After living in Sammamish for two decades, Pam Stuart, 54, is now seeking re-election to city council to continue her efforts to combat climate change, promote inclusivity, and ensure the city’s long-term fiscal health.
Stuart, who has made climate action a focus during her time on city council, said in an interview that she plans to continue being an advocate now that the city has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 96% by 2050. She wants to implement programs that educate the community about what they can do to combat climate change, such as reducing the use of natural gas to generate energy and heat homes.
“Climate change is real, human activity has an effect, and we have a responsibility to take action,” she said.
Stuart wants to expand the use of sustainable building practices, such as green roofs and solar panels. They could come in the form of incentives, or mandates. In commercial buildings, she wants to see developers be more intentional about installing sustainable elements, such as rooftop community gardens and solar panels, to help reduce their carbon footprint.
“I do believe we should look at any new development and what we require or incentivize in terms of say, solar,” Stuart said. “There are parts of the country that now require that.”
Furthermore, Stuart wants to see people shift from cars into public transit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She wants elements of our future transportation master plan to include more frequent metro bus service, light rail connections, and community transit options.
“I think there are some groups who will benefit greatly from having ways to commute to Seattle or Bellevue without having to drive and park,” Stuart said. “And how about our teens and tweens? Can we have some intra-city circulator routes or expanded Metro Flex programs that can reduce car trips?”
Stuart is also running on her record of diversity and inclusion. She said she is very proud of the current council’s passage of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) plan for city staff, council members, and commissioners. If re-elected, Stuart would make a push for a community-wide DEIB plan, which includes more diverse housing options.
“Whether that includes multi-generational households, so we need housing units that can handle that and the services, like transit and senior programming, and pre-schools, etc. or single people who work here and don’t want to have to commute an hour to work, and everyone in between,” she said.
That DEIB expansion will also include translating city hall’s content into multiple languages.
Finally, Stuart wants to help Sammamish become more fiscally sustainable. She wants to better utilize the city’s other revenue streams instead of raising property taxes. She pointed to higher sales tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of an alternative tax source. This happened as more people shopped online.
To generate additional sales tax revenue, Stuart supports developing the town center, which would provide the businesses and services that residents need, while generating the sales tax that the city needs.
“The goal is to understand the goods and services that Sammamish residents need and which one can and should be provided within the city,” Stuart said. “By providing more commercial space for such businesses, the city can keep more of the sales taxes that residents already pay here in the city instead of going to other cities.”
Stuart was first elected to city council in 2017, but decided not to run when she was up for re-election in 2021. However, she was then appointed to the council in 2022 when Ken Gamblin resigned. The vote was contentious, with the city council deadlocked for months before King County Council stepped in and appointed her.
Stuart said she is choosing to run now because she feels she can finally have an impact.
“In 2021, I felt that the issues I see as most important were not being addressed by the council and likely would not be unless the council majority changed,” Stuart said. “Now we have a council majority who is willing to and are working on these important issues and I believe that my time is best spent on a council willing to tackle these important issues.”
Pam Stuart is running for city council position #6.