NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

NPI alum Michael Finkle swears in the City of Redmond’s new female governing majority

The City of Red­mond is begin­ning a new era under new man­age­ment.

Last night, NPI’s home­town — a grow­ing and increas­ing­ly diverse sub­urb of Seat­tle — cel­e­brat­ed the inau­gu­ra­tion of its new may­or and city coun­cil.

NPI alum and King Coun­ty Dis­trict Court Judge Michael Fin­kle (who authored NPI’s Code of Ethics and served on NPI’s staff pri­or to join­ing the bench in 2020) admin­is­tered the oath of office to new­ly elect­ed May­or Angela Bir­ney and Coun­cilmem­bers David Car­son, Jes­si­ca Forsythe, Var­isha Khan, and Vanes­sa Kritzer.

Togeth­er with Coun­cilmem­bers Steve Fields, Jeralee Ander­son, and Tani­ka Pad­hye, they will gov­ern Red­mond for the next two years. (Their terms extend through 2023, while Fields, Ander­son, and Pad­hye’s terms extend through 2021.)

Redmond's new Mayor and City Council

Red­mond’s new May­or and City Coun­cil pose for a pic­ture. Top row: David Car­son and Steve Fields. Mid­dle row: Jeralee Ander­son, May­or Angela Bir­ney, Jes­si­ca Forsythe. Front row: Tani­ka Pad­hye, Var­isha Khan, Vanes­sa Kritzer. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

This is the first time in Red­mond’s his­to­ry that it has had a female may­or along with a female coun­cil super­ma­jor­i­ty.

It actu­al­ly was­n’t all that long ago that Red­mond’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives were almost entire­ly male, as new­ly elect­ed May­or Angela Bir­ney observed dur­ing her remarks fol­low­ing the swear­ing-in cer­e­monies.

Nine years ago, there was just one woman serv­ing on the city coun­cil: Kim Allen, one of NPI’s ear­li­est and strongest sup­port­ers. Now there are five.

As of nine years ago, Red­mond’s gov­ern­ment was:

Male-iden­ti­fy­ing

  • May­or John Mar­chione
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Richard Cole
  • Coun­cilmem­ber David Car­son
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Hank Marge­son
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Hank Myers
  • Coun­cilmem­ber John Stilin
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Pat Vache

Female-iden­ti­fy­ing

  • Coun­cilmem­ber Kim Allen

As of Decem­ber 2019, we almost have the inverse:

Male-iden­ti­fy­ing

  • Coun­cilmem­ber Steve Fields
  • Coun­cilmem­ber David Car­son

Female-iden­ti­fy­ing

  • May­or Angela Bir­ney
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Var­isha Khan
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Jes­si­ca Forsythe
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Tani­ka Pad­hye
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Vanes­sa Kritzer
  • Coun­cilmem­ber Jeralee Ander­son

That’s a huge change for Red­mond — and a wel­come one.

When gov­ern­ment looks like the com­mu­ni­ty that it is sup­posed to rep­re­sent, we all ben­e­fit. Last night’s swear­ing-in saw incred­i­ble com­mu­ni­ty turnout, much of it for Var­isha Khan, who is now the youngest mem­ber of the city coun­cil. The coun­cil cham­bers were packed for the occa­sion, with every seat tak­en.

I worked on Var­isha’s cam­paign in a per­son­al capac­i­ty (NPI does­n’t endorse can­di­dates) and am very proud of her vic­to­ry. I was pleased to see so many peo­ple show up to hon­or her his­toric accom­plish­ment. Behind by around ten points on Elec­tion Night to incum­bent Hank Myers, Var­isha Khan over­came a huge deficit to take the lead and win by a mar­gin of only six­ty-six votes. She is one of two Islam­ic women to win city coun­cil races this year; the oth­er is Pas­co’s Zahra Roach.

Cour­tesy of the City of Red­mond, here is a bio­graph­i­cal sketch of each of the indi­vid­u­als who was sworn in last night for new terms.

May­or-elect Angela Bir­ney was elect­ed to City Coun­cil in 2015 and served as Coun­cil Pres­i­dent from 2018 to 2019. She cur­rent­ly rep­re­sents Red­mond on sev­er­al region­al boards and com­mit­tees and pre­vi­ous­ly served on the Parks and Trails Com­mis­sion.

Angela grew up in East­ern Wash­ing­ton and moved to Red­mond in 1998. For­mer­ly a mid­dle school sci­ence teacher, she earned a Mas­ter of Edu­ca­tion from Her­itage Uni­ver­si­ty and a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Biol­o­gy Edu­ca­tion from East­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. She lives on Edu­ca­tion Hill with her hus­band and daugh­ters.

Angela Birney's swearing-in

Angela Bir­ney is sworn in as May­or of Red­mond (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

Var­isha Khan’s back­ground is root­ed in local jour­nal­ism and non­prof­its. As a jour­nal­ist, she devel­oped a beat around issues per­tain­ing to race, immi­grants and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.

In her non­prof­it work, she focused on mak­ing media and gov­ern­ment more rep­re­sen­ta­tive and inclu­sive. Born in Dal­las, Texas to a mid­dle-class Amer­i­can Mus­lim fam­i­ly, Var­isha received her Bach­e­lor of Arts degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Jour­nal­ism and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence.

Varisha Khan's swearing in

Var­isha Khan is sworn in as a Red­mond City Coun­cilmem­ber (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

Jes­si­ca Forsythe is an award-win­ning Cre­ative Direc­tor and own­er of a small graph­ic design stu­dio which works pri­mar­i­ly with clients who seek to bet­ter their com­mu­ni­ty.

Orig­i­nal­ly from North­east Ohio, Jes­si­ca grad­u­at­ed from Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty with a Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts in Visu­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Design with a con­cen­tra­tion in Envi­ron­men­tal Design. She has worked in envi­ron­men­tal design, archi­tec­ture, brand­ing, and was the Art Direc­tor for the Seat­tle Sym­pho­ny.

Jessica Forsythe's swearing-in

Jes­si­ca Forsythe is sworn in as a Red­mond City Coun­cilmem­ber (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

Vanes­sa Kritzer has devot­ed her career to work­ing for social and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice. She has expe­ri­ence in the non-prof­it, gov­ern­ment, and pri­vate sec­tors, most recent­ly at Microsoft.

Vanes­sa attend­ed under­grad at Vas­sar Col­lege, where she earned a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Latin Amer­i­can and Lat­inx Stud­ies and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence and obtained a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton Fos­ter School of Busi­ness and a Mas­ter of Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion from the Evans School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy and Gov­er­nance. She recent­ly served on the City of Redmond’s Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and lives in Down­town Red­mond with her hus­band and young daugh­ter.

Vanessa Kritzer's swearing-in

Vanes­sa Kritzer is sworn in as a Red­mond City Coun­cilmem­ber (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

David Car­son, elect­ed to a fourth term on City Coun­cil, moved from South­ern Ore­gon to Red­mond to work for Microsoft in 1991. He grad­u­at­ed from Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree in Busi­ness Man­age­ment. He cur­rent­ly rep­re­sents the City on the Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Coun­cil (EDC) of Seat­tle and King Coun­ty, the Emer­gency Man­age­ment Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee (EMAC), the East­side Trans­porta­tion Part­ner­ship (ETP), and as the chair of the Red­mond Lodg­ing Tax Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee (LTAC).

David Carson's swearing-in

David Car­son is sworn in for a new term on the Red­mond City Coun­cil (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Red­mond’s new elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives. May you gov­ern NPI’s home­town wise­ly and well. We look for­ward to see­ing you in action!

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