Incoming Kirkland Councilmember Amy Falcone has always strived to be involved in her community. But one of the first times she realized she could make tangible changes via local government came a few years ago.
At the time, her daughter had just started kindergarten at Henry David Thoreau Elementary School. Walking to school every day, she immediately noticed that the walking routes weren’t very safe. There were no sidewalks; there were sections of their walk route where the shoulder was only a few inches wide, with metro buses going by.
“I emailed [city council] and said, ‘You know, I have some concerns about the safety of our school walk route, and I want to show you firsthand what those concerns are,’” Falcone said.
Councilmembers soon joined her and her child as they walked. A video of their experiences was brought back to staff; within a few weeks, Falcone said the new head of public works, Kathy Brown, had crews working to better conditions.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I can get stuff done working with the government to help my community be better,’” Falcone said.
Within the next few years, Falcone would get involved with the local PTSA, eventually becoming president; the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance, of which she became a member; and the city’s human services commission, of which she was a co-chair. In her roles, Falcone prioritized not only improving safe transportation but also inclusivity and accessibility.
Although she was able to successfully — and sometimes not-so-successfully — advocate for causes she believed in, there came a point at which Falcone realized she could do even more if she ran for council.
The daughter of a homemaker and a janitorial manager, Falcone was born and raised mostly in Philadelphia, with stints in New York and New Jersey, alongside two older siblings. Having lived in what she describes as an impoverished area with a high crime rate, where racial injustice often came to the fore, she saw firsthand how pivotal it was for a community to have strong human services and resources.
“Growing up in that environment and seeing that and being upset by that as a kid, I couldn’t do much about that, I think fueled my passion,” Falcone said.
After graduating from high school, Falcone attended Temple University, where she got a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in sociology.
“I just love the issues of human services and sociology and helping out my fellow humans,” she said. “I thought it was pretty cool that I could study that.”
After finishing graduate school, where she worked at a consulting firm and taught an undergraduate statistics class, she got married and moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. There, she worked for a government consulting firm, collaborating with the Department of Defense on issues relating to women in the military and military families. She additionally worked on research that aimed to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Falcone and her husband moved to Kirkland about six years ago. She remembers that before officially relocating to the city, while relaxing with their children at Peter Kirk Park and subsequently exploring the area, she called her husband, who was at work, to tell him that she wanted to move there.
“‘This is our city, and we have to move to Kirkland,’” Falcone recalled telling him over the phone.
Falcone ultimately nabbed Pos. 6, which was previously held by one of her supporters, Dave Asher. His term expired on Dec. 31; Falcone’s oath of office is set for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, at City Hall.
Falcone said as a councilmember, she hopes to help the city make gains in areas like walkability, intentional growth, inclusivity and affordable housing. And she wants to ensure that everyone in the increasingly diverse community is engaged — not just a select few.
“There’s lots of things that we can do to encourage diversity in our boards and commissions,” she said. “I want to make sure that we have more voices heard in the decisions we’re making as a government. That’s extremely important. That was important to me as I campaigned, and it’ll continue to be important to me as I serve on the council.”
When asked about what she loves about the community, Falcone emphasized the word community.
“That’s what I love most about Kirkland, is the sense of community we have here,” she said. “When we first moved here, people talk about the Seattle freeze. I did not feel that in Kirkland. We felt so welcomed… that’s something that I think is pretty unique to Kirkland.”