What to know for upcoming elections in Bellevue

Residents in the City of Bellevue and the Bellevue School District have submitted their applications to run for office this fall.

The Bellevue City Council has four positions on the ballot this November. The candidates who filed for the first position are incumbent John Stokes, Martin Acevedo, and Holly Zhang.

John Stokes was elected to Bellevue City Council in 2011, re-elected in 2015, and went on to be Elected Mayor of Bellevue in 2016 and 2017. During his time as a city council member, Stokes has been an advocate for affordable housing in Bellevue, along with multi-modal transportation and the construction of an Eastside performing arts center.

Martin Acevedo received his first degree from Bellevue College and a Psychology degree from UW. Acevedo works as a Bellevue Civil Service Commissioner for Bellevue’s police and fire departments. Acevedo said that he “will focus on developing Bellevue into an innovation and entrepreneurship powerhouse, without sacrificing our neighborhood quality of life.”

Holly Zhang is the owner of Holly Zhang Pearls and according to her website, “has a proven track record of community involvement by investing her time, energy, and leadership into building a successful business that has provided job opportunities and contributed to Bellevue’s economy.”

For position three, Jeremy Barksdale, Stephanie Walter, and Kya Michael Aatai have filed to run.

Jeremy Barksdale works as a user experience researcher for video game development company Unity and has worked in a similar role at Microsoft. Barksdale also serves as chair of the Planning Commission for the City of Bellevue.

Stephanie Walter was elected to East Bellevue Community Council in 2017. Walters’ website includes a list of specific goals she would like to reach if elected, including alleviating traffic congestion, preserving parks, trails and open space, and keeping Bellevue affordable, among other goals.

Kya Michael Aatai has lived on the east side for over 30 years. Aatai’s website states, “I am passionate to help ensure that our City and region’s phenomenal growth and dynamism doesn’t change the character of Bellevue.”

Incumbent Janice Zahn, Mark Wilson, and JD Yu have filed for position five.

Janice Zahn joined City Council in November 2017. Zahn prioritizes Bellevue’s rapid growth to ensure more diversity among Bellevue residents and making more affordable housing in Bellevue.

Mark Wilson has a professional background in financial management. “As a councilmember, much of what I will try to accomplish deals with equitable business taxes, reasonable property taxes and overall financial responsibility,” stated Wilson in an interview.

JD Yu has experience in the Bellevue multi-culture center, the Energize Eastside project, homeless shelters and cannabis retailers. Yu’s goals include neighborhood safety, a 5G smart city, an inclusive environment, and wise use of taxpayer money.

Four candidates have filed for position seven: incumbent Jennifer Robertson, Randy Grein, Marguerite Ye, and James Bible.

Jennifer Robertson is on her third term as a City Councilmember, first being elected in 2009.

According to Robertson’s website, her priorities are, “Protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods,” as well as “improving roads; increasing transit options; increasing pedestrian safety; continuing to add bicycle lanes; and ensuring that the design, mitigation and construction of the new Eastlink light rail line works for both Bellevue and the region,” and “having the policies in place to strengthen Bellevue’s role as an economic leader while retaining and enhancing Bellevue’s prosperity.”

Randy Grein attended the University of Washington to study physics, math and economics. Grein has a background in IT “as a networking, or systems consultant for more than 20 years,” according to his website. Greins’ goals include a $15 per hour minimum wage, as well as increasing mass transit and implementing affordable housing.

Marguerite Ye has experience in project management and quality assurance, along with working on the Bellevue Diversity Advisory Board.

James Bible works as an attorney as well as a small business owner. Bible stated, “Bellevue has grown in size and diversity.  I believe that our diversity is our strength,” in his statement on the King County website.

Running unopposed for the Bellevue School District’s Board of Directors are incumbents Sima Sarrafan, Carolyn Watson, and Christine Chew. For Director District 5, Francine Wiest and Jane Aras are running.