Each candidate running for the Burien City Council Aug. 1, 2023 Primary Election was asked ten questions by The B-Town Blog, covering topics like their reasons for wanting to serve on the council, what they think about current issues in the city, and what kind of solutions they have.
The following responses to our ninth question in our series are from candidates for Position 4, which is currently filled by Kevin Schilling, who is running for reelection.
Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.
NOTE: Candidates are listed in order as per the King County Elections online Voters Guide website. Photos and links are to/from each candidate’s profile on the same website.
How would you engage with Burien’s youth and seniors?
“Just the other day, I spoke to a 93-year-old man who built his house in Burien (then unincorporated King County) in 1958, after he got back from the Korean War and finished his education. He’s lived there ever since. He spent many years in a good union job, and has lived off his pension in retirement. We spoke for a while about how Burien has changed over the years, and what he thinks he needs. His response: ‘just do your best to solve problems and make it easier for people like me.’ He reminded me of my own grandfathers, who were both veterans. I want more grandparents to be able to stay in Burien long-term.
“Here’s a few ways I’ve fought for working seniors:
- “I was the only councilmember that voted against the utility tax increase on low-income seniors and families.
- “I worked to spearhead the Burien Tax Relief Assistance Program.
- “I’ve voted against council directed property tax increases that did not have a carve-out for senior citizens.
- “I joined AmeriCorps during the pandemic to bring emergency food to low-income seniors in Burien’s assisted living and public housing facilities.
“Another thing I love about Burien: we’re a place for families to call home. I grew up here, and I remember when kids were able to walk to school on their own, go to the park and enjoy the beach. As a former Youth Minister and Middle School Educator at St. Francis of Assisi, I’ve thought a lot about keeping Burien a great place to be a kid. Here’s a few things I’ve done to help:
- “I led the charge on doing something about expanding childcare opportunities in Burien. Believe it or not, a lot of parents are now millennials.
- “I continue to be involved with my high school alma mater, Aviation High School, by showing up whenever they need alumni involvement.
- “I partnered with the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce to develop a youth entrepreneurship program that is still operating.
- “I served on the National League of Cities Youth, Families and Education committee advising on how we can improve communities.
- “I’ve worked to keep Burien welcoming to a wide range of families. I welcomed the Muslim American Youth Foundation to Burien, and went to speak on interfaith dialogue with their young folks.
- “I’ve supported funding for the Parks Department late night program for teens and kids in partnership with our local public high schools.”
“I would work to establish local neighborhood forums to hear from youth and seniors in order to understand what their needs and concerns are. We can attract both youth and seniors by meeting them in environments where they feel comfortable and safe to share their stories. Meeting people where they are, on their own terms, will help us to create successful systems and programs. We must continue to collaborate with seniors and youth, allowing them to “consult” as subject matter experts for the programs we create for them. They must be involved at every level of development to ensure we are meeting their needs.”
“Highline School District has led with its commitment to its students to feed all students every day, fueled in part by the fact that 3/4 of the students qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program. Even so, many of our youth and seniors face food insecurity as well as housing insecurity. Legacy media is losing attention and trust. Public voices are not known for honesty and nuance.
“I have been intentional about taking my campaign directly to the people by word-of-mouth and direct engagement, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote outreach. When on council, I will promote the great work the city does to bring accessible public information and public services to the communities that need them most.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here to read the answers to this same question by candidates for Burien City Council, Position No. 2.
Next up in the conclusion of our 10-question 2023 election series – we ask Burien City Council candidates:
How would you enhance Burien’s environmental sustainability and resilience?