Candidate Profile: Angelina Benedetti, Renton City Council Pos. 2

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RENTON, WA — Voting is underway and the 2021 primary election is heating up in King County ahead of Election Day, Aug. 3. Nearly 650 candidates are seeking various offices in 2021, beating the previous record set in 2017. Out of that total, more than 200 candidates appear in the primary, which features all the races with three or more people seeking the same office.

Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles leading up to Election Day.


Candidate

Renton City Council Position 2

Party Affiliation

Democrat

Family

Husband Bob Benedetti, daughter aged 12

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

I am a Renton City Councilmember and a 25-year employee of the King County Library System.

Education

BA and Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington

Occupation

Librarian for 25 years (15 in management) and Renton City Councilmember

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

Appointed to the Renton City Council in 2020

Campaign website

https://voteangelina.com

Why are you seeking elective office?

I am seeking to retain my Council position because of my deep love for my community and the belief that the more uncertain the time, the greater need for servant leadership. I bring a deep civic resume – with almost ten years of work on City Boards and Commissions. I am a career librarian with 25 years of service in our communities. My work demonstrates a commitment to information access and equity, early literacy, and economic empowerment and has resulted in a deep knowledge of regional issues.

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Affordable housing. Already a huge concern in our expensive area, housing is about to reach a crisis point with the sunseting of the eviction moratoriums that have kept so many people in their homes through the pandemic. If we do not find affordable solutions, these individuals and families run the risk of becoming unstably housed or losing their homes entirely at a time when we have just begun to see some successes in housing people who are already experiencing homelessness. As a Councilmember, I have voted to support affordable housing opportunities. I am enthusiastic about the recent announcement by the City of Renton to create a new Department of Equity, Housing, and Human Services (EHHS).The City of Renton has moved forward with creative solutions including our Accessory Dwelling Unit program, a development of land grant townhomes, and fee waivers and tax incentives for affordable housing in specific zones. We are eager to spend the monies made possible by RCW 82.14.530.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I bring the experience of working as your Renton City Councilmember. I was appointed to this seat after a unanimous vote of the Council in February 2020. Since then, I have earned my Certificate of Municipal Leadership and represented the City on Regional boards and committees. Before this appointment, I chaired the Renton Planning Commission and served the City in a variety of capacities for over 10 years.

When Mitzi Johanknecht leaves office, what should the county look for in appointing a new sheriff?

The City of Renton is served by its own police department and does not contract with the county for services.

What are some of your priorities for a post-pandemic recovery?

Infrastructure. Building sustainable and affordable communities cannot be done without investments in transportation, utilities, and public amenities. I will continue to support these and work on county and regional boards to maintain and advance Renton’s interests. I am presently Renton’s representative to the South County Area Transportation Board.

Support for our businesses. Continued and steady economic growth is absolutely required in our community, with emphasis on diversification into new industries. Historically, Renton’s business engine has been driven by our longtime partnerships with the Boeing Company and Paccar. We have been inviting more medical service providers and innovators into our community – joining the world class UW Medicine/ Valley Medical Center – to support both quality care and bring more jobs to the area. With the refreshment of our downtown core, and the recent construction of Southport, we have new opportunities before us.

What would you do in office to strengthen preparedness and response efforts for extreme heat and wildfire smoke events?

Short-term. Support our relationship with the Renton Regional Fire Authority in any and every way we can. Also, maintain the City’s tree canopy, which helps to cool our surface areas and neighborhoods. Healthy trees are less prone to fire. Long term. Reduce the City’s carbon footprint and incentivize green technologies.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

I want to thank everyone in this race for stepping up for our City. It is difficult to run for public office and to do so at this challenging time takes courage.

How do you think local officials performed in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently?

I believe the City of Renton – Council, Mayor, and City employees – did an outstanding job in an unprecedented time. Our City has been facing the triple crisis of a global pandemic, racial injustice, and economic downturn. We made progress on each of these fronts and while there is still lots to do, we are taking steps to move us forward.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

Tops on my list of issues is affordable housing. Both short-term and long-term investments in affordable, sustainable housing and wraparound support for those who are experiencing homelessness.
In addition, I am committed to investing in infrastructure, supporting our community spaces, and more money for human services.
Also, support for public safety and our first responders, along with programs that promote accountability – recruitment, training and screening programs, transparent review and discipline processes in response to events. Continuing to build bridges with key leaders in the community.
Finally, transportation. At the juncture of multiple interstates and highways (I-5, I-405, Hwys 167 and 169, SR 900) in the area, Renton is key to the success of regional transportation. My priority is to continue to seek support from state and federal funding to maintain and improve upon this infrastructure and to advocate for the wins we earned in the ST3 package. The promised BRT stop and new park-and-ride are critical to our future growth.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I am presently a Renton City Councilmember. Pandemic recovery will require steady leadership and commitment. The joys and heartbreaks of serving the City at this unique time have prepared me for the work of the next four years.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

I will offer two. First, that showing up is half the battle. And, second, that listening takes more skill than talking.

What
else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I have proven myself willing and able to do the job. We have a lot still to do. The work of local government can feel very boring (at least according to my 12-year-old daughter), and it is the only way we keep the water running, improve our streets and sidewalks, and build the parks and amenities that make our communities beautiful places to be.
It is my commitment to you to continue to show up, to listen, and to continue to serve this community.

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