Carnation’s mayor puts her mark on community

Lee Grumman operate’s Miller’s Community and Arts store in downtown Carnation. Part of her mission as mayor is to assist with business development. - Allison Espiritu/Staff Photo
Lee Grumman operate’s Miller’s Community and Arts store in downtown Carnation. Part of her mission as mayor is to assist with business development.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu/Staff Photo

Hailing from Boston with a strong interest in politics, Lee Grumman is pursuing her passion as the recently elected Carnation mayor.

A Carnation resident for almost ten years and owner of Miller’s Community and Arts Center, Grumman was seated as mayor in January.

Welcome to the Carnation council

Moving to Seattle in 1991, Grumman decided to settle down and bought a house in Carnation in 1995. Growing fond of her new hometown, Grumman wanted to find out more about its development, regulations and how to move forward with its care, but without losing what was most important to the city.

Aware of the city’s intentions to move forward in building a sewer system, Grumman joined the planning board in 2000.

“I got involved because I was concerned about it,” Grumman said. “I wanted to find out what was going on, and like so many people in town, I love Carnation.”

She ran for city council in 2007, and two years later she was chosen by fellow council members to replace previous mayor, Mike Flowers.

Unlike other Valley cities, Carnation’s mayor is chosen by the council, not the citizenry.

“The citizens don’t elect the mayor here — we have a council-manager for our government,” Grumman said.

Every two years, council members select a chairperson, who receives the title of mayor.

Because everyone wants the opportunity to be mayor, Carnation rotates the position, Grumman said.

“There’s not a whole lot of difference from being chair and council member, but it’s still an honor,” she said.

As mayor, Grumman looks forward employing her ability to facilitate conversation, which she feels is a great skill to have and something she’s always wanted to develop.

City potential

Grumman said she is proud to represent Carnation and believes it has great potential.

“There are many assets that we’re on the verge of slowly realizing,” she said.

Large city projects proceeding under her guidance include the installation of a stop light on State Highway 203, creating an infrastructure for its outdated water supply and keeping tabs on the newly-instituted branding committee.

The committee is a group of stakeholders and city residents with backgrounds in marketing, business and the chamber of commerce. Members are meeting to research how Carnation is perceived by visitors.

Not only a marketing tool to get Carnation on the map, Grumman said she’s looking for a brand that reflects what locals value.

When not involved in Carnation politics, Grumman stays active in the city’s arts community and programs, plays music, gardens and goes out to build relationships between the people of Carnation.

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