Meet your candidates – November 3rd General Election

October 2, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

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November 3, 2015 Election Candidates - Mercer Island
Curious to learn more about who is running for local office in the November 3rd General Election? Here’s a guide to the candidates for Mercer Island’s City Council and School Board. There also several upcoming candidates forums where the candidates have been invited to present their views and answer questions from the public.
The following candidate information is available on the King County Elections website.

Candidates for City Council – Position No. 1

Dave Wisenteiner

Education: Bachelor of Arts Colorado College M.B.A University of Colorado Masters; Marketing University of Colorado
Occupation: Microsoft Director of Business and Competitive Strategy
It is a privilege to live on Mercer Island but there are problems heading our way that will change our lives. We need someone who can navigate the complex budgeting and regional negotiations and who is experienced with business transactions and sophisticated financial issues. We need fiscal responsibility. Moreover we need someone who will fight for the island. Make sure you are aware:
Jane Brahm’s voting record:
Voted against expanding background checks for gun purchases
Consistently voted for tax increases
Voted to exclude Hines development from the moratorium
Advocated spending initiatives which will result in the projected deficit
I have built teams, built consensus and solved complex business problems in global organizations like Microsoft. When I saw a lack of transparency and a high-rise town center plan that is not reflective of what islanders want, I had to step up and run for City Council.
Fight for the Island

For more information:
2967 74TH AVE SE
(303) 562-7375
[email protected]

Jane Meyer Brahm

Education: Master’s degree, University of Tulsa; Bachelor’s in English, Creighton University
Occupation: Retired journalist; author
When I moved to the Island in 1976, I was struck by its friendly, small town feel. I’m running for reelection to maintain this special environment we still enjoy.

We need to finish the Town Center Visioning Process and adopt codes that will yield the downtown citizens want. I will work hard to balance the pressures of growth with the need to maintain and enhance our parks, neighborhoods, schools and quality of life we cherish. We need to ensure that new development pays its share for infrastructure. I oppose a bus intercept on the Island and will work to find a regional solution to this and other transportation issues.

As former editor of the Mercer Island Reporter and author of the “History of Mercer Island,” I understand the history and the culture of this community. We need to plan for the future of the Island while honoring its past.

For more information:
(206) 232-0701
[email protected]

Candidates for City Council – Position No. 3

SalimNiceSalim Nice

Education: B.A. Criminal Justice, Seattle University; Mercer Island Elementary, Middle and Senior High Schools
Occupation: Senior Vice President, CTO and Board of Directors, CTMI, LLC.
As a second-generation Islander, I have great appreciation for the unique charm and character of our community.  I’m grateful for the outstanding education both I and my wife received from our schools.  As a new father and proven leader with executive experience, I want to keep Mercer Island a special place for my growing family and generations to come.

I have the technical expertise to evaluate changes and proposals that impact our schools, neighborhoods and public safety while holding true to our values.

As a small community with limited resources, responsible growth should be approved only as it can be supported and fits the character of the island.  Special interest groups and regional players put constant pressure on the Island to change; I have the negotiating skills necessary as we consider first the benefits and impacts to Mercer Island and its residents.

I ask for your vote and support.

For more information:
5619 89TH AVE SE
(360) 209-2106
[email protected]

Wendy-WeikerWendy Weiker

Education: University of Washington: MA Public Administration; University of California: BA Psychology; & Leadership Eastside
Occupation: Puget Sound Energy, Community Services Manager
My priority as your Councilmember will be to deliver essential community services in a cost effective manner while thoughtfully planning for our island’s future. I will work with Islanders to build on our tradition of excellence by enhancing public safety, improving open spaces, supporting schools, strengthening programs for seniors and families, upgrading utility infrastructure, ensuring Islander transit options, and promoting a vibrant Town Center.

Ten years ago my family and I were drawn to the wonderful quality of life Islanders enjoy. Since then, I have served three PTAs, Band Boosters, Scout troops, youth sports teams, City Utility Board, MI Town Center Visioning Group, and EarthShare Washington. My professional life is focused on nonprofit and private sector community engagement work.
I look forward to serving you. Thank you for your vote.

Endorsements: WA Conservation Voters, Women’s Political Caucus-WA, Judy Clibborn, Tana Senn, Fred Jarrett, Bruce Bassett, Pat Braman, and many Islanders.

For more information:
(206) 214-6424
[email protected]

Candidates for City Council – Position No. 4

Jeff-SandersonJeff Sanderson

Education: Princeton University (BA, economics, summa cum laude), Harvard Business School, SeattleU (Masters in Teaching)
Occupation: Cofounder, Sanderson Ventures

When my wife and I moved to Mercer Island, we opened Stopsky’s Delicatessen to meet people and build community. My favorite part of that experience was my interaction with Islanders and hearing what mattered most in their lives. 

