Sammamish City Council Member Tom Odell won’t seek a third term this fall, he announced Saturday.
In an email Odell sent to The Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter and to Sammamish Comment, Odell prefaced his announcement with, “Despite the fact this is April 1st this is for real and is not an April Fools item.”
Odell, who holds Position 7, is the fourth Council Member to announce a decision to end their current term this year. Previously, May Don Gerend, Deputy Mayor Bob Keller and Member Kathy Huckabay announced decisions not to run again.
Gerend has been on the Council since 1999. Huckabay, like Gerend, was an original Council member but took a two-year hiatus. Keller is in his first term.
Except for Keller, who is in his 60s, all are in their 70s.
This means the next City Council will be decidedly younger and closer to the demographics of Sammamish.
Odell’s statement is below.
It has been almost eight years since I first announced my candidacy for the Sammamish City Council. In the election of the fall of 2009 I was fortunate to be elected to that body by a significant majority of the voters of our city. Since then it has been my privilege and pleasure to serve for the last seven years as one of your seven Councilmembers. During this time I also had the opportunity and privilege to serve as your Deputy Mayor and as your Mayor.
My time in office has seen significant but challenging progress for the city. Our population has increased to over 62,000 today both through natural growth and by annexation of neighboring areas. Sammamish is now larger than either of our neighboring cities to the north and south. Our Town Center project, which will offer additional services and amenities to our residents, is finally starting to move forward. Managing growth will continue to demand our attention.
I am especially proud of the major roles that I have played for our city in the following:
- The building of our new Community and Aquatic Center in conjunction with our partners, the Y.
- Leading the city’s effort for the annexation of the greater Klahanie area into the city.
- The agreement with Central Washington University to establish a Sammamish campus which provides our high school students with new (and much closer) opportunities for Running Start programs that will also allow them to continue their connection with their high schools. For our adult residents, this agreement will provide continuing educational opportunities and the ability to locally pursue bachelors and advanced degrees.
- The enhanced Critical Areas and Shoreline Master Plan Ordinances which will help to protect our fragile local environment from increased degradation in future years.
- The revised and substantially strengthened Tree Retention Ordinance which will help to preserve the existing tree canopy cover for our city in the future.
- My role in guiding the planning process to substantially improve our network of primary and secondary arterial roads.
All of this has been most satisfying to me personally. I have very much enjoyed working closely with others on the Council and city staff to keep the city running smoothly and in fine fiscal shape. Our city’s cash balance is roughly the same as it was eight years ago despite some very significant self-funding of capital improvement projects.
My time in public service has accounted for just about ten years of my life if you include my military service. Now, after two terms on the Council, I have decided that I will decline the opportunity for a third. It is time for me to turn my attention more to our family as well as to travel and perhaps fishing and to explore other opportunities for the coming years.
Thank you so much for the opportunity and privilege to serve you. It has been an honor.