For mayor of Redmond, Angela Birney is the best candidate because of her demonstrated skills and effectiveness.
She is a leader who puts Redmond first but also thinks regionally — a crucial characteristic as the city continues brisk growth and to experience problems that don’t respect city boundaries.
Housing affordability and traffic are significant challenges in the city that has been home to Microsoft’s main campus since 1986. Since 1990, the number of residents has grown by 72% to about 65,000 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census.
A council member since 2016, Birney was elected by her fellow members to be president. She is vice chair of the King County Board of Health and a member of the King County Regional Policy Committee. She also is current board chair for Hopelink, a nonprofit agency that serves homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities in King and Snohomish counties.
If elected, Birney would replace Mayor John Marchione, who is stepping down after three terms. Redmond’s strong-mayor form of government makes this a full-time executive position. Though she does not have much corporate experience, the former middle school science teacher has demonstrated her leadership in many other ways in public office, regional boards and volunteering. Marchione has endorsed her.
Opponent Steve Fields, a council member since 2018 and a small-business owner, is a strong critic of the current mayor, whom he challenged four years ago, and Birney’s leadership as council president. Fields has been frustrated that Birney has not brought his ideas to the council agenda. Birney counters any member can get an issue on the agenda if two other of the seven members sign on.
Both candidates want the city to more aggressively tackle the issues of housing affordability, planning for density, transportation and homelessness. But, while Fields speaks in general terms about policies he supports, Birney is able to cite specifics, including the status of ongoing efforts.
Birney’s endorsements include colleagues, not only on the council but on city commissions, state legislators and county officials — speaking to her regional perspective. Redmond voters should elect Birney as their next mayor.