Kent voters showed on general election day that most of them are quite satisfied with the current group of city leaders.
Mayor Dana Ralph had a lopsided victory over challenger Dawn Bennett as did City Councilmember Brenda Fincher over challenger Larry Hussey. Incumbents Ralph and Fincher each had close to or more than 70% of the vote, according to King County Elections. Incumbent Toni Troutner received 57% of the vote to defeat Cliff Cawthon and retain her seat on the council. Councilmember Satwinder Kaur ran unopposed.
That returns the mayor to lead the city and three council members to the seven-member council.
“Serving as your mayor these last four years has been the greatest honor of my lifetime,” Ralph said in a Facebook post. “With the results that came in, the Kent community has clearly made their voice heard. Kent voters have given me a mandate to continue focusing on the important priorities we’ve been working on at City Hall.”
Ralph emphasized she approved of hiring more police officers (by unfreezing five positions) and got the council to agree to spend $1.2 million in the 2022 budget on a litter strike team to clean up the streets of Kent.
“I’m truly grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me, and I’m committed to validating that trust by accomplishing what I’ve set out to do—delivering results for Kent families,” Ralph said.
Ralph, who completes her first four-year term in December, also led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant budget cutbacks and layoffs at the city. She also helped oversee city grants to small businesses to help them recover.
“The last two years have been tough for our community,” Ralph said. “Many of us have struggled and things haven’t been easy. But we’ve pulled together, and our best days are ahead of us.”
Fincher, who was first appointed to the council in 2014, won her third straight council race.
“Gratitude and joy!” Fincher said in an email about her reaction to another victory. “I was absolutely honored and thrilled! I’ve worked hard representing the residents and businesses of Kent and it’s a very good feeling having the trust of so many of the voters. I treasure that and will continue the work!”
Fincher said there were several reasons she got reelected.
“The key is continually listening to our people to learn all sides of the issues,” she said. “Hearing the experiences of our residents and businesses, their needs, desires, points of pain and what works well for them is important and informs my decisions. I think our people have seen and know this about me.”
Fincher, the only council member who lives on the West Hill, said there is more to do over the next four years.
“There is still much I want to do and this win gives me the opportunity to continue that work,” she said. “Time flies by quickly though and there is none to waste. Onward and upward!”
Troutner, elected to her second four-year term, had concerns about a victory.
“I was very nervous about seeing the results but was very pleased in the end,” she said in an email.
Troutner said she didn’t try to predict the outcome.
“I didn’t have any expectations,” she said. “I have proven leadership, experience and am proud of the work I have done these past four years. I was hoping the results would show the community recognizes those efforts, and they did.”
She pointed to several keys to her reelection.
“These past six months, I have continued to engage with residents,” Troutner said. “My support for public safety and our police department, funding for small businesses, keeping our parks and open spaces clean, and investments in our infrastructure were important conversations with voters.”
Troutner is looking forward to four more years on the council.
“I am very excited for the next four years,” she said. “We made a lot of good decisions during Covid to engage residents, help our business community and make improvements to city policies. There is more work to be done as we come out of the pandemic, and I am honored to continue working with my colleagues and residents.”
Kaur was reelected to a second four-year term.
“I am looking forward to serving Kent again,” Kaur said in an email. “My primary goals are and will always be public safety. We need to make sure our residents and businesses feel safe in Kent. My priority will also be having conversations with our legislators on this issue.”
Kaur said economic development and housing affordability are the other issues she will continue to advocate for.