Sustainable Mercer Island interviews local candidates on environmental issues

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Sustainable Mercer Island recently conducted a community sustainability survey of Mercer Island candidates for city council and school district directors.

After the primary elections, the top two candidates for each position going forward in the November general election are: for city council position 6, Katie Akyuz has 2,950 votes (47.01%) and Lisa Anderl has 2,510 (40%); for the post of Principal 2 of the Mercer Island School District (MISD), Brian Giannini Upton has 2,322 votes (38.02%) and Dan Glowitz has 2,190 votes (35.86%); and for the post of Director of MISD No. 4, Deborah Lurie has 3,205 votes (53.63%) and Lacey Aaker has 1,707 votes (28.56%).

Upton and Glowitz did not respond to the survey.

Candidates answered questions about their personal history and opinions on various county, city and school district plans related to the environment.

Akyuz, who holds an undergraduate degree in urban forestry and a master’s degree in forest ecosystems science, said she supports the King County Cities Collaboration (K4C) goal of reducing gas emissions at 50% greenhouse effect by 2030 compared to 2007 levels.

She also supports the development of a Mercer Island climate action plan and said there is a need to address the Mercer Island transportation infrastructure. Akyuz said she was ready to commit financial resources for climate action and discussed ways the city can encourage sustainable behavior, such as using alternative energy sources and composting food waste.

“My family has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest and that motivates my attachment to this beautiful place we call home,” said Akyuz. “I’ve always been drawn to public service, wanting to continue my family’s legacy of leadership, but in an environmentally restorative way. “

Anderl, the incumbent of the city council, serves as the council liaison to the Open Space Conservancy Trust and the city representative on the Lake Washington / Cedar / Sammamish Watershed Salmon Recovery Council.

She also supports the K4C greenhouse gas emissions target and said developing a Mercer Island climate action plan is part of the Council’s overall plan. Anderl said she supports achieving these goals as time and resources permit, but would like to know if residents believe a specific climate action plan for Mercer Island is needed.

“I firmly believe in being good stewards of the environment,” said Anderl. “Personally, I work to minimize car travel and to lead a conservative life in terms of energy consumption. ”

Aaker, who interned at the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle as a graduate student, said she will focus on community contribution and added that she will explore food sourcing and preparation. in schools as a possible way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

She said she would support increased funding for MISD sustainability initiatives and the inclusion of sustainability in student curricula.

“I am passionate about protecting the environment and have combined my talents and educational skills to help advance environmental protection,” said Aaker. “Study after study and poll after poll have shown that a large part of our current generation of students see climate change as a defining issue for their future. ”

The incumbent Lurie, who co-wrote a board resolution on sustainability and environmental stewardship, said protecting the environment should always be a factor to consider when making decisions about facilities.

Lurie added that while she supports learning and decision-making based on environmental impact, any school initiative beyond the basic education program should come from outside grants and donations.

“I believe that sustainability is and will remain a major force in the education of our students. Why? Because our students are asking for it, ”Lurie said. “Sustainability is a topic of regular discussion and learning in science classes, healthcare, the dining hall, green teams, recycling programs and many more. ”

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