(Photos Courtesy Keith Prior & Steven Brewer) Keith Prior (pictured left) and Steven Brewer (pictured right), are running for Commissioner Position No. 4. in the Vashon Park District.

(Photos Courtesy Keith Prior & Steven Brewer) Keith Prior (pictured left) and Steven Brewer (pictured right), are running for Commissioner Position No. 4. in the Vashon Park District.

Two Parks commissioner candidates vie in contested race

Keith Prior & Steven Brewer are running for the Park District Commissioner Position, No. 4.

In anticipation of the upcoming election in November, The Beachcomber sent out an identical questionnaire to the candidates running for the Vashon Park District Commissioner Position, No. 4.

This Commissioner position is the only contested race in the Park District election, as the candidates running for the Park District Commissioner Positions No. 1 and 2 are running unopposed. Indeed, no other commissioner races for any local positions are contested in the November election.

Below are responses to the questions we asked of Park District candidates Keith Prior and Steven Brewer, vying for Commissioner Position No. 4 in the Park District race.

Keith Prior

How long have you lived on Vashon? If not a longtime islander, why did you move here?

I have summered in Burton since 1952 where my grandparents and mother summered starting in 1918. I became a permanent resident four years ago. I have several relatives also living on Vashon.

What motivated you to run for this position?

I was recruited to run by Commissioner Ostrom. I wish to serve the community through the Park District, a gem of an organization.

If elected, what would be your priorities as the new commissioner?

My first priority is to work to sustain the value the district adds to the island. I would seek ways and means to address the deferred maintenance backlogs and to restore the use of vital elements such as the Tramp Harbor dock.

Why should voters choose you for this position? Have you ever served in elected office before or worked for a public agency?

I have more than 50 years of work experience in government and community service organizations. I have never held a public office. I have served as officer and president of a Home Owner’s Association, an affordable housing corporation, and a variety of other community development initiatives. I spent a quarter-century as an analyst/researcher/project director at the University of California Davis. While I do not seek to be a development officer, I have, in the past, raised more than $400 million in grants and contracts for community development projects.

What are your other professional and/or volunteer activities on Vashon? How would you balance and/or separate that work with serving on the Park District board?

I am retired and now only engage in volunteer work as trustee/treasurer of the Gold Beach Community Club, staff to the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association, and volunteer at the Vashon Senior Center. My term as treasurer is up next March and I do not plan on taking on any activity that would conflict with service as a commissioner for the Park District.

Steven Brewer

How long have you lived on Vashon? If not a longtime islander, why did you move here?

My husband and I moved to Vashon in 2019. I like to say that Vashon chose us. We were seeking a place to put down metaphorical and physical roots, a community and a property we could grow within. A place for chickens, ducks, and a garden, but also a community that reflected our values, granted opportunities for personal growth, while also offering ways to get involved and offer our personal strengths and experience.

What motivated you to run for this position?

Like many people during the pandemic, use of outdoor spaces became a critical part of my family’s physical and mental health. We relied heavily on our local parks and continue to. I am running to be your voice for our outdoor spaces — to listen to Vashon — and use my skills to make those big ideas a reality.

If elected, what would be your priorities as the new commissioner?

My top priority is the happiness of residents and the protection of Vashon, and to navigate towards solutions that benefit everyone. I will, with the utmost diligence, engage the community to build projects that have large community support. I will run the numbers on initiatives, provide transparency on community impact, and never exercise preferential treatment.

Second, I will find the financial resources. It is a misconception that there is no money to invest in Vashon parks and outdoor spaces. The real work is to create the vision, rally stakeholders, and then to manage the project with attention and vigor. This community should not always be asked to increase our property taxes. The county, state and non-profit organizations have shown their willingness to support island endeavors when there is a strong vision backed by community support.

Why should voters choose you for this position? Have you ever served in elected office before or worked for a public agency?

I am fortunate to have worked for Starbucks. In my tenure, I was chosen to be part of a small team responsible for creating and launching the Starbucks Reserve brand, the premium version of Starbucks stores and coffee. Our team opened flagship roasteries all over the world. The role required creative thinking and a willingness to adapt constantly. My experience in conