Cooper - I am interested in contributing to the governance of an ideal community that is progressive and an example to other cities of state and nation.
Gates - I am interested in serving as an Olympia City Councilmember to help shape the city's future in a way that allows all citizens to be heard, acknowledged, and respected. Through my leadership efforts and engagement, citizen voices will strengthen Olympia and help the council create policy and make good decisions. As a recent candidate for Olympia city council, I personally visited 4,500 homes in Olympia, speaking with literally thousands of citizens, hearing their concerns and questions. As a councilmember, and a team player with my colleagues, I will immediately acknowledge and respect the fact that Olympia is a complex city with 24 square miles of urban growth area, containing multiple, competing interests. My campaign experience, combined with my consistent, frequent attendance of council and city sponsored meetings, community and neighborhood association meetings, personal fact finding and involvement will allow me to hit the ground running on issues currently facing the council. My children, now aged 20 and 15, were born in Olympia. I am also a homeowner. I want to continue my commitment to the community, as a councilmember, to ensure that Olympia is the kind of city where my children will want to live for many years.
Gray - I have worked with city and county councils throughout the state on community economic development and cultural issues. I have served for the past three years on the Olympia Heritage Commission. I see an opportunity to broaden my horizons and interests by serving on the City Council, and bringing a different perspective to City issues. I have lived here the past 17 years, but have a longer history with the city than that. I visited Olympia often with my mother in the 1950's and 1960's (even swam in Capitol Lake back when we could!), was here frequently in 1975-76 while completing my undergraduate college degree, and lived here 1980-82 while in graduate school at The Evergreen State College. I have seen Olympia in many forms over many years, and love its size, its setting, and its scale. I would welcome the opportunity to serve the City at the City Council level. I am not interested in running for election in 2011 at this time. I see this appointment as a chance to fill the remainder of Position #7's term without political prejudice, e.g., able to make decisions for the best interests of the City without concern of how it might affect my electability.
Langer - I have a long-standing interest in public service and an extensive record of involvement in civic activities and community building. I also have been in business in the city of Olympia since the early 1980's. I had planned to run for city council in the last election cycle but was unable to do so because my father died in March 2009 in France. As the executor of his estate I needed to take care of my duties to him and my family. This is the first opportunity to apply for a city council position since then. I believe this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to improving the quality of life in community as a city council member.
Lazar - I have a deep interest in the quality of life in community. Serving on the City Council is a natural way to continue to pursue improvements to community.
Richards - My life experiences thus far have generated in me a moral imperative to serve my community and continually increase my level of knowledge and service. Serving on the Olympia City Council is the natural next progression for my work in community. My breadth of knowledge of the kind of work that the council does, coupled with my academic studies and community involvement have given me the skills necessary to do the job effectively.
I am a native north westerner born in the Seattle area. I spent my childhood driving through Olympia on the way to family cabin in the Lake Cushman area. When it came time to raise my family, I knew I wanted a smaller community with a strong public school district. The amazing quality of life Olympia affords while still being an easy drive to a large metropolitan area made my decision to move here an easy one. Once I arrived, I immediately was impressed by the passion the long-time locals exhibited for this community. I noted how frequently grown children would return to the area to raise their own families. I worked at the City of Olympia the :first two years I lived here and developed a thriving pre-school activity program called Kindergym and during this time met hundreds of young parents with many diverse backgrounds. Before long I was involved in the Olympia School District volunteering in the classroom as an Art Partner, PTA President, Levy Campaign volunteer and eventually co-chair of the successful 2003 Bond Campaign. It was through my experience working on that campaign that I grew to love the process of working with a wide variety of viewpoints to achieve a common goal. In the late nineties, I had the incredible opportunity to build a house on Budd Inlet. I was the general contractor and handled my own permitting. The acreage had been sadly neglected and was littered with abandoned vehicles, storage tanks and had become a dumping ground for trash and building materials. Taking on the overwhelming task of cleaning the property and siting a house, I garnered a whole new respect for the wisdom of the permitting process and protecting shoreline. I chose to go beyond what was required by the county to protect the bank, manage my storm water and re-establish native vegetation. I rescued an abandoned holly orchard on the property and in general brought the 10 acres back to its original condition as a farmstead. I learned from this process to educate myself on being a wise steward of natural resources and protecting tidelands. I sold the property in 2007 due to a change in my personal life but had looked into the possibility of designating the property a wildlife sanctuary through the National Wildlife Federation. In 2003 I was ready to face a new challenge and took a position with the City of Olympia in the Probation Services Department. I was co-program manager of the Safe and Sober Driving Program and the Thurston County Safe Kids Coalition. Both positions revolved around community safety and injury prevention. We were funded by the proceeds from