Grausz will run again for Council

City Councilmember Dan Grausz announced that he will run for re-election this November, after three consecutive terms in City Hall. Grausz ends his tenure this fall along with Councilmembers Jim Pearman and Mike Grady. He is the first to announce plans for a 2009 campaign.

An Island resident since 1989, Grausz has served on the City Council for nine years. He first entered Island politics in 1999 on a two-year term. He was then re-elected in 2001 and again in 2005. All elections were contested.

With nearly a decade of experience, Grausz is eager to continue his position on the Council.

“I enjoy what I’m doing. As long as I feel like I’m still making a difference, I want to keep doing this,” he said.

Grausz has spearheaded several environmental and community development projects in recent years. He is an avid supporter of Island parks, youth activity centers such as PEAK and creating a sociable Town Center, pursuits that Grausz is set on seeing through.

“We’ve got unfinished business on the parks levy, since only one of two levies passed [in 2008]. I want to do what it takes to address the capital requirements of our parks and ball fields,” he said. “I also want to make sure we have a vision for the Town Center. We have good development right now, and with the light rail that’s coming in the next 10 years, we have the opportunity to really turn the Town Center into a much greater asset for our community.”

Grausz, who has two children who graduated from Mercer Island High School, is also serious about developing a working relationship between the City Council and the school district. If re-elected, Grausz said he wants to “maximize monies available for school programs and reduce student drug and alcohol abuse on the Island.” It is an issue he is currently discussing with fellow Councilmembers.

The Islander also aspires to create sustainability projects that “will involve the community rather than just government spending.” One such example, he pointed out, is the Island farmers market. “You saw the farmers market; in one afternoon, you can get 1,000 Islanders out — something we’ve never had as a city,” Grausz said, referring to the 2008 debut of the farmers market. “The Town Center should be a place where the community can actually use it as a gathering place. We have all these new residents coming into apartments, so it’s really important to bring them into the community.”

Having served on the City Council for three terms, Grausz has seen a number of Councilmembers come and go. He has seen periods of conflict and periods of accord. Asked about this year’s Council, Grausz said he believes the group is in a “good state.”

“The interesting thing about this Council is that we can argue very passionately during a meeting and two things happen: people actually change their minds based on the arguments presented — which is something you see very rarely during this day and age — and we find common ground; or when we can’t get a consensus, we respect each other enough to work together again at the next meeting. No grudges are held,” the Councilmember said.

It is a group characterization that Grausz has been privileged to share and hopes to continue.

Grausz is the Senior Vice President, Fleet Operations at Holland America Line. He received his undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with both a law degree and a M.B.A. from The Wharton School. Grausz and his wife, Clare Meeker, have a daughter, Sarah, who graduated from Occidental College in 2005 and a son, Sam, who is presently enrolled at Amherst College.

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