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.
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.