the Victim Impact Panels we administered and various grants we solicited. offices were in the room next door to the day jail and down the hall Page 1 from the probation reporting center. Between working with the Thurston County DUI Task Force, DUI offenders in the victim impact panels and the location of office in the Probation Services Building I learned to work with a wide variety of personalities and lifestyle issues. It was an eye opening experience to be sure! What I took away from my years in probation services was that every person has a story and is worthy of grace and redemption. Second chances welcome . In 2006 I made the leap into the private sector and realized the dream of owning my own store. ''Vivala'' is often a starting or ending spot for friends taking a walk on Percival Landing or making a run to the Farmer's Market. I am across from the Dash Bus stop so welcome daily visitors form the Capitol Campus as well. A side benefit to having my store located across from the second most popular city destination is that I am privy to all kinds of feedback on how city is perceived both from locals and visitors. This "man on the street" perspective would be a great benefit as a city council member. Part of my business model is to offer free workshops related to women's health and wellness topics as a form of outreach to my community. I also sponsor events and donate to many organizations that relate to children and women's issues. I mentor students from local schools and hire a school age student in the summers to expose them to the world of entrepreneurship. Additionally, my mission with Vivala is to act as a catalyst for other women who are just embarking on their journey as business owners and to encourage financial independence for all women. Most importantly as a potential councilmember, I am comfortable understanding complex financing, the budgeting process and developing long range planning models. In conclusion, I take great pride in town and enjoy sharing it with visitors, not only as a resident of the South Capitol Neighborhood, but as a store owner in the Market District. I always planned one day to devote more time and energy to enhancing the wonderful appeal our town holds for visitors and also maintaining it's livability for our residents. Now that my children are raised and my business has become established, I am ready to give back as a council member. My experiences include a diverse mix of public, non-profit and private worlds. My role as a downtown business owner is one that has traditionally been represented on the council but is currently absent. I look forward to the opportunity to represent that voice and work together, with you, to make Olympia a model for other state capitals in America.
Smith - I have always considered myself someone who works behind the scene encaging council members and citizens interested in helping to shape public policy. I have a vested interest in community. I am at a point in my life when I have the time to step up to a hands on role to help do the work that I have encouraged others to do over the last couple of decades. As I am sure you are acutely aware the political atmosphere of the City Council has been highly charged and open for criticism. My experience building relationships allows me to be effective right away. Addressing the economic challenges of these times will be daunting and I am the right person to work with city council members to meet these challenges and move forward an agenda focused on creating jobs and making city a better place to work and play for all. As a city councilmember, I will serve as a team member, collaborating on major policy issues, helping to lead community relations for city and working closely with the other government jurisdictions that contribute to make community a great place to live. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Olympia. For years I've worked with local governments and community organizations to help prioritize and identify resources available to better serve their constituents. I am excited to use this experience to work as an Olympia City Councilmember to pursue an agenda to move Olympia forward. I look forward to using my experience working to build coalitions of constituencies to help craft public policy needed to fulfill the city's mission to provide exceptional services to its residents and citizens.
Thomas - This is a challenging time for Olympia, given the pressures of a weak economy, and history of difficulty in achieving growth management goals. Yet Olympia is a unique, small city with irreplaceable beauty and natural resources that need to be preserved despite the difficult times. The people who live in and around the city have many talents and a high degree of investment in their community. I would like to work with the Council and the members of this community to navigate through these challenges and lay the foundation of a stronger future. I have positive energy and insight to contribute, and I would like to help the City to move forward. I can be an effective council member by listening to and representing the people of Olympia and cooperating with my colleagues in government to achieve community goals. I have a life long record of public service. My career has allowed me the opportunity to manage and develop local and state government programs, and to listen to and demonstrate success to members of the public. I have designed and managed many stakeholder involvement processes, in both local and state settings. I have been the steward of multimillion dollar budgets, including both public and private funds. I have run a small consulting business for six years, and some of my projects have involved analyzing proposed changes in public polices and related budget alternatives. Perhaps most importantly, my extensive and long standing work in the Olympia community will help me contribute to a responsive, transparent local government that successfully provides for basic planning and services for citizens.
Veldheer - By serving on the Olympia City Council, I would work to bring government, citizens, community groups and neighboring jurisdictions together to address local and regional issues and proactively plan for the future. I have a long-standing interest in public service, and the process of campaigning for City Council in 2009 and meeting thousands of voters heightened my desire to serve.