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Kirkland City Councilman-elect Jay Arnold to take office in January
A Colorado native, Kirkland City Councilman-elect Jay Arnold assures he’s a Seahawks fan “through and through.”
“We’ll be cheering for the Seahawks but I would love it if they end up playing the Broncos in the Superbowl,” Arnold laughs. “I have some fun bets with friends in Colorado. Even though I might have a Denver Broncos T-shirt buried somewhere in the back of the closet, it’s the Seahawks.”
And it’s that same love for the great Northwest that prompted Arnold, 46, to run for Council in a city that he’s lived in for more than 20 years.
Arnold beat challenger Martin Morgan with 71.5 percent of Kirkland votes in the November general election.
He will take the oath of office for Position 1 on Jan. 7, the Council’s first meeting of 2014, during which the Council will also vote on a new mayor. Mayor Joan McBride, who currently holds the Position 1 seat, announced January 2013 that she would not seek re-election.
“It’s a very talented group of Council members and I think we’ll find somebody who can lead us as a Council,” Arnold said. “ … It will be somebody that Kirkland will be proud to have as a mayor.”
But until then, Arnold has been doing everything he can to prepare for his upcoming role as a Councilman.
Arnold has met with different people on city staff throughout December to further understand how the city works.
“When people come at me with a problem, I want to be able to connect them with a person in the city and make sure their problems are taken care of,” Arnold said, whose term will expire at the end of 2017.
Arnold said he’s been looking into several issues before the city in 2014, one of them being the Juanita pool partnership.
“I do think there’s some urgency on looking at partnering with Wave and the school district, other organizations, [on whether] we can put together a plan that replaces Juanita pool,” Arnold said.
Arnold said the Kirkland:2035 Comprehensive Plan update process will also start to crop up as the process continues.
“It’s something that’s going to impact the city for the next 20 years,” he said. “It will require a lot of time and input.”
And with the most recent controversy regarding where marijuana retail shops may be located, Arnold is quick to empathize but also takes a stance against moratoriums.
“I personally have a very high bar on moratoriums,” said Arnold, who was the Chair of the Kirkland Planning Commission in 2011-2012. “It’s not something that I would generally like to do.”
Arnold said his children walk on the safe school route by Kirkland Middle School, where one potential marijuana retail shop could locate, but he said he’d like to see how things play out with the state before there’s any action on a city level.
As the Cross Kirkland Corridor master plan takes form, Arnold is excited for the future possibilities surrounding Kirkland’s transportation. A draft of the plan is to be presented to the Council on Jan. 21.
In addition to finding funding for the Corridor’s master plan, he hopes to develop regional connections with the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Sound Cities Association.
Overall, Arnold said his experience with the Planning Commission has solidified his ability to think longterm.
“When something gets built, that’s the lifespan of the building, you have to think toward the longterm,” he said. “Kirkland is a very diverse city and it’s one that you’ve got to think about how someone can spend their whole lifetime [here].”
Arnold grew up in Fort Collins, Colo. and attended the University of Colorado where he earned his Bachelor of Science and Computer Science degree.
He came to Kirkland after college for the job opportunities but also because he has family in the area.
“I was happy to land here because this area has all the things I loved about Colorado with mountains, but it also has the water,” he said. “I knew I was going to be here for good.”
Arnold had his first apartment in the Totem Lake area. He soon got a job with Microsoft where he would work for 14 years as a group manager in software development.
He’s served on the board of the Municipal League of King County, the Capital Finance Review Board, Futurewise and Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development).
Arnold also co-chaired the successful YES! for Great Kirkland Parks campaign in 2012 and is now the technology director for Fuse Washington, a progressive advocacy organization.
“I’m just excited for the work going forward,” he said. “I”m excited for this city. It’s great and I’ll be working my darndest to do what I can to keep it that way.”
Arnold lives the the Norkirk neighborhood with his wife, Mary Beth Binns, and three daughters who attend Kirkland Middle School and Community School.