By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
A tight political race that drags on for weeks is nothing new for Washingtonians.
Many thought this would be the story with the Tacoma mayoral race. On Nov. 4, Marilyn Strickland led in votes over opponent Jim Merritt by a narrow margin of 50.16 percent to 49.58 percent.
On Nov. 10, however, Strickland’s lead widened 51.37 percent to 48.37 percent. Though unofficial, it seems that Strickland’s election win is certain.
Though she won’t take office until January, she is hitting the ground running. “I have big plans,” Strickland said on Nov. 9, according to The News Tribune.
That day, Strickland revealed she is setting an impressive agenda for her time in Tacoma’s top elected office.
She aims to reduce Tacoma’s business and occupation tax in order to foster economic growth. Strickland said she would make education a priority during her campaign, and she is following up by planning to form a mayoral task force on education in order to obtain more public education funding.
According to the 2000 census, Tacoma is the second largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state. The racial makeup of the city, according to the census, is 60.25 percent white and 39.75 percent non-white. Asians and Pacific Islanders collectively make up 9.16 percent.
It is likely that the demographics have changed so that Tacoma is even more diverse than these numbers reflect. This change will be reflected in the upcoming 2010 census.
Strickland was born in Seoul in 1967 to an American soldier and a Korean who later immigrated to the United States, according to her website.
Her family settled in Tacoma when her father was stationed at Fort Lewis. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington and her Master of Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University.
Strickland was elected to the Tacoma City Council in 2007 and serves as vice chairwoman of the council’s Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee. She also serves on the council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee. She is on the board of Safe Streets and the Pierce County Regional Council, and she is a member of the Theatre District Association.
As a member of the council, Strickland has traveled to Korea to represent the city of Tacoma, advocated for a farmer’s market in the south Tacoma business district, and worked with federal legislators to obtain funding for local infrastructure projects.
She has also helped sponsor legislation to support the Boys & Girls Clubs Regional Center. ♦
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.