By Lucas Martin
Kathy Lambert: Incumbent
Councilmember Kathy Lambert is proud of the work she’s done over 20 years helping to steer King County through growth and changes and hopes to remain a steady hand on a council confronting a bevy of challenges over the next four years.
Speaking on her experience, she emphasizes the complexity of working on a metropolitan county council for an area as populous and flush with resources as King County.
“One of the things people don’t realize is that we’re the twelfth largest county in the United States, that we’re bigger than six states, and that we own a hospital, we have the courts, we have all kinds of different things going on,” says Lambert. “I do have 20 years of experience, I have done the job, and if you ask people in my district, they like that I’m on top of things, that I show up and participate and care.”
By her tally, Lambert sits on four statewide boards, 10 county boards, and several regional boards and believes “the experience garnered over the last 20 years in those diverse areas is important.”
Before entering civil service, Lambert was a business owner, banker, and school teacher; her experiences in people-oriented professions helped shape her priorities as a council member.
“When people are incarcerated or drug-dependent, they’re not able to live to their full potential,” Lambert says, “so helping people to break that cycle is important to me. We need to continue to expand the office of public defense and outside legal assistance programs, and make sure the time between someone needing help and getting services is shorter than it is now.”
Asked about her opponent, Lambert doesn’t hold back.
“I think [Sarah Perry] is inexperienced for the position,” she said. “I think she’s spoken about all the work her husband has done at the legislature, and I think a lot of people are concerned at the idea of her husband being the legislator for this area and her potentially being the elected official.
“Sarah said something the other day about me being right-wing, and I started laughing when I heard that. I said to somebody, well, I have a turn-and-bank indicator from an old airplane in my house, and my husband and I actually built an airplane, so I know something about flying level. Our position is non-partisan.”
Sarah Perry: Challenger
Though she hasn’t served in government before, Sarah Perry is excited to apply the lessons learned from a lifetime of work in philanthropy, education, and political consultation to the challenges facing the Metropolitan King County Council.
Perry was the first executive director of Eastside Housing on Avondale in Redmond before serving 10 years as the Director of University Initiatives at Seattle University. She pivoted toward the political realm in 2016, joining Social Venture Partners International as a consultant.
“I’ve managed budgets from 3 to $20 million, managed staff, worked collaboratively on a range of projects, and that insight will help on how to negotiate the public greater good as a member of the council,” Perry said.
Perry wants to primarily focus on effective transit, a healthy environment, and engaging all of King County’s communities.
“We have the light rail coming to Redmond in a blink of an eye, and not all of us in the district can access light rail easily, or even the I-90 corridor metro easily,” Perry said. “And I’m a big proponent for smaller and electric shuttles so we can get into communities and make it as easy as possible for people to access public transportation.”
Perry’s plans for increased public transit aren’t limited to the urban sectors of King County. With exurban and rural communities like Woodinville, Snoqualmie, and North Bend as part of King County District 3, Perry hopes to wed effective transit and sound environmental practices to preserve these areas’ rural character while expanding use.
“I’m very committed to maintaining the beauty of our more rural communities, and that requires shuttles and public transit to trailheads and to public areas that will reduce our impact on nature,” Perry said. Though she believes King County is moving in the right direction with its established climate plan, Perry worries that the county isn’t meeting metrics.
“What extra steps do we need to take each year, what new marks need to be met to align with our climate plan goal?” she asks.
Asked about her opponent, Perry paused before answering.
“It’s been 20 years—my opponent has been in office since Bush was president, and our district has changed tremendously, and I think it’s time for a change,” she said. “We need a representative for complex solutions who can meet the moment at hand for the communities we have.”