Sound Cities Association announces Issaquah mayor as 2024 president

SCA is comprised of 38 King County cities with populations under 250,000 residents.

Last month, Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly was elected president of the 2024 Sound Cities Association (SCA).

Pauly will replace former Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro, who spoke on Pauly’s ability to fill the position in a Feb. 21 press release.

“Mayor Pauly is an outstanding leader and the right person to advance SCA’s mission to partner regionally to create livable, vital communities,” he said.

Alongside Pauly, Des Moines Mayor Traci Buxton was recently elected vice president of the SCA. Buxton credits Pauly as a “true public servant” who works hard to listen and advocate for Issaquah residents and the region.

The SCA is comprised of 38 King County cities with populations under 250,000 residents. Elected council members and mayors on the SCA board use the platform to share resources and ideas, while advocating for over 1 million residents.

This collaborative work allows smaller, diverse cities to have a voice alongside larger cities like Seattle, Tacoma and Everett in addressing regional issues such as homelessness, transportation and land use planning.

Pauly, who began serving on the SCA Board of Directors in 2020, said she has two projects she will focus on during her one year term as president.

One of the projects includes working with SCA Executive Director David Hoffman and the SCA equity and inclusion board to create video tutorials on how any elected mayors or council members can rise in leadership through SCA. This gap of information was something she noticed a few years ago when she was on the equity and inclusion board, which assembled shortly after George Floyd’s murder in 2020.

“What I found when I joined that equity and inclusion board was that this [board] was really for our organization,” Pauly said. “What it meant was, demystifying how a person of color in an elected position can get on the board.”

These videos will be available on the SCA website, allowing accessible information to any elected official interested in representing their city and surrounding cities in the region.

“These [videos] will demystify how it is that people rise up through leadership in this organization are how they get appointed to a certain table or be involved in certain conversation,” she said. “You shouldn’t be just hearing about that from somebody else. It should be a pretty obvious process.”

Pauly will also attempt to bridge the conversation between SCA and the state Legislature. She said as a collective, cities feel the state Legislature has lost trust that cities can foster “vibrant, vital and equitable communities.”

“They are doing stuff to us instead of sitting down at tables with us and talking stuff through — we really feel beaten up,” she said.

As a result, Pauly said the state routinely passes one-size-fits-all legislation.

“It’s a real wrench in the works if your city is already getting the right outcome. But the state passes something that says you have to do it a different way,” she said.

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