Let the voting begin.
Ten local candidates are involved in the Aug. 3 primary election featuring Mercer Island City Council and School District board races. The candidates will vie for the two spots in their respective races, and the top two finishers will be placed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
King County Elections mailed ballots to registered voters on July 14. Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 3 or returned to a drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Mercer Island’s 24-hour drop box is in the parking lot at the Community and Event Center at 8236 SE 24th St.
City council Position No. 6
Lisa Anderl (who currently holds city council Position 4), Kate Akyuz and Adam Ragheb are entrenched in the race to win the Position 6 seat.
Anderl, a 20-year Island resident, lists her priorities as public safety and strong support for law enforcement; efficient financial management; mobility and transportation advocacy for Island residents; and preservation of parks and open spaces, according to her statement on the King County Elections site.
Akyuz — a scientist, mother and volunteer — aims to unite people to ensure the council reflects residents’ shared community values. According to her statement, her priorities include fully funding Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, restoring and protecting parks, sustaining middle-income housing and more.
Ragheb — who has an engineering background — values hard work, good environmental stewardship and education. He is passionate about supporting the Island’s parks, schools and residential character. Ragheb added in his candidate statement that he’s a strong proponent of being decisive in order to avoid the costs of inaction.
School district, director Position 2
Incumbent and legislative representative Brian Giannini Upton will run against Dan Glowitz, Janelle Lucero and Elle Nguyen.
Giannini Upton is a dad, community volunteer and advocate for students and public education. He said he works tirelessly in his board director role to honor the district’s history, and will continue to ensure that each child, regardless of race, characteristic, or circumstance, has the support and resources they need to create their future.
Glowitz, an attorney, said he will focus on strengthening the legacy of the school district’s high academic standards by promoting open dialogue and ensuring that decisions are driven by data. His legal background has prepared him to work collaboratively while asking hard questions.
Lucero, a small business owner and mother, said in her statement that she will be committed to the legacy of academic excellence and will prioritize holistic policies that empower children and prepare them for the future. She will listen and educate herself on the challenges the district faces in order to make the best possible decisions.
Nguyen, an investment strategist, said she will make sure the board protects and preserves its most precious asset: children. She added that a vibrant school board must pay close attention to all its curriculum being taught to children at every level of education, and schools must strive for continuous improvement.
School district, director Position 4
Incumbent and board President Deborah Lurie will run against Lacey Aaker and Joanna Sheppard.
Lurie, an attorney for the King County Department of Public Defense, said that it has been her duty as a board director to ensure that every decision made by the district focuses on providing an excellent education for Island children. Leaders need to be committed to serving all students, hearing and balancing many voices, and making the right decisions, she said.
Aaker, a high school teacher with experience assisting the U.S. Department of Education in higher education policy, said the board needs strong and knowledgeable leadership to navigate both the challenges COVID has caused, and the opportunities the evolving landscape has created. She is focused on helping the community roadmap a sustainable and dynamic path forward.
Sheppard, a Mercer Island school alumnus and early childhood educator, has experienced firsthand the impact 2020 and virtual learning has had on students. She said that during the transition from virtual learning to in-person learning, the board must meet the needs of the whole student by fostering an inclusive environment and prioritizing mental health.