Your Local Candidates – November 7th General Election

October 21, 2017 | by Erin Sirianni

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Ballots have been delivered to Mercer Island households for the King County general election on November 7th, and candidates are in their final stretches of campaigning with about two weeks to go before election day.

If you’re still looking to learn more about the candidates, check out the Reporter’s recent article with a recap of the recent debate at the Mercer Island Beach Club.

We’ve also provided a guide below to learn more about the City Council and School Board candidates. The following candidate information is available in the King County Official Local Voters Pamphlet:

City of Mercer Island, Council Position No. 2

Salim Nice

Education:  B.A. Seattle University; Mercer Island School System (Elementary, Middle, and Senior High)
Occupation:  Managing Partner, CTMI, LLC; Mercer Island City Council (Appointed 2017)
As a second-generation Islander, I appreciate the uniqueness of our community and understand why so many families want to call Mercer Island home. As a business leader, I analyze data, solve complex problems and work collaboratively with some of the largest companies in the world. Those skills apply to some of the financial and planning challenges we face today. As a parent and a graduate of the MI school system, I am attuned to some of the issues and hurdles faced by our schools and our families. I have looked for ways to serve the community—the Council provides an opportunity for me to use my skill set to help the City drive sound financial decisions, transportation solutions, preserve our quality-of-life and work to protect the environment. It would be an honor to serve our community in this way.
Endorsed by current/former Councilmembers Dan Grausz, David Wisenteiner, Mike Cero, Jeff Sanderson
For more information:
5619 89th Ave SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(360) 209-2106
[email protected]

City of Mercer Island, Council Position No. 4

Tom Acker

Education: MBA/CU; Bachelor English Seattle University, Minor Philosophy; Configuration Management certification
Occupation:  Boeing Company, HR 737 China Strategy and Integration Senior Leader
Mercer Island is a unique and special community. Tom Acker values this environment, both growing up on Mercer Island and now with his wife, Anne, as they raise their three boys. Tom is an involved parent, leader and supporter at the Northwood Elementary PTA & Legislative Advocacy, Mercer Island Schools Foundation, Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, and a champion for the arts, parks and schools.
Tom recognizes the importance of fiscal management and brings key business experience to effectively manage our city. Professionally, Tom has worked for multiple international companies, specializing in structured performance improvement plans, leading successful inter-agency partnerships and negotiating complex international transactions.
Acker believes the community should have a voice in decisions, and Tom will represent the people of Mercer Island. Electing Tom ensures transparent communication, focus on improved I-90 commuting, balanced town and residential developmental standards, and sustainable fiscal budgeting.
Thank you for your vote.
For more information:
2427 84th Avenue Southeast
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
(206) 498-4626
[email protected]

Joy Langley

Education: MA Political Management, George Washington University; BA Philosophy Cornell University
Occupation: Government Affairs Professional
Transparency and citizen engagement are the lifeblood of a thriving community. Transportation impacts, residential codes, public safety and budget deficits require community based solutions from forward-looking leaders committed to bringing together disparate voices.
My experience in government affairs – finding common sense solutions among government, business and private interests – has earned me a no-nonsense, get it done reputation. I am excited for the opportunity to bring my experience and skills to City Council.
Since moving here to raise my family I have dedicated myself to public service. I have chaired MI Arts Council, served on CMIPS, MIPA and Wester Mercer Elementary boards, MI District PTA Advocacy Council and been a member at large for the MIFC Soccer Association.
I ask for your vote.
Endorsed by: Former Mayor Fred Jarrett, Mayor Bruce Bassett Councilmember Debbie Bertlin Rep. Tana Senn, Former Chamber Exec Terry Moreman and many more.
For more information:
PO Box 53
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 395-8279
[email protected]

City of Mercer Island, Council Position No. 6

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
I am a 33-year Mercer Island resident, and for the past four years I have worked to make Mercer Island as great as its residents. My commitment, compassion and experience will help guide us through an exceptional period. Among my priorities are to retain our character and values given the region’s growth and to ensure that we are prepared for emergencies that might arise. As your Councilmember, I have persevered to address challenging community issues, including transportation, water quality, the Town Center and residential development. I will continue to listen to your concerns so that we work together to prioritize our needs. I will balance long range planning with responsible governance to ensure we make wise future investments within fiscal constraints.
I am proud to be endorsed by many current and former elected officials, community leaders and hundreds more.
I look forward to partnering with you to build our community.
For more information:
P.O. Box 325
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 232-4384
[email protected]

Mark Coen

Education:  Bachelor’s in English, Psychology Minor, UCLA; Master’s Social Work, Child Mental Health Specialist, UW
Occupation:  Mental Health Counselor, Founder of Attachment and Trauma Specialists
Mercer Island needs a new voice on your City Council who will help usher in an era of greater transparency and citizen input, provide mobility solutions that alleviate traffic stress and safety concerns, be able to streamline our operations without overtaxing residents and start addressing our aging infrastructure so we can avoid compromising our safety.
In my seventeen fortunate years here, I’ve been a strong advocate for our schools, parks and neighborhood character, and sat on the board of Youth and Family Services. I foresee a shuttle service to mitigate transportation issues, a more vibrant Town Center, a financially stronger City and a forward thinking Council that reflects the needs and will of our citizens. We must make decisive changes towards these goals.
I’m asking for your vote to be an architect for Mercer Island’s future to protect what we love in the face of increasing regional pressures. Thank you.
For more information:
3040 78th Ave SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(206) 232-8888
[email protected]

Mercer Island School District No. 400, Director Position No. 2

Brian Giannini Upton

Education:  University of Wyoming, Fine Arts and Education
Occupation:  Community Volunteer
As an elementary school parent, I respect our district’s rich history and seek to work collaboratively to enrich and ensure opportunities for all students. Striving for equity in our classrooms and community, I will champion world-class learning for every child, seek input from all stakeholders, and support best practices and smart budgets for our district.
My professional background is in theater arts, child advocacy and education. Facilitating workshops, performing, and volunteering in Washington schools has given me the opportunity to recognize and value the strengths of the Mercer Island School District. Serving as a PTSA leader and community volunteer has shown me the importance of public engagement and the power of policy to create Equity For All Learners.
Endorsements: Representative Tana Senn, former legislator Marcie Maxwell, former MISD school board directors Pat Braman, Leslie Ferrell, Janet Frohnmayer and Carrie George
For more information:
3040 78th Ave SE #670
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
(206) 860-4992
[email protected]

Caifeng Wu

Education:  Bachelor of Science in Physics
Occupation:  Homemaker
Our community needs someone who understands and prioritizes the developmental needs of our children. With 11 years of teaching experience as a middle school physics teacher, I have the knowledge and experience of working with our children to create new initiatives to help them sustain more enriching lives. At home, I continue my understanding of child development by identifying and tackling daily challenges with my own kids. As a board member of Mercer Island Chinese Association (MICA), I have a unique understanding of Chinese family education and am excited to share that with our school district. Furthermore, my three years of volunteer experience has provided me the opportunity to work with adult learners on overcoming language barriers. I hope to serve in this role by providing new perspective and helping support our community in creative ways.
For more information:
5041 W Mercer Way
Mercer Island, WA 98040
(510) 449-1380
[email protected]

Mercer Island School District No. 400, Director Position No. 4

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 transition, 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]

[School Board candidate Diana Lein appears in the King County Official Local Voters Pamphlet and on the ballot; however, she has announced that she has withdrawn from the race.]