Uma Coimbature, who is running for Sammamish City Council, has always had a passion for learning.
Although Coimbature, who is in her 50s, has had less city hall experience than her incumbent opponent – Roisin O’Farrell – she believes her ability to learn quickly will win her the election.
“I have always been a constant learner…Instead of saying, I already know everything and I am the best, I say that I will be a student forever,” Coimbature said in an interview with the Sammamish Independent.
A desire to learn was her most common answer to questions about current issues that Sammamish faces.
When asked about how she plans to put Sammamish’s budget on a more fiscally sustainable path, Coimbature said that she has “plans to learn about it closer to the elections or once I become a council member.”
Coimbature gave a similar response when asked what she would like to see in Sammamish’s comprehensive plan update, which must be approved by the council by Dec. 2024.
“I have not gone through the current comprehensive plan,” Coimbature said.
She also pledged to learn about strategies that the council can implement to improve transparency and accountability.
Current issues aside, Coimbature did provide a unique perspective on how to advance Sammamish’s economic appeal. She suggests that Sammamish should focus on growing its tourism sector.
“I think we should encourage some kind of service industry to flourish here like tourism. We have Lake Sammamish and many recreational parks,” Coimbature said.
If elected, she wants to support tourism by adding and maintaining trails in Sammamish’s parks. Coimbature also wants a few transit improvements within Sammamish.
“It would be a dream to have a light rail here in Sammamish,” Coimbature said.
Born and raised in India, Coimbature was often involved with various environmental projects in her home country, where she helped with forest restoration, patient care and financial aid in medical facilities, and habitat redevelopment.
In 2011, she settled in Sammamish and worked as a Microsoft consultant. However, in 2022, she realized that her true passion was to become a full-time volunteer, and quit her job.
Coimbature now volunteers with several organizations such as the Red Cross, Indian American Community Services, Eastside Baby Corner, Sammamish Stewards, and her homeowners association. In 2022, she was given the President’s Volunteer Service Award from AmeriCorps for her work in stormwater restoration projects and native pollinator plant management for Sammamish Stewards.
Coimbature said she never stops trying to learn about new programs and new ways that she can give back to her community.
While she acknowledges that she will not necessarily be the most informed about issues facing the city, she pledges to look to more knowledgeable experts for assistance.
“I’m sure I will take the help of an expert or someone who is more experienced. I am always open to their guidance and…I’m very good at learning,” Coimbature said.
Uma Coimbature is running for Sammamish City Council position #2.