The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Kent candidates file for office in local elections, prepare for August primary

Samuel Watson Staff Reporter Jun 03, 2021

Local elections in the city of Kent will feature three city council seats up for election alongside the race for mayor in this year’s August primary.

City governments provide a variety of services, such as taking care of parks, police, planning, and maintaining local roads. 

Kent’s current mayor, Dana Ralph, has served as mayor since 2018, and is running for re-election. She is being challenged by Dawn Bennett, an advocate for education and criminal justice reform. 

The city of Kent has a strong-mayor system of government, which means that residents separately elected Mayor Ralph to lead the city

Neither Bennett nor Mayor Ralph responded to requests for an interview.

The race for city council position No. 2 only has one candidate — incumbent Satwinder Kaur, who also works for a private technology company in Auburn — since challenger Todd Minor withdrew. 

Incumbent Toni Troutner, who is the council’s president and works as a market research analyst in Kent, is seeking re-election in the race for position No. 4, but is being challenged by Cliff Cawthon, who is an adjunct professor at Bellevue College.

Neither Troutner nor Cawthon responded to requests for an interview.

Kent’s last city council seat up for election this year, position No. 6, is a race between incumbent Brenda Fincher, who also works at Holy Spirit Parish church, and residents Bradley Cairnes and Larry Hussey. 

Hussey said he is a new resident of Kent and has a very specific goal in mind for if he’s elected: keep marijuana out of the city.

“I have created a statement inspired by President Clinton,” he said. “His campaign said, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ so my statement says, ‘I am anti-marijuana, stupid.’ That is why people should vote for me and why I think I will win the election.”

Hussey said he wants to separate Kent from the state when it comes to cannabis laws, though he didn’t say how he plans to achieve this.

“Kent does not have any cannabis retailers right now and I plan on keeping it that way,” he said. “There used to be a cannabis medical dispensary in Kent, so there is a danger that the state may sneak something in. I propose opting out of all the state cannabis laws. If the state says we can’t do that, then they can see us in court.”

Hussey also said he doesn’t want Kent to have any 5G cell sites and hopes that those who agree will vote for him; if this isn’t enough, he has several other beliefs that he hopes will persuade voters to choose him.

“If that is not enough to vote for me,” he said, “I am also anti-monopoly. I don’t like what a certain credit card company has been doing lately. I don’t like how albuterol was unavailable for months, because I have asthma. And I don’t like the monopoly dentists have over teeth cleaning.” 

Neither Fincher nor Cairnes responded to requests for an interview.

The primary election will take place on Aug. 3, with the two candidates who receive the most votes in each race moving forward to the general election later this year on Nov. 2. 

To learn more about who has filed for office in each city within King County, click here.