Local elections are important. The decisions they make have a direct impact on our daily lives. The Coalition wanted to provide voters an opportunity to better understand the motivations behind each candidate on the Primary Election ballot. We sent each candidate the same five-question survey. Candidates Spencer Hamlin and Steve Sinwell opted not to respond to our survey.
Dr. Ashley Eckel was the only candidate who took the time to answer our questions. We appreciate her transparency and eagerness to engage with the community she wishes to represent as an election councilmember. Below are Dr. Ashley Eckel’s responses to our questions:
Question 1: What motivates you to run for city council?
I enjoy helping others, and I enjoy living in Clyde Hill. My family and I are involved at Clyde Hill Elementary, charity fund raising events, and have been involved in political campaigns. I put my name in for the appointment after watching the Prop. 1 ballot measure, and recognizing that Clyde Hill residents became deeply involved in that issue. To me, it appeared that a segment of the City Council wanted to have more control over the City, while others wanted to leave our City Hall relatively unchanged. I learned that the City Council remained divided after the Prop 1 measure (and over several other issues) and I hoped I could bring calm to the environment by joining the Council. Many long-term residents have told me that the City ran in a very calm and reasonable manner for decades, and only recently has chaos ensued.
Question 2: What do you hope to accomplish in your first term?
Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue adding calm to our City Council, which will then afford us the opportunity to deal with issues that matter such as community safety, our City budget, community events, and our State Legislature’s push for us to have more housing, to name a few. I am currently on the Facilities Committee, which is involved with the new fire station construction and with considering improvements to our parks. I will continue to work toward a balanced budget for our City, while maintaining reserves for long-term and unexpected needs.
Question 3: How will you handle conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of
interest, as a councilmember?
Our State maintains specific laws related to conflicts of interest which primarily deal with financial matters. Chapter 42.23 RCW prohibits municipal officers from using their positions to secure special privileges or special exemptions for themselves or others, and from entering into certain contracts or having other personal financial interests with their jurisdictions. Nevertheless, locally, it appears that certain past, present, and potentially future Councilmembers may lead debate and support specific matters which directly affect their property. These issues may include viewsheds, gates, roadway turnarounds, fire hydrant relocations, hedge heights and locations, pickleball courts, and others. I believe these issues are also conflicts, and I will support the City Council to more strictly monitor and enforce violations of the Conflict of Interest code and State law.
Question 4: Why did you choose to call Clyde Hill home?
Clyde Hill offered my family a safe, beautiful, community, and close proximity to the University of Washington’s hospitals where I was training. My boys enrolled at our newly built elementary school. Coming to Clyde Hill was one of the best decisions my husband and I have made.
Question 5: What should voters know about you before they cast their ballot?
They could start by interviewing my husband or two sons. I am a hard worker who is dedicated to my family and my career, advancing treatment for blood cancers (with a focus on pediatric cancers). When I encounter a problem, I work diligently to solve it. My mother, a scientist and attorney, and my father, a scientist, sold their businesses and moved to WA to be closer grandparents to our boys. We are a close, and honest, family. I will listen to my family, friends, neighbors, and all of our residents on any and all subjects. We all live here, so we should make it the best community it can be.
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