Meet your Candidates – August 1st Primary Election

July 17, 2017 | by Erin Sirianni

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Ballots have been delivered to Mercer Island households for the King County primary election on August 1st, and with that, Mercer Island “sign season” begins. The first crop of signs showcases the names of candidates for City Council Position No. 6 and School Board Position No. 3. The top two vote earners of these elections will appear on the November general election ballot.  

If you’re not sure who to vote for, you can learn more about the City Council and School Board candidates below. The Mercer Island Reporter has also published an article about the council candidates  and an article about the school board candidates.

The following candidate information is available in the King County Official Local Voters Pamphlet:

Candidates for the Mercer Island City Council – Position No. 6

Mark Coen

Education:  Bachelor’s in English, Psychology minor, UCLA; Master’s Social Work, Child Mental Health Specialist, UW
Occupation:  Mental Health Counselor, Attachment and Trauma Specialists
Mercer Island is facing significant issues that will impact our quality of life, lack of assertive leadership has detrimentally impacted our community.

I-90 gridlock, residential development, a budget deficit and greater support for emergency services/police/fire are issues that need to be resolved.

Growth must enhance our community, and safety must be a priority.

A 17-year resident, I have been active in our schools, parks, and residential code update. I have intimate knowledge of our City’s operations and definite ideas about how we can increase transparency to greater reflect the will of our citizens.

I am a strong proponent of focusing on solutions by working collaboratively but will not hesitate to protect and advocate for our quality of life.

For more information:
PO Box 466
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 232-8888
[email protected]

Elaine Kavalok

Education:  University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts
Occupation:  Strong-Bridge Consulting, LLC – Sr. Business Management Consultant
As a long-time MI resident and native of the Puget Sound area, I am committed to maintain our unique character and will actively represent Islander interests and concerns. Our island is exceptional in its geographic location and between two influential cities and I will endeavor to find solutions to maintain our own identity and independent thinking.

I’m a pragmatic leader and woman of integrity. My business experience taught me to attentively consider information from all aspects, distill it down to actionable & meaningful goals for the greater good and move forward.
While thoughtfully planning our island’s future, my pledge is to balance the budget, safeguard public safety & open spaces, proactively identify & address potential issues & opportunities, and to be your Voice of the Citizens within local government.

I look forward to serving you. Thank you for your vote.

For more information:
5908 E Mercer Way
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 854-5511
[email protected]

Benson D. Wong

Education:  BA in Political Science from Yale University, JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School
Occupation:   Business attorney at the Keller Rohrback L.L.P. law firm
We moved to Mercer Island 33 years ago for the same reasons that many of you have – it’s special. Mercer Island is a peaceful and safe place to raise families and enjoy life. My top priority is to retain our character and values given the region’s growth. Because I-90 is the only way on and off the Island, I have fought for our rights in negotiations with, and in litigation against, Sound Transit and WSDOT and will continue to vigorously do so. A new Town Center Development Code and a new Residential Code both reflect my commitment to enhancing our city.
Moving forward we must ensure our finances are managed responsibly to meet our current and future needs and that we continue to make Mercer Island a welcoming and inclusionary community.

I look forward to partnering with you during the next four years and I ask for your vote.

For more information:
P.O. Box 325
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 232-4384
[email protected]

Candidates for the Mercer Island School District – Position No. 3

Linhui Hao

Education:  Doctor’s in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Ohio State University
Occupation:  Consultant
We here at Mercer Island need a school board of director who is able to ensure a good quality of education with limited state funding. I feel that I would be able to provide that if I were to become a school board of director. I am a doctor in life science, and have gone through the entire track of education. And as a mother of two children, I have initiated and contributed in many school activities. I believe that I can bring new perspectives and uphold the legacy of this district.

My goals for this district are to keep good teachers, strengthen Math and reading in lower grades for better academic performance when they move to high school, introduce more advanced learning opportunities, including more access of AP courses, and bring stronger ELL support for the increasing amount of non-native speakers in the district and better engage their parents.

For more information:
8420 SE 40th St.
mercer island, WA 98040
(608) 469-8177
[email protected]

Diana Lein

Education:  BS Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland; PhD Neuroscience, Case Western Reserve University; Fellowship, Salk Institute
Occupation:  Neuroscientist, Community Volunteer and Advocate, Math and Science Tutor
Mercer Island schools are at a crossroads. With changes to state funding and the retirement of our superintendent, we have an opportunity for growth. I envision a student-first culture that celebrates equity and diversity. All children are unique and should be given an environment to grow to their best selves. As an Island community parent, advocate and volunteer, I have demonstrated success in making positive change for over a decade. As a professional, I have been a national leader, local mentor, and adult educator within a global company. In both my career as a neuroscientist and in my personal life I have continuously worked toward improving the lives of others and I hope to use these experiences to help serve the students, families, and teachers of the Mercer Island School District. To learn more about Growing Mercer Island One Mind at a Time visit
For more information:
PO Box 522
Mercer Island, WA 98040
[email protected]

Deborah Schneider Lurie

Education:  JD, American University. BA, Business Administration, Franklin and Marshall College. MIHS Class of 1990.
Occupation:  Attorney, King County Department of Public Defense
Mercer Island School District is at a time of great change: a superintendent search, looming budget concerns, and teacher contract negotiations. We need leaders who are committed to our vision to serve all students, to hear and balance many voices, and to make the right decisions.

I’m running for school board to put my qualifications and values to work for the wonderful community in which I grew up and where my husband and I have chosen to raise our own daughter.

I have spent 17 years advocating for children and families in the legal system. I listen carefully, know every child has unique needs, consider all viewpoints, solve challenging problems with few resources and don’t shy away from making critical, life-changing decisions.

The Mercer Island community, our families, and our kids expect and deserve the best outcomes, and I am committed to building on our very successful history.

For more information:
4859 90th Pl SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 669-8779
[email protected]