Toni Troutner and Satwinder Kaur are the front-runners to be the two new Kent City Council members if the primary results hold up in the November general election.
Troutner will take on either Tye Whitfield or Ronald Johnson for Position No. 4 to replace Dennis Higgins, who decided not to seek reelection. Troutner leads the primary results with 48.69 percent (4,127 votes), according to King County Elections on Tuesday night. Whitfield with 26.75 percent (2,267 votes) and Johnson with 24.22 percent (2,053 votes) are in a tight race for second.
Kaur leads the Position No. 2 race to replace Jim Berrios, who is running for mayor and whose four-year term expires the end of this year. Kaur has 42.67 percent (3,685 votes). Paul Addis is second with 25.83 percent (2,231 votes) followed closely by Jeff Piecewicz with 21.31 percent (1,840 votes). Elizabeth T. Peang is fourth with 9.87 percent (852 votes).
The two candidates in each race with the most votes advance to the Nov. 7 general election. King County Elections will update counts each weekday until the election is certified on Aug. 15. Council positions are part-time jobs that pay $14,808 per year.
Troutner, who lost a close council race to Brenda Fincher in November 2015, emphasized during the campaign her extensive background of community service and advocacy. Troutner, a market research analyst with a small Kent business, plans to implement tighter city budget control.
“I am very pleased with the results of the primary election,” Troutner said in an email. “I am grateful for the support I have received so far, and I will continue to grow that support throughout the next several months moving into the general election.”
Whitfield, a member of Kent’s Parks and Recreation Commission since last year, wants more residents to have input about city issues.
She is a small business owner, community advocate and nonprofit director.
“I already knew prior to putting my name in the hat it was going to be some work to get my name out there throughout the whole city, especially since Toni just ran in (2015),” Whitfield said in an email. “As far as Ronald, I guess it’s a political thing, strategically his name was put in the race to veto some of my votes.
“I’m quickly learning politics, however. If it’s meant for me to fight for my community within the political seat and I make it through the primary, then I will do what I need to do. But on the other hand, if my time has been shortened, I will continue to bring resources and jobs to the communities on the grassroots level. My advocacy does not stop due to politics.”
Johnson, a medical devices product information security officer, wants to keep property taxes low and help determine which services the city should offer.
“I am very happy with the results of the primary thus far,” Johnson said in an email. “As an outsider to the local political process, I never assumed the election process would be a cakewalk. Please tell the city of Kent voters, I will never stop fighting for them.”
In the Position No. 2 race, Kaur, who worked as an executive assistant with the Kent City Council in 2012 and 2013, wants to make government more transparent. She works as an information technology professional for a large IT firm, pioneering solutions for current and future technology problems.
“I am happy and excited with the initial results,” Kaur said in an email. “Hard work always pays off. I am very thankful and appreciative to all supporters and voters. I will be talking to our residents and working even harder to win their trust and votes for November.
“I am confident our residents will choose the right person. They will be happy to support a hometown person who has seen all the ups and downs in our city.”
Kaur, a 2004 graduate of Kentridge High School, chairs the city of Kent’s Cultural Communities Board, formed last year by the mayor and council to increase engagement, integration and access to city services for all cultural communities.
Addis, a U.S. Army veteran, has worked in the private sector for 28 years and is a senior business analyst at Alaska Airlines.
“So far, so good,” Addis said in an email. “I’m pretty confident. I put in a lot of work for this primary run, and I think it’s paying off. Jeff has name recognition, and as an elected PCO (Precinct Committee Officer) and an appointee to the ShoWare Public Facilities District board he’s well known in Kent political circles. I really appreciate Jeff’s public service, and I think his vote tally reflects the same from the community.
“Whatever the final outcome, I’ll continue to serve the community through the various service organizations my wife and I are involved with.”
If elected, Addis said he will donate his salary to KentHOPE, which works to reduce homelessness. Addis also wants to fund parks through a city lottery and corporate sponsorships with business names on park signs.
Piecewicz, a program integrator for the federal government’s Defense Contract Management Agency, said others encouraged him to run for office. He expects to finish third in the race.
“Usually the preliminary results are a good indication of the final results,” Piecewicz said in an email. “As this was my first time applying for an elected position, I have learned a lot about the process and will use it as a learning experience.”