by Nate Perea, Dahlia Park resident
I ran for [Issaquah] City Council in 2009. I did so because I felt that most people don’t pay enough attention to local elections and I wanted to be sure voters had multiple options in candidates to choose from.
I learned a lot about how thankless that process can be when you’re knocking on doors in August and many people aren’t even aware that there is an election taking place.
I learned a lot about what it really means to put your name on a ballot. The intricacies of running a city and working with other local leaders is a complex process that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. I also realized how important the issues at a city-level are to its residents. So much attention gets paid to national and state elections and process, but much of what impacts our day to day lives – traffic, utilities, public safety, growth, etc – are largely controlled by local leadership at the city level.
Even though I came up short, I wanted to stay engaged because you can always have an impact on your local community in other ways than being elected. I’ve been able to work within the small business community in my time at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce as well as my time serving on the City’s Planning Policy Commission and Urban Village Development Commissions.
I think it’s important for people to understand the processes involved in proposing, approving and implementing policy at all levels of government. Having that education behind you will make you a more effective advocate for local issues and gives you a higher level of respect for those who work everyday to make our city function. It’s easy to hurl criticism when you don’t appreciate all that goes into it!