If Sammamish was hiring for an official mascot for the environment, Sid Gupta would probably raise his hand.
Gupta, 31, spends most of his time working towards environmental causes within the city’s borders. For nine years, he has been involved with restoration work through the Washington Native Plant Society’s Native Plant Stewardship Program, an organization that leads efforts in conservation and restoration of native plant species. As a steward, Gupta created the Ebright Creek restoration project to replace invasive blackberries with native species. Since 2015, he has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He is currently the president of the local non-profit Sammamish Friends, and received a Sammamish Volunteer of the Year award in 2018 for his environmental work.
Gupta is now expanding beyond volunteering for environmental causes, and running for Sammamish City Council to push for improvements in the city’s climate and fiscal policies. He previously applied for a vacant seat in 2022 but was not selected.
In an interview with the Sammamish Independent, Gupta stated that his main priorities include emphasizing greener means of transportation, promoting sustainability, and ensuring the city maintains a vibrant financial future.
Gupta said he wants to prioritize and accelerate transportation projects in Sammamish. The city is currently working on a transit plan that focuses on public transportation, as well as updating the Comprehensive Plan which includes a transportation component. Gupta, who himself does not own a car, relies on walking, biking, and public transit. He plans to emphasize multi-modal transport and put more focus on walking and biking trail connections in the city’s plans.
He also wants to build upon the Urban Forest Management Plan and the upcoming Climate Action Plan by supporting and raising awareness for ongoing conservation efforts.
Specifically, he aims to ensure that the Climate Action Plan is communicated in a manner that is accessible and understood by the public. He cited Redmond’s climate webpage as an example that Sammamish can follow to inform the public, so they can hold the council more accountable to take action.
“Making sustainability part of who we are is going to define us going forward,” Gupta said.
From a fiscal standpoint, Gupta hopes to create alternate sources of tax revenue for the city, given the city is currently over-reliant on property taxes. His ideas include pursuing grants more aggressively for projects, and taking on loans to fund major capital projects if interest rates eventually come down. He also believes that the opportunities raised by ongoing development of the Sammamish Town Center will be key in helping Sammamish diversify its revenue sources.
“I don’t think it’s healthy for Sammamish to continue to rely so heavily on property tax,” he said.
On the issue of youth civic engagement, Gupta expressed a desire to allow more youth to join city commissions. He was impressed by the Sammamish Youth Board’s advocacy for the city to adopt a climate action plan, and wants to encourage more involvement in local government among youth.
“Our commissions are all advisory commissions so you’re not passing policy but you are certainly involved in developing it, so I think that would be a great opportunity,” Gupta said.
Gupta is passionate about learning from other cities. In June, he attended the annual conference of the Association of Washington Cities as an observer, where he learned about the organization’s efforts, challenges that cities face, and opportunities from the state and federal levels. He wants to do more of this if elected.
“Unfortunately Sammamish didn’t have any elected officials or any staff there, so I’d like to see us participate more mutually,” Gupta said. “I know that time is a very valuable resource and we can’t always make it, but I think opportunities like that are really going to help us become more vocal members of our region.”
Sid Gupta is running for Sammamish City Council position #3.