Bassett announces run for City Council

Another contest for this fall’s City Council elections emerged last week with a new candidate declaring his intent to run for the mayor’s seat.

Bruce Bassett, 46, will be running against Patricia Darling for the seat being vacated by Mayor Bryan Cairns. He is a stay-at-home dad with an 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. He and his wife Nannette live near Lakeridge Elementary and have lived on the Island since 2003.

Before moving to the Island, Bassett spent 10 years as the founder and CEO of a small high tech company in Palo Alto, Calif. Bassett, a native of Olympia, wanted to return to the Northwest and chose Mercer Island because it is a great place to raise children, he said.

Bassett has served the past two years on the city’s Open Space Conservancy Trust Board. The open space trust was established by a city ordinance in 1992 for protecting, maintaining and preserving the city’s open space properties, such as Pioneer Park. It is staffed by the Parks and Recreation Department and is composed of seven citizen board members.

“I am really keen about environmental issues and Parks and Rec.,” Bassett said in an interview last week. “That’s what brought me to the open space board.”

In the four year’s Bassett has called the Island home, he has engaged himself as a community activist and volunteer. He recently helped convince City Council members to replace an aging dirt field at the South Mercer Playfields. Among other artificial surface supporters, Bassett suggested the city replace the damaged dirt surface with Field Turf. The field will be constructed this year.

As an adult soccer player, he has been treasurer for two years of the Mercer Island Soccer Association, which supports adult soccer on the Island. Bassett has also coached his son’s and daughter’s soccer teams in the Mercer Island Youth Soccer Club the past several years. He also recently led a project where Lakeridge students painted a map of the United States on the playground.

Bassett received a degree in engineering from Dartmouth College in 1983 and later returned to the University of Michigan for a Masters of Science. He has worked for Intel and the Raychem Corporation in California. He also ran his own business that built virtual reality hardware.

“As a business owner,” Bassett said, “I was able to put together a smart team of people who delivered products on time and under budget. We were consistently profitable because we worked hard and never got fancy with the finances. That’s the kind of experience I will bring to City Council.”

Looking forward to a role on City Council, Bassett would like to see the city and school district build a stronger working relationship.

“I would like to see better, improved communication and synergy between the school district and the city,” Bassett said. “If you think about it, we’re one of the few school districts where the district boundaries and the city boundaries are the same. So there’s this huge opportunity for them to be working together.”

Bassett said he supports the city’s Communities that Care project, which addresses risky youth behavior. He also serves on the Mercer Island School District Key Communicator council, which seeks and provides parent’s input to facilitate the School Board’s decisions.

A total of four seats are up for election this November. Councilmembers Steve Litzow and El Jahncke are seeking re-election yet a single challenger has not come forward. Last week, a local single family home builder, Jon Friedman, announced he is joining the race for Councilmember Sven Goldmanis’ seat. An article introducing Friedman will be featured next week.

Those interested in running for City Council must file with the county from June 4 to 8. Candidates may file in room 553 at the King County Administration building, 500 4th Avenue, Seattle between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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