the district since 1980. Fey is a graduate of the University of Washington and also holds a masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Puget Sound. Prior to his election to City Council, Fey was a member of the Public Utility Board and its chair in 2004-2005. Fey currently serves on the local advisory board of the American Heart Association and the Executive Committee of the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound.
— District 4 —
Marty Campbell is a smallbusiness owner who owns Buzzard’s Discs and Stadium Video. “I am running for Tacoma City Council because I believe in the future,” says Campbell. “Our future is not just 25 years from now but also this week, today. We deserve a climate that fosters and encourages our small businesses, enhances the diversity of our neighborhoods, addresses our transportation needs and makes education a priority. We must do this without increasing our already heavy tax burden. Campbell has served as president of the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council, and the Downtown Merchants Group. According to his campaign Web site, Campbell currently serves on the boards of the Grand Cinema Theater, City Club of Tacoma, Cross District Business Association, and Tacoma Urban Network.
Roxanne Murphy announced her candidacy for Tacoma City Council last week. The seat is being vacated by Councilmember Rick Talbert, who is term-limited. According to Murphy’s press release, she plans to revitalize the district by ridding the streets of blight and crime; launching initiatives and setting policies that will improve the quality of life within the district and Tacoma; and creating lasting partnerships between the community and the City of Tacoma. Murphy has served as a board member of the East Side Neighborhood Council; secretary and treasurer of the DomeTop Neighborhood Alliance; and volunteer for the McKinley Hill Business District’s festivals. Most recently, Murphy launched http://www.endeastsidecrime.com — a Web site with tips on ways to reduce crime in the East Side. Murphy was a Community Relations Specialist for the City of Tacoma. She was also named as the 2008 Best City of Tacoma Employee by Tacoma Weekly, and a member of the Business Examiner’s 2008 “40 Under 40” class, which highlights the top Pierce County community and business leaders under the age of 40. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at The Evergreen State College and is set to graduate in May of 2010.
— District 5 —
Joe Lonergan, 32, is an advertising account executive in Tacoma who has spent the past six years serving on the board of the South End Neighborhood Council. He is also a member of the Wapato Park Advisory Committee. “During the next six months, I will meet with as many residents as I possibly can, to hear their concerns and their ideas for a stronger, safer community,” says Lonergan. “From that, we’ll shape an action plan to make Tacoma — and especially the South End — a better place to live and work and raise our families.” Lonergan is the son of Mike Lonergan, current At-Large City Councilmember, who steps down at the end of this year due to term limits. Lonergan and his wife Beth have two sons, and are active in the Foursquare Church. He is an honors graduate of Eastern Washington University, with a bachelors degree in Business Administration.
Rebecca Summers-Kirby has served on the Tacoma Public Library Board of Trustees, the Tacoma Human Rights Commission, the Tacoma Civil Service Board, and the Pierce County Charter Review Commission. She also served as vice chair of the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee and is currently chairwoman of the 29th District Democrats. “Our streets are falling apart, prostitution and gang activity are on the rise in the South End, and we need to direct more of our resources into making our neighborhoods safe and livable,” says Summers-Kirby.
— At large position 6 —
Keven Rojecki is an active firefighter who currently serves as the Legislative Liaison and District Representative for the Washington State Council of Firefighters in Olympia. He also serves as the vice chair of the Washington State Gambling Commission, an appointment made by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2006. “I value safe neighborhoods and an economic climate where business and working families thrive,” says Rojecki. “The citizens of Tacoma have every right to expect efficiency, accountability, and transparency in their government and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Metro Parks Board President Victoria Woodards says her campaign is about “providing the people of Tacoma with the public service and leadership they deserve.” In addition to her work as President of the Tacoma Metro Parks Board, Woodards is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Washington State History Museum and sits on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Grants Distribution Committee. Woodards is the former chairwoman of the Washington State Commission of African-American Affairs, a member of Allen AME Church and chairwoman of the Joint Municipal Action Committee. “I want to work with the people of Tacoma to ensure that there is real economic opportunity for working families and businesses here,” adds Woodards. “I will work to upgrade and maintain our cities current public infrastructure and I will demand that Tacoma city government is open, efficient, and most importantly, accountable to the people of Tacoma.