Reporter endorsements for Sammamish City Council seats | Editorial

Sammamish Position 1: Mark Baughman

With four open seats, the Sammamish City Council will have four new members who will need the skills, ability, knowledge and passion to begin the next term at full speed.

For all the talent between the two Position 1 candidates, Mark Baughman is the strongest candidate for that seat. A political newcomer, Baughman is passionate about Sammamish and can help the city navigate complex development issues. He has a strong background in commercial construction and has worked on large-scale development projects such as hotels and waste water treatment plants.

Baughman wants to help guide the city with its development challenges and provide that connection between the city and development concepts and policies. He wants the city to be more proactive with managing Town Center growth and ensuring developers are following the city’s policies.

His opponent, Jason Ritchie, is also passionate about the city and has a strong grasp of the issues facing Sammamish. He wants the council to focus on balancing tree canopy and development, and resolving traffic issues by pinpointing congested areas. He is skillful in working with regional partners.

However, Baughman’s keen viewpoint that the city’s challenges with tree canopy and traffic are intertwined with development issues will serve the city well.

Sammamish Position 3: Karen Howe

For Position 3, we recommend Karen Howe, who has a solid grasp of the city’s tree canopy challenges and wants the city to fund the urban forest management plan.

Howe has been the CEO of a high-tech company and calls herself a creative analytic — a positive for the city. She vows to look at all the data for a particular issue and make decisions based on information, not emotion. She is also an advocate for transparency, and wants to create opportunities for residents to meet with city leaders and developers so they get some answers.

Karen Moran is also concerned about the disconnect between the current council and the public. A small business owner, she wants to attract more businesses to Sammamish to expand the city’s tax base. Moran was critical of some of the same city processes that she has been involved in, including the disconnect between city commissions and the council.

Sammamish Position 5: Rituja Indapure

Rituja Indapure is the strongest candidate for Position 5. She is firmly committed to engaging with residents and will dig deep to find out what they really want. She would bring integrity and innovation to the position.

She would also bring her analytic background in the tech industry, where she has gained experience working with teams.

Indapure is concerned about economic growth and has gone the distance to research what other cities are doing to address the issue, including meeting with Issaquah’s economic development manager.

Chris Ross is also analytical with a background in financial planning. He believes long-term planning is critical for the city and would be aggressive in managing the city’s priorities.

However, Indapure would bring a much-needed approach to inclusivity to the city, and create a more welcoming council for its residents.

Sammamish Position 7: Pam Stuart

For Position 7, we recommend residents vote for Pam Stuart, who would bring her background in mechanical engineering to the position. Stuart is data-driven, she understands math and has experience in finance and working with traffic studies. She also currently works in advocacy for Microsoft Corp., speaking with customers, bringing groups together and finding solutions. She would also bring this collaborative approach to the city.

John Robinson also has solid experience as a director and manager in the health care industry. He would focus on resolving the city’s complex issues of traffic congestion, development and protecting the environment. However, his vision on how to solve some of these issues is somewhat vague.

Stuart will focus on sustaining the city’s growth plan that balances development with infrastructure and protecting the environment. Some of her ideas to achieve this include attracting diverse businesses to the city so residents can work where they live, and reducing traffic by increasing the city’s transportation options, including public and private partnerships.

The board includes general manager William Shaw, editor Carrie Rodriguez, Sammamish resident Larry Crandall and Issaquah residents Fred Nystrom and Dale Williams. The board interviewed all candidates and made endorsements via a democratic vote.