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Tacoma: Smitherman announces City Council bid

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on April 15, 2011 at 11:35 am |
April 15, 2011 11:35 am

Tacoma Public Schools teacher Karen Smitherman is the latest candidate to formally announce she’s running for the Tacoma City Council Position 1 seat.

Smitherman, a 35-year teacher and longtime West End resident married to former state lawmaker Bill Smitherman, said in a press release issued today that if elected, she “will focus on collaboration and practical solutions.” The release added:


“I want to create an environment that listens to our constituents, increases local jobs, improves public safety, promotes transparency in government, improves transportation mobility, and creates effective policies that protect our environment.”

Smitherman, who filed candidacy paperwork in January, joins two other council hopefuls who’ve already formally declared they’re running for the nonpartisan Position 1 seat that represents Tacoma’s West End and the western half of its North End.

Anders Ibsen and Joe Atkinson have previously announced their candidacies.

The Position 1 seat is being vacated by two-term Councilman Spiro Manthou, who is term-limited from seeking re-election.

Smitherman plans to kick-off her campaign on May 16th at The Lobster Shop from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Here’s the full text of her formal campaign announcment released today:

Tacoma Public Schools teacher Karen Smitherman announces her campaign for Tacoma City Council.

TACOMA- Karen Smitherman, a Tacoma Public Schools teacher and long time west end neighborhood resident announced today she will run for Tacoma City Council, Position 1. Spiro Manthou, who is not running due to term limits, currently holds the position.

In 35 years of teaching, Smitherman has developed programs that have brought business, labor, higher education, government, and private organizations together to improve the lives of children and families. As a learning specialist within Remann Hall, Smitherman understands the criminal and juvenile justice systems. She has also followed state and county policies and knows how they affect Tacoma. As a mother, Smitherman knows how children thrive with safe neighborhoods and great schools. Smitherman says she will bring a different perspective to the City Council to solve our biggest challenges and provide a brighter future for Tacoma.

Smitherman will hold her official Campaign Kick Off event on May 16th from 5:30- 7:00 pm at The Lobster Shop at 4015 Ruston Way.

On the City Council, Smitherman will focus on collaboration and practical solutions. I want to create an environment that listens to our constituents, increases local jobs, improves public safety, promotes transparency in government, improves transportation mobility, and creates effective policies that protect our environment, Smitherman said.

Former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma said “I have known Karen for over 20 years. We have worked together on community issues and I know she has the ability to engage with others to get things done. Karen has been an effective leader who has served her community well.”

Smitherman cites a long history of community involvement and experience as the reason she is best suited to lead on the City Council. In addition to her work in the classroom and as co-director of the School of the Arts in 2004, Smitherman also served as coordinator for the Building Excellent Schools Together program, a partnership with the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and the Tacoma School District for seven years where her focus has always been on collaborative decision making – engaging people in decisions that positively affect our lives and enhance our community.

Smitherman currently serves on the boards of the Tacoma Urban Network and Pierce County Juvenile Justice Coalition. She is a past board member of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, and past board member of the Governors Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Smitherman and her husband Bill have lived in the west end neighborhood for 37 years. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. Bill Smitherman was a long time State Representative and State Senator from the 26th District.

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