The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Several Federal Way City Council positions contested after elections filing

Jonah Mizrahi Staff Reporter Jun 03, 2021

Several city council seats are contested in Federal Way heading into the November general election. 

King County’s elections filing week ended the evening of May 21. May 24 was the last day for candidates to withdraw.

Of Federal Way’s seven city council positions, four are up for grabs. 

For council position No. 2, incumbent Greg Baruso is seeking reelection after his initial appointment to the council in March 2020. 

A firefighter of 35 years, Baruso has served on the Parks, Recreation, Human Services & Public Safety Committee, in addition to being the chair of the Land Use & Transportation Committee. 

Filed as running against him is Federal Way resident Erica Norton. 

Position No. 4 is more hotly contested, with two candidates challenging incumbent Hoang Tran. 

Tran is the chair of the Finance, Economic Development and Regional Affairs Committee, as well as a member of the Land Use and Transportation Committee. His initial election to the council was in 2017. 

Challenging him are city residents Daniel Miller and Katherine Festa. 

Festa, a housing coordinator and self-described “housing policy expert,” has worked for the King County Department of Community and Human Services, and previously ran for a council position in 2019.

Two candidates have filed for council position No. 5: incumbent councilmember Leandra Craft, and local small business owner Jack Walsh. 

Craft was first appointed to the council in October 2020, and is employed as the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for King County. Her focus in the council has been on “being a voice for underserved communities,” says her campaign web page.

Walsh is the owner of Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream in Federal Way, and ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for a position in the state House of Representatives against current Rep. Jesse Johnson. 

Council position No. 6 is the most contested seat in the cycle. Four candidates have filed for the position. 

The first is the seat’s current occupant, incumbent councilmember Martin Moore. 

Moore is employed as the executive director of the non-profit Audiobook Ministries, and was elected to the council first in 2013, and reelected in 2017. He promises on his web page to “put people over politics to work together to get things done.” 

Next in line for the council position is Renae Seam, a Federal Way native and former analytics employee at Boeing Employee Credit Union. 

“My intention is to be available to not only listen, but truly understand on an empathetic level the issues facing our residents,” Seam said on her campaign web page

Local retired teacher Adrienne Obregon is also running for the seat. After retiring from teaching in 2015, Obregon and her daughter founded “Queens of Self-Esteem,” a community girls’ and women’s support group. 

The final candidate for the position is Jack Dovey, former mayor of Federal Way from 2008 to 2010. Dovey also served previously on the Federal Way City Council. 

Outside of the city council, filings were also made for municipal court judge positions No. 1 and 2. The positions’ current holders, Judges Rebecca C. Robertson and David A. Larson, are both unopposed.

Current Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell is also seeking reelection this cycle for his third term. Ferrell has served as mayor since 2014, and was previously reelected in November 2017. 

His bid comes with numerous endorsements from current city and county elected officials, including the mayors of several surrounding cities, and many community unions and organizations.

Opposing him is Mark Greene, a “writer, playwright, legal assistant, politician, and veteran,” according to his web page, who has run for several elected positions in the past. 

Greene, a “populist and centrist,” has voiced significant dissatisfaction with Ferrell’s mayoral track record. 

“Federal Way has been taken over for most of the last decade by a liberal mayor who has given into the demands of his liberal and leftist base, including declining a patriotic-themed logo and flying leftist flags,” Greene’s web page says. “[Government] under Mark Greene’s mayoralty would practice Athenian-style civil polity, not identity politics.”