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Local Politics

Two candidates vie for council Position No. 1

Newcastle News of Newcastle, Washington

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The city's election lineup is set, and while there are four Newcastle City Council seats with expiring terms, only one race includes more than a single candidate.

Community Activities commissioners Linda Newing and Victoria Sandoval will compete to fill the seat being vacated by City Councilwoman Lisa Jensen.

Incumbents Gordon Bisset and Carol Simpson will each run unopposed to retain their seats. Planning Commissioner Allen Dauterman initially drew a challenger for Position No. 3, but Rob Lemmon withdrew.

Linda Newing

Linda Newing never envisioned herself running for public office.

"I don't come from a hugely active political family," she said.

But the prospect seemed to grow on her as she volunteered on the Newcastle Community Activities Commission and contributed to meaningful neighborhood enhancements.

That, coupled with her experience in municipal government, set the 11-year Newcastle resident on what she called a "surreal, humbling" journey toward elected office.

"Yes, I know this is politics, but I don't view it that way," she said. "I view it as community service at a higher level."

Newing joined the Community Activities Commission in 2013, and now serves as the vice chairwoman. In her role, she had a heavy hand in establishing Little Rhody Park and planning volunteer appreciation events.

If elected, she plans to pull on her experience working as an administrative assistant in the city of Renton Public Works Department.

"I work in municipal services infrastructure, and people notice when things aren't right," she said. "Safe infrastructure is huge, especially when you're doing all this growth and development."

Ensuring public safety, monitoring growth and development, and improving public outreach are among the most important issues facing the city, Newing said.

As large-scale development projects flood the city, Newing said it's important that public officials do all that they can to maintain Newcastle's identity.

"I want to make sure that that development and growth is viable, and it still preserves our residential character," she said.

Newing also identified effective public outreach as a critical trait any public policymaker should possess. She looks forward to attending community meetings, talking to residents about city issues and hearing their concerns this election season and beyond, she said.

"People want to be heard," she said, "and it's an elected official's duty to listen, digest and respond."

Victoria Sandoval

Victoria Sandoval is a relative newcomer to Newcastle.

She moved to the city in January 2014, but already, she sees it as the place she could call home the rest of her life. That's why she's running for a City Council spot.

"When you love a city, you want to make a difference," she said.

She wants to have a hand in a crafting a Newcastle that instills pride in its residents and has outsiders clamoring to join that unique sense of community.

"We're small enough that we should definitely have a community feel, and I don't think we do, not yet," she said.

Sandoval, who joined the Community Activities Commission in October 2014, said development is one of the city's most important issues.

She highlighted the Newcastle Way apartment project as an example of residents unhappy with the trending growth in the city.

"It would be part of my job to facilitate the ease on the residents so that they make this transition easy," she said.

While Sandoval said she understands residents' fears of newcomers coming into the city and changing its dynamic, she added that growth, especially in the form of retail, is necessary to bring more people, and by extension their money, to Newcastle.

Sandoval described herself as a very passionate person with strong convictions; but she also has a mind for mediation and reconciliation, which comes in handy on a board with seven distinct voices, she said.

At the end of the day, though, Sandoval, a real estate agent and nurse, said all City Council members want what's best for their community and residents.

"I'm not into the politics of being a politician, but I want to look back and say, 'Wow, look at the difference we've made,'" she said.



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Original Publication Date: August 7, 2015



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