I’ll take that experience and my background in marketing, business, education and philanthropy to the job as your next city councilmember. I’ll work towards a Town Center that reflects our community values. All of us moved to Mercer Island because of its unique character, I’ll work every day to keep the qualities that make this city special. I’ll do this with clarity, accuracy and transparency.

We should not develop ourselves like any other city. We are different. Let’s show that. Together we can come up with innovative ways to achieve our dreams. I will be both a zealous and available advocate for greater participation in city government. I ask for your vote.

For more information:
PO BOX 1699
[email protected]

Carl Silverberg

Education: Georgetown University Fellow
Occupation: Fundraiser

I have withdrawn from the race and have endorsed Jeff Sanderson.
For more information:
9571 SE 43RD ST
(202) 320-9797
[email protected]

Candidates for City Council – Position No. 5

Tom-AckerThomas Acker

Education: Bachelors in English & Minor in Philosophy, Seattle University; Master’s in Business Administration, City University
Occupation: The Boeing Company
As a lifelong Islander, I recognize Mercer Island is a special place.  We can’t stop change, but we can ensure Mercer Island grows in ways consistent with our values.  By balancing density with quality of life, we retain our community.  I will focus on better transportation options that don’t infringe upon our quality of life.

Quality of Life:  Our schools and open spaces are sacred.  I led a successful fight to make sure Sound Transit didn’t pave part of Luther Burbank for an expanded parking lot and the fight to stop the bus intercept/depot in our town center.

Development:  We need to be thoughtful about growth, support our school system, and protect our infrastructure.
Transparency:  City Hall belongs to everyone.  I will ensure City Hall is responsive and fiscally accountable to the community.

My proactive leadership, execution, and constructive negotiation skills will achieve this vision.

Thank you for your support.

For more information:
2427 84TH AVE SE
(206) 498-4626

Bruce-BassettBruce Bassett

Education: Dartmouth College AB Engineering Science, University of Michigan MS Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Occupation: Founder & former CEO of a small high tech business
Experience matters.  As your Mayor and Councilmember, I have delivered on my promise to Mercer Islanders to work collaboratively to promote the values we hold dear.

Quality of life is a priority. Schools–strengthened relations, increased counselor funding. Transportation—championed new Metro bus service, safe routes to school, and a transparent Sound Transit negotiating process. Town Center–initiated effort to rethink development rules.  Parks—improved forests and shorelines, built sports fields.

Public safety is a sacred responsibility.  Oversaw new fire station, emergency well, and emergency command center; increased police patrol coverage.

A strong regional voice is pivotal. Created and led a coalition of mayors that helped defeat I-90 tolling.

Together, we will keep Mercer Island a special place tomorrow and for generations to come.

Endorsements:  Six former Mayors, including Fred Jarrett and Judy Clibborn.  Representative Tana Senn, MI Firefighters, WA Conservation Voters.

Hundreds more at

For more information:
8551 SE 82ND ST.
(206) 953-8008
[email protected]

Candidates for City Council – Position No. 7

debbie_headshotwebDebbie Bertlin

Education: MIHS; Stanford University, BA & MA; University Sussex, MA
Occupation: Microsoft Enterprise Strategy, Operations Lead; 25 years international technology leadership
We have chosen to live on Mercer Island for the great quality of life it provides – great schools, safe neighborhoods, parks and a sense of community.  I will preserve these values as the region around us grows.

As your councilmember and many-year community volunteer, I have successfully prevented I-90 tolling, and ushered in the new fire station.  I spearheaded the accessible playground at Luther Burbank.  I have funded counselors in all schools.

I will continue to fight for what Islanders want, pursuing only development and transportation projects that enhance our quality of life.  Development must align to the Island’s scale and aesthetics, provide wanted services, and fund impacts on parks, schools and infrastructure.  I will continue to effectively manage the City’s budget.

I am endorsed by many respected leaders and organizations – Fred Jarrett, former Mayors Newman, Cairns, and Merkle; MI Reporter; MI Firefighters.

Thank you for your vote.

For more information:
PO BOX 1534
(206) 245-8003
[email protected]

Traci-Granbois-2Traci Granbois

Education: I.M.S.; M.I.H.S.; Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania; Law Degree, Pepperdine; Master in Law, Taxation, UW.
Occupation: Contract attorney, licensed in WA and CA. Licensed patent attorney.
A second-generation Islander, I returned because I love it here. As a new mother with deep roots in the community, I am passionate about maintaining our Island’s special character for my own children. I am a champion of individual rights and responsibilities and equity of opportunity.

