Deputy Mayor and longtime City Councilmember Dan Grausz has said he will run again for his seat on the Mercer Island City Council.
Grausz, who has been on the Council since 1999, said he knows what Islanders want. In a statement, he said that if reelected, he promises to protect Islanders in the fight on I-90 tolling, work with the education community to find the right answer for school funding needs, and find a new home for Youth Theatre Northwest on Mercer Island.
“I will do my utmost to maintain Mercer Island as the best place to live in the state of Washington,” he said.
Two years ago, feeling that he had accomplished much of what he felt was important to Islanders, he did not intend to seek reelection.
He points at a list of accomplishments that he has been a part of, including the acquisition of Luther Burbank Park from King County and the construction of the Community Center, built without any long-term debt.
He adds that the city now has all-weather ball fields, new playgrounds, and the PEAK project — for which, he said, he brokered the agreement that enabled it to be built. He also points to the establishment and success of the farmers market, well-maintained roads and trails, and “our growing but very livable Town Center, and the overall quality of life that is really unique to Mercer Island.”
But other issues have come up that have made him change his mind about not running.
“Now, we face a new challenge, the tolling of I-90, which threatens to undermine the very fabric of our community,” he said.
“No one wants to turn their back when a challenge of this magnitude confronts them,” he explained. “I am no different and want to be a part of the effort that protects all that we have accomplished.”
“It won’t be easy,” he said. “Anyone can say ‘No Tolls,’ but it also takes the ability to work with others and the credibility that only comes with experience and a successful record of producing results.”
State Senator and former City Councilman Steve Litzow supports Grausz.
“Dan has always been willing to reach across the aisle, seeking and finding common ground. That ability is exactly what Islanders need to achieve the best solution to the I-90 tolling challenge. Having Dan remain on the Council will make a difference.”
Grausz, an attorney with a law degree from Penn and a MBA from the Wharton School, is the executive vice president of fleet operations at Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruises, where he manages over 14,000 women and men, and 21 large passenger ships. He is the only lawyer on the City Council.
Grausz and his wife, Clare Meeker, moved to Mercer Island in 1989. Their two children attended and graduated from Mercer Island public schools.
In addition to I-90 and the Town Center issues, Grausz said he feels the city leadership can also help “find a solution to our education funding challenges.”
“While schools are outside the City Council’s portfolio, we must work with the school district and offer whatever resources the city government can to ensure that the education needs of our children are met,” he said.
He is also determined to find a new and permanent home for Youth Theatre Northwest on the Island.
“YTN is one of the greatest institutions in our state for children,” he said.
He said he truly enjoys serving on the Council, working with a city staff that is professional and dedicated, and serving a citizenry that is engaged, articulate and committed to the Mercer Island community.