The three candidates for Sammamish City Council Position 3 responded to an initial round of questions from Sammamish Comment.
- A short bio, including your current employment
- How long you have lived in Sammamish
- Any civic activities you’ve engaged in.
- Your top 3 issues for your campaign.
- Your website.
Minal Kode Ghassemieh
I was born and raised in Washington State. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington School of Business. I have spent the last 9 years practicing immigration law, and providing pro bono services to low-income clients through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, OneAmerica and the City of Seattle’s Office Of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. I am Board Chair of API Chaya, a Seattle-based agency that provides services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. I am also a childhood survivor of domestic violence and very vocal in sharing my experiences with the hope of helping others protect themselves from violence. I am a member of the Washington State Bar Association and South Asian Bar Association of Washington. My husband is a tax attorney at Harlowe & Falk and teaches at the University of Washington Law School. I have three children, ages 6, 4 and 7 months.
I have lived in Sammamish six years.
Civic Activity: Board Chair at API Chaya; Pro Bono Attorney for NWIRP, SABAW, OneAmerica, City of Seattle; Community Volunteer at Large
Top Three Issues:
Balancing Growth with Sustainable Infrastructure and Preserving the Environment;
Partnering with our Neighbors in the Region to increase Transit to Our City; and
Raising Awareness on Violence and Drug Use in our Community,
Karen Howe has lived in Sammamish for 25 years and became an elected Precinct Committee Officer (SAM 45-3217) in 2016. She’s a seasoned business leader with more than 20 years of high-tech executive management experience. She’s been a Vice President at AOL, CEO of Technicolor-subsidiary Singingfish, and was recruited to bring new products to market from within Microsoft Research as a Director of Marketing. Currently she’s a marketing consultant for Intelliswift. Other career highlights include 11 years with Adobe Systems and Aldus Corp., where she helped launch the desktop publishing category and established the company’s Australian subsidiary. Karen has won two WEBBY awards and listed on two patents.
Passionate about giving back to the community, Karen has held Cancer Lifeline, PTSA and HOA board positions, and logged hundreds of hours as a volunteer. She was an Eastside Girls Lacrosse coach for two years and now is a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children (CASA).
She received her B.A. from Whitman College in Walla Walla, and in her spare time enjoys outdoor sports such as skiing, hiking, and rock climbing with her daughter. She’s married to Phil Howe and they have two adult children.
Residence in Sammamish: 25 years.
- Co-lead Sammamish Huddle
- CASA (court appointed special advocate)
- PCO SAM 45-3217
My Top three issues:
- Managed growth-related
- Canopy protection vs. clear cuts
- Increased % tree retention per zone
- Fund and proceed with proposed parks land acquisition plan
- Creative public transit options
- Increased need to provide residents, youth, seniors, and riders with disabilities greater and more consistent access
- Canopy protection vs. clear cuts
- Community engagement and outreach
- Promote increased communication and transparency between city government and residents
- Ensure Sammamish stays a safe and civil city for everyone, where intolerance and hate speech are strictly prohibited
- Promote forums for neighbors and neighborhoods to get to know each other better, online and offline
- Manage to the city’s Comprehensive Plan
- As it’s 20 year plan, updates are required
- Fund and finish what we start (e.g. roads, sidewalks)
I’ll be migrating the site to www.electkarenhowe.com in the next few days.
Karen has lived in what is now the City of Sammamish for almost 30 years where, together with her husband, Rich, she has raised three children. Karen was instrumental in the founding of the City itself, and has been intimately involved in community improvement at all levels from local to regional and State.
In addition to initiating the Sammamish incorporation effort, Karen’s long list of community endeavors include PTSA president, and service on the Sammamish Parks Board, Sammamish Planning Advisory Board, Sammamish Planning Commission, Washington State Boundary Review Board, and King County Women’s Advisory Board. She is currently Commissioner and Board President of Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, and Secretary of Sammamish Kiwanis. Karen is trained in and serves on FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for the region including Sammamish. Recipient of the Key to the City for Sammamish.
Karen’s vision for Sammamish is centered on remembering why we all wanted to live here.
“Sammamish is a bedroom community that is growing faster than our infrastructure can handle. While this is a regional problem, Sammamish needs a plan to enable us address the impacts within the City. What is coming in the new Town Center will bring many new residents and businesses to our city. We need to infrastructure in place to handle this new load, and that infrastructure must be implemented currently with this new growth.”
A degreed accountant, Karen has worked in various capacities for the Lake Washington School District, as well as in private business, and believes strongly in fiscal responsibility. “Sammamish is going to have some tough choices to make. To meet the challenges, transparency in government is a must, and citizens’ opinions and concerns must be solicited and addressed in a timely fashion.”
“We live in a beautiful area and we all need to work together to preserve what we can so that it can be enjoyed for years to come. This will only be accomplished by a community working together.”
Top 3 issues:
- Finances = budget/expenditures
- Natural resourses/environment