Sammamish City Council average age: 66; median age of Sammamish: 38

Concert in Park

The median age in Sammamish is 38. The City has more young adults and children (18 and under) than any other city in the state. Our City Council’s average age is 66. Image: Sammamish Concert in the Park. Photo via Google images.

The Sammamish City Council is highly representative of senior citizens and grandparents.

It’s not at all representative of the demographics of the City: median age of 38 with children of high school age or less.

Three seats are up for election Nov. 3: Positions 2, 4 and 6, held by Nancy Whitten, 69, Ramiro Valderrama, 55, and Tom Vance, 63, respectively. Whitten is retiring after three terms. Valderrama and Vance are seeking reelection, each to a second term.

Hank Klein, a member of the Parks Commission, filed in May against Valderrama, but in July announced he was dropping out of the election. It was too late to withdraw his name from the ballot. Klein cited “personal reasons” and hasn’t elaborated since.

City Council

The Sammamish City Council isn’t representative of the demographics of the City. the average age is 66. Only Ramiro Valderrama still has offspring at home of High School age. The demographics of the City: median age 38 and more than half the population is of high school age or younger. Tom Hornish, opposing Tom Vance’s reelection, has a teenager and a youngster at home. Christie Malchow, opposing Mark Cross for retiring Nancy Whitten’s seat, has two young children at home. If elected, Valderrama, Hornish and Malchow come closest to representing Sammamish demographics. Hank Klein, opposing Valderrama, has dropped out of the election but his name remains on the ballot. Click on image to enlarge.

Christie Malchow, 42, a mother of two young children, and Mark Cross, 65, filed for Whitten’s seat. Malchow applied this year to be appointed to the Planning Commission, but wasn’t. Cross seeks a return to the City Council after a four year absence. He served two terms, during which he served two years as Mayor. Cross’ children are college age. Cross amazingly dismisses the need for a young representative on the Council.

Tom Hornish, 56, an attorney and entrepreneur, has a young teenager and a younger child. This is his first run at political office. He is president of the Sammamish Home Owners association, former chief executive officer of a company he sold and a former fighter pilot with the USAF and National Guard for 11 years. Vance served on the Planning Commission before being elected to City Council. He lost his 2009 attempt to John Curley, who pledged to serve only one term on the Council. Vance ran again in 2011 and won against a weak candidate.

Two of the Council Members, Vance and Bob Keller, have no children. Tom Odell, Don Gerend, Kathy Huckabay and Whitten have grown children and grandchildren.

Sammamish demographically is a young city. The median age is 38 and more than half the population is 18 or under, a unique demographic in the State. This demographic currently excludes the Klahanie annexation area. Although geographically now part of Sammamish, the Council on a 6-1 vote decided to delay allowing Klahanie to be eligible to vote until Jan. 1, after the November election. Valderrama, who championed the annexation, objected to the disenfranchisement of the local city election next month.

If Cross is elected and Vance reelected, the average Council age will drop by a few months to 65.8 years. If Malchow and Hornish are elected, the average age will drop from 66 to 61, but there will be more representation of parents with young children, and in Malchow’s case, the only Council Member who isn’t eligible for AARP membership.

6 thoughts on “Sammamish City Council average age: 66; median age of Sammamish: 38

  1. This article smells of age discrimination by Sammamish Comments. What does age have to do with a persons ability to govern. All the council members I know a very active in the community. I think you need to be very carefull when you start using age in your articles as a reason to vote for.someone.

    • You do know that the guy that runs this blog is no spring chicken, right? The current council mirrors his age pretty well.

      Age has a lot to do with priorities while you’re in office. People of different ages have different priorities. When you’re 66 you don’t have to commute every day off the plateau. You don’t mind holding 3PM meetings that people of working age can’t attend. You don’t have to worry about your kids having positive activities to do after school. You don’t have to worry about figuring out how to afford college in the face of a possible property tax increase.

      Another thing to think about – when you’re 66, you really aren’t focused on what Sammamish is going to look like in 30 years. Or rather, whatever it looks like won’t impact you. You’ve sold your house by then and are out of Dodge. The largest concern voiced by people in this city is really what the future quality of life is going to be in Sammamish. Shouldn’t the largest demographic in the city have some representation on the Council?

      There is something to be said for the makeup of the council mirroring the city. Particularly in Sammamish, which has one of the youngest average ages of any city in the state. Ultimately, it’s a decision that the voters have to make. You don’t find people every day with two young children that are willing to put in the late nights, countless hours, etc that being on the council requires. She has the flexibility in her life right now to do that. In my opinion, we should jump on the opportunity to put someone like that on the council.

  2. Yes, I’d say that the reason that there’s such a difference in ages between the council and the rest of Sammamish is attributable to the fact that the younger crowd are busy with their families. Us older folk have the time to dabble in politics if we so choose. Kind of unfortunate but that’s the way it is it seems. Sure, I’d love to see a council that more closely matched the median age of the city but I also don’t think that the age difference would make that much of a difference. My political slant hasn’t changed much over the years. I imagine the same is true for others, if not most others.

    This is a puzzling article. I’m not sure why it was written. This stuff should be fairly obvious.

    • @Bob: It’s been my experience during the eight years I served on the Planning Advisory Board and the Planning Commission that what should be obvious isn’t always so.

      @Dean: As noted by Concerned Citizen, I’m in the same age bracket as a couple of the current Council Members (though through the use of Geritol, I’d object to the “spring chicken” reference….) In fact, I served on the PAB and Commission with Bob Keller; and on the Commission with Tom Vance. Like them, I have no kids of my own and only an adult step-daughter. I do not represent the demographics of this city and neither do they–nor does anyone currently come close except Valderrama. A perspective which does is needed on the Council. “Age discrimination” is not only a spurious suggestion, it’s simply ignoring the unrepresented majority demographic of this city.

      Tom Hornish and Christie Malchow are well qualified and they are willing to step up. Even if they are elected and Valderrama is reelected, we doddering old fuds will still be amply represented on the Council.

  3. I’m far more interested in having someone that represents my interests, ethics, and political beliefs than my age demographic.

    This really is the epitome of silly season politics.

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