In the race to replace Renton Mayor Denis Law, City Council member Armondo Pavone is the strongest choice to lead this city of 102,000 people.

On paper, he and former state Rep. Marcie Maxwell are similarly credentialed. They share private-business backgrounds and have served in local office. However, Pavone’s vision and City Hall experience make him uniquely qualified to help this growing city keep pace with the region.

Armondo Pavone

Pavone has deep community roots, as a longtime downtown Renton restaurateur and son of a city police officer. Since he was elected to the council in 2013, Pavone has pressed for infrastructure improvements to ensure the city maintains a business-friendly and walkable downtown core. He is deeply familiar with the city’s pressing ongoing needs, from police hiring to housing and transit to match its rapid growth.

Pavone has demonstrated he is an effective consensus-builder while holding office as a nonpartisan. His endorsements include four colleagues from Renton’s seven-member council.

Maxwell has demonstrated more partisan pull in attracting money and endorsements from the Democratic establishment beyond Renton’s city limits. But the real estate agent has also been out of elected office since 2013, a six-year period during which Pavone has been directly involved with Renton’s direction.

An interview added helpful contrast to their points of view.

Maxwell spoke as a region-builder whose alliances can help Renton jostle ahead in the queue of suburban cities seeking help on broad-based issues, such as transit. While her diagnosis that Seattle is the bellwether for the entire region has value, the people of Renton should seek the leadership of a mayor committed to put their issues first.

Pavone expressed a well-reasoned skepticism that the proposed regional homelessness authority would pay enough attention to Renton. However, if the agency is created, Pavone intends to cooperate with leaders of neighboring South King County cities, which will help make the suburbs’ needs heard.

The city’s next mayor should step in ready to make city-shaping decisions that will influence how residents live for decades. Pavone’s record and vision show that he can meet this need.