Dave Wisenteiner, a business executive and community volunteer, filed to run for Position No. 1 on the Mercer Island City Council against incumbent Jane Meyer Brahm.
He said he is concerned about the impacts of density and growth, the regional bus terminal, changes in the Town Center development code and “no improvement in school funding for our already stressed education system.”
“As a parent with my only child in the Island school system, I became involved in community meetings [and] became increasingly alarmed at the lack of transparency on all of these issues, the rushing through of critical zoning changes and the disregard for public opinion and input,” he said. “I am worried about the direction the incumbent council is taking our little island, and the only way to speak out is to step in.”
Wisenteiner sees the next few years as some of the most critical to Mercer Island in terms of the impact from Sound Transit, schools and population density. He and his family have lived in “some of the most interesting, genuine and well preserved towns in the United States: Santa Fe, Charleston, Annapolis, Austin, Portland and Denver,” he wrote in a press release.
“I have seen how powerful a thoughtful approach to planning can be and how it can go sideways,” he said.
While new to government, Wisenteiner said he has an extensive community and volunteer resume, centered on fundraising and youth leadership. He has been a member of the Microsoft Charitable Cycling team, team captain of the Children’s Hospital of Colorado Fundraising Cycling Team (fundraisers for MS Society of PNW) and a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“We all moved here because of the beautiful little neighborhoods, the fantastic green spaces and parks and the quirky, interesting little downtown. Now suddenly we are at a crossroads where all that could be changed forever by a very small group,” he said. “I think so many of us appreciate the Save Our Suburbs group bringing the issues to our attention. But agreeing with their ideas was just not enough, some of us had to get directly involved.”
Wisenteiner is a director at Microsoft, managing a portion of the Global Competitive and Business Strategy. He has spent his career in executive leadership positions ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to bicycle manufacturing companies, which is one of his true loves, he said. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the Colorado College, and an MBA and master’s in marketing degree from the University of Colorado.
“Each team I have worked with has involved an enormous amount of change management and collaboration, something I think many of us would like to see at city hall when it comes to citizen opinion,” Wisenteiner said of his career in business strategy and leadership.
He said he never thought of running for public office until this past year, when he “saw a very small community at a very big turning point.”
“I have tried for the last 25 years to get to Mercer Island and two and a half years ago my wife, 11 year old son and I were finally able to make that happen. It is a very special place with a very special community and it is honestly a privilege to be a part of it,” he said.
Wisenteiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.