Eastside Legislators and Mayors disucuss priorities for 2019

Eastside Legislators and Mayors disucuss priorities for 2019

The East King County Chamber Coalition hosted a panel on housing and transportation on Jan. 8.

The East King County Chamber Coalition began 2019 with its annual Legislative Breakfast, inviting elected officials from both the state and municipal levels, on Jan. 8.

The chamber heard from elected officials about the big issues in 2019 and the plans for the upcoming legislative session.

Legislators attending the breakfast were 44th District Rep. Mark Harmsworth, 48th District Sen. Patty Kuderer, 45th District Sen. Manka Dhingra, 43rd District Rep. Roger Goodman, 45th District Rep. Larry Springer, 31st District Rep. Drew Stokesbary, 11th District Sen. Bob Hasegawa, 5th District Sen. Mark Mullet, and 1st District Sen. Guy Palumbo.

Representatives from cities included Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak, Bothell Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr, Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly, Kenmore Mayor David Baker, Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet, Maple Valley Mayor Sean Kelly, Sammamish Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson.

Moderator Enrique Cerna began the discussion by asking the mayors and city representatives what the main issues are in their cities. For most it came down to infrastructure and housing. In Kenmore, Baker said their big issue is infrastructure and economic development. For Snoqualmie, Larson highlighted funding for SR 18 and I-90 corridors, as they impact the entire region. Sweet said housing affordability was a major priority. Duerr also cited infrastructure as a big issue, but noted that addressing the opioid crisis in the region was also an important task.

Both Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly and Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak agreed that transportation was a primary issue as the population grows and more people have to commute to work, which also leads to big issues in housing diversity and stock.

“For Issaquah it’s absolutely number 1 transportation and while we are not near highway 18, improvements to highway 18 will have a huge impact. We partnered recently with the chambers and city administration from Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Covington, Snoqualmie to make sure that happened,” Pauly said. “Also housing diversity. When we look at our housing stock in Issaquah, we used to be a suburb, we are turning into a city.”

When asked for what they would like to see legislature do to address these issues, Chelminiak said that he wanted to see the state investing money back into the infrastructure and housing. Senator Palumbo responded by saying that 2019 was going to be a big year for work on housing. He expects work to be done on policy such as condo liability reform, minimum density, SEPA reform, and tenant eviction reform.

On housing, legislators discussed possible solutions coming up in the pipeline. Sen. Hasegawa said that focusing on public housing options could be a solution to create housing at affordable levels. Rep. Stokesbary cited a city of Seattle bill that would allow a developer to get property tax credit if they redevelop properties and kept some of them at affordable rates. He felt that would be an important step in creating more housing stock at lower prices.

Rep. Springer pushed back against the idea of public housing and said the Legislature should make the regulatory burden on cities and painless as possible. Talking to other entities who develop infrastructure, such as Sound Transit, who can serve housing is important as well, he said.

Sen. Kuderer, chair of the new Housing Stability and Affordability Committee, said the organization is working to create more units, wants to collaborate with intergovernmental entities and outside organizations, and will focus on preventing people from entering homelessness.

“We are looking at building more, so we want to be able to work with for-profit and nonprofit organizations that work in this space to create more units available for people,” Kuderer said. “We are looking at building smarter in the sense that we want to collaborate so that this isn’t just silo’d with a city here and county there, but it’s intergovernmental related and also with for-profit and nonprofit organizations that work in this space.”

On transporation, discussions about funding infrastructure improvements were the main topic. Snoqualmie’s Mayor Larson discussed infrastructure funding and focused on tax reform in the state as a way to address inequity in funding sources. Kenmore Mayor Baker cited tolling as a way to pay for “sorely needed” maintenance as thousands of more cars now travel older roads throughout the state.

Senators Mullet and Palumbo both discussed gas tax investment and identifying sources for funding to start new construction and maintenance through tax revenue.

The East King County Chamber Coalition’s next big event is a Chamber Day in Olympia on Feb. 27, where members can see lawmakers at work and talk about priorities important to Eastside businesses.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson talks about the need for tax reform in the state in order to address funding for infrastructure. From left: Maple Valley Mayor Sean Kelly, Sammamish Deputy Mayor Karen Moran, and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson talks about the need for tax reform in the state in order to address funding for infrastructure. From left: Maple Valley Mayor Sean Kelly, Sammamish Deputy Mayor Karen Moran, and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in News

A 212-unit development is slated for the Dahlgren property, more commonly known as the “mule pasture,” along North Bend Way. File photo
UTRC recommends approval of North Bend’s water plan

Plan includes a contested plot of land known as the Dahlgren property.

A coho salmon. The 14th annual Salmon SEEson program provides information on virtual and self-guided viewing locations around King County. Flickr/Bureau of Land Management
News Around the Valley: Grants, COVID-19, business assistance, salmon sightings

Grants available for community organizations, chambers Chambers of Commerce and community-based organizations… Continue reading

Aaron Kunkler/staff photoAlvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

The 5th Legislative District includes Snoqualmie, North Bend, Issaquah, Renton and Maple Valley. Courtesy image
5th District candidates talk policing, the economy and mental health

The SnoValley Chamber of Commerce held a candidates forum on Oct. 22.

North Bend could have its own marijuana store soon.
North Bend pot shop gets public hearing on Nov. 17

A proposal from a private developer seeking to build a marijuana store… Continue reading

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

File photoA 212-unit development is slated for the Dahlgren property, more commonly known as the “mule pasture.”
North Bend’s water war heats up as construction is set to begin

Who gets to supply water to a 212-unit housing complex is at the heart of the skirmish.

In this November 2019 photo, Lucy Adams, Tim Takechi, Craig Ewing and Renee Lystad rehearse for VCS's production of "A Christmas Carol." File photo
Valley Center Stage eyes holiday production, new location

The community theater is hoping to put on a virtual Christmas production this year.

Most Read