In Renton City Council Position 7, two political newcomers are running to replace longtime council member Don Persson, who was first elected in 1999. The best choice is attorney Kim-Khanh Van, who is extremely well-prepared to step into Persson’s shoes and provide a much-needed voice on the council

Van has a compelling life story. She is a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant who arrived as a refugee. She grew up in Seattle in a family dependent on food-bank meals. For the growing Asian and Pacific Islander community that comprises about a third of Renton’s population, she would be a powerful and persuasive voice currently lacking in City Hall. 

She has a strong vision for Renton’s future, with plans to work with law enforcement and housing agencies to develop inclusion and economic opportunity. Van’s civic résumé includes volunteer work and leadership roles with several organizations focused on helping immigrants. Her work as an attorney also has prepared her to shape public policy.

The other candidate, Issaquah parks maintenance worker Thomas Trautmann, does not match Van’s knowledge of Renton’s current needs and her civic engagement. Trautmann is a recent University of Washington graduate and enthusiastic advocate of luring tech jobs to Renton. He would benefit from becoming more civically engaged to learn the specifics of building a better city.

Van, who has already studied well for the position, is the clear choice.