This election is about changing the manner in which our Council balances regional demands with local Island interests. The incumbent needs to stand by her record. The current Council is responsible for:
Two E.coli outbreaks and no identified cause;
Proposal to convert park land to parking;
Projected $1.5 million general fund deficit;
150% increase in auto thefts; and
Decisions executed without citizen input.

I am honored by hundreds of endorsements including Councilmember Cero and Senator Litzow, and regional partner, Bellevue Councilmember Conrad Lee.

It would be my honor to serve as your council member. I humbly ask for your support and vote. Thank you.

For more information:
(206) 920-6775
[email protected]

Mercer Island School District – Director Position No. 1

David-D'SouzaDavid D’Souza

Education: B.S. in Math, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation: Software Engineer & Technology Executive
As a 17-year resident of Mercer Island with three children in the school district, I will ensure all our Island children are well-prepared for success in an increasingly global and digital world. This requires increasing the depth of creative and technical courses, enhancing our offerings for struggling learners, and providing opportunities for all students to discover their passion.

Collaborative participation on the school board is a natural progression from my extensive involvement in our school district. I am co-president of the MI Schools Foundation, on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, the Technology Advisory Committee, the Diversity Advisory Committee, the General Advisory Chair of the MI High School College and Career Readiness Program, was co-chair of the 2014 School Bond & Levy Committee, created after-school computer programming courses for Island elementary and middle school students, and participated in many art & science curriculum review forums.

For more information:
PO BOX 114
(425) 443-2870
[email protected]

Mercer Island School District – Director Position No. 3

Tracy-DrinkwaterTracy Drinkwater

Education: Bachelor’s in Economics, UCSB; MBA, Thunderbird School of International Management; Master’s in Teaching, Seattle University
Occupation: Educational Consultant and Tutor (self-employed)
My interest in serving on the School Board is driven by a passion for quality education for all students.

My background is in business, technology and education. As a former Math and Special Education teacher at Islander Middle School and active parent and community volunteer, I will bring relevant experience and insight to improve leadership, transparency and accountability at each level.

My goals include finding a long-term funding source for mental health counselors, enhancing educational offerings with improved curriculum, and recruiting and retaining quality teachers. I will strive for excellence, welcome community input, and advocate for fully-funding our schools.

It would be an honor to serve, and I am looking forward to conversations about the needs of our community and achieving positive solutions.

Endorsements (more on website): The MI Reporter; MI School Board Directors Adair Dingle, Brian Emanuels, and Dave Myerson; and MI City Councilmember Mike Cero.

For more information:
PO BOX 282
(206) 579-5818
[email protected]

Bill-Hochberg-2Bill Hochberg

Education: MIHS; BA, University of Puget Sound; JD, University of Washington
Occupation: Attorney assisting injured persons and workers
As a life-long Island resident and product of our world-class schools, I will work tirelessly to meet the needs of allstudents. My daughters, Annie and Sarah, attend IMS and Lakeridge. I am not a special interest candidate; I support our Superintendent’s leadership.  I have the experience to work effectively on school funding issues–our paramount duty.

A 40 year community volunteer, I recently served on MI school levy committees and chairing a bond committee. I helped build the Recycling Center, was Chair of the Park Board, successfully passing our park bond, and a leader with the American Jewish Committee.

Endorsements include current and former School Board members Pat Braman, Janet Frohnmayer, Lisa Strauch Eggers, Carrie George, Rand Ginn, Ken Glass, Laurie Koehler, and Sue Blake, and others, including Senator Maria Cantwell, County Executive Dow Constantine, Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett, Representatives Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn.  Many additional endorsements at

For more information:
7683 SE 27TH STREET, BOX 147
(206) 380-5664
[email protected]

Mercer Island School District – Director Position No. 5

Ralph JorgensonFinalweb2Ralph Jorgenson

Education: BS, MS and Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Washington
Occupation: Engineering & Research Consultant
As a product of our world class schools and as a parent of two daughters who are students in the district, I fully appreciate the critical importance and value of our school district for all our children and the overall community.

I am passionate about public education and look forward to continuing to serve on the Board to lead our District’s continued pursuit of academic excellence in order to best prepare all students to achieve their individual highest potential to contribute to our society.

I bring extensive community and school volunteer experience, including advocating in Olympia for school funding, support for mental health counselors, safe-routes to schools programs, adoption of GMA school impact fees and co-chairing the campaign for the recently passed 2014 school bond and M&O levy.

Thank you for your support.

Endorsed by Senator Litzow and Representative Senn and retiring School Board Directors Emanuels, Braman and Frohnmayer

For more information:
8040 84TH AVE SE
(206) 605-5757
[email protected]