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New faces win seats on council
SNOQUALMIE - Like the changing face of Snoqualmie, the City Council will look markedly different when it meets for the first time in 2002. But many of the issues it will be forced to confront will remain the same as in years past.
Matt Larson, Greg Fullington and Jay Rodne all defeated their incumbent opponents in races for three City Council positions. Final results from the Nov. 6 general election were certified last Wednesday by the King County Records and Elections Division.
For the Position 1 seat on the council, Larson had 579 votes, or 66.5 percent, to Colleen Johnson's 292 votes. Fullington garnered 530 votes, or 64.2 percent, to Frank Lonergan's 295 votes in the Position 3 race. Rodne earned the Position 5 seat with 485 votes, or 56.7 percent, to Cathy (Runkle) Reed's 370 votes.
"It was definitely a hard-fought election," Larson said. "But I think it was a very healthy, good process for the city."
His sentiment was echoed by Rodne.
"I feel good that the process worked very well, and I think the citizens of this town should feel proud that the election focused on the issues," he said.
Fullington said being elected to the City Council was a "humbling experience," adding, "People are putting a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, and they're putting a lot of trust in you.
"I'm really excited about the next four years and how the city is going to be changing."
Reed said voters sent a message by electing the three challengers.
"I think that we got a clear mandate that the citizens of Snoqualmie want change," she said. "I'm happy with the effort that I put in to helping affect that change."
Preserving open space is what she'll remember most about her years on the council, saying, "I think I'm most proud of Meadowbrook Farm, Snoqualmie Point and Snoqualmie Falls."
Johnson, who served 16 years on the council, said the city has achieved much in that time, stating, "We have the Ridge, we have the Falls, we have the winery and Meadowbrook Park."
But, she added, "If the 205 project gets off the ground, that's my proudest accomplishment."
Lonergan credited the cooperative spirit of council members and the professionalism of city staff for helping the city become what it is today.
"The City Council worked as a team. By doing so, we've been able to accomplish a lot," he said.
"I just have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the four years that I had, working with the staff that we have," he added.
When the council meets in January, it will mark the first time residents of Snoqualmie Ridge will serve on that body. Larson said that demonstrates that newer residents to the city are concerned about its future and want to be active in issues affecting the city.
"You have this new population with not a deep sense of history or culture, but with a lot of excitement about their community," he said.
As Snoqualmie continues to grow, so, too, will the number of issues affecting the city, such as increased traffic at the State Route 18 and Interstate 90 interchange and the potential for expanding to Phase II on the Ridge.
However, some issues, such as building a new community center and fire station, revitalizing the downtown area and completing the Army Corps of Engineers' flood reduction project, will continue to be at the forefront of the City Council agenda.
"Certainly there are some issues that the new council is going to have to confront early on, and I don't think it's going to be business as usual," Rodne said.
"I think clearly the people wanted some new ideas on the council, maybe new ways of looking at things [and] new ways of doing things and wanted to see some change there," Fullington said.
You can reach Barry Rochford at (425) 888-2311, or e-mail him at email@example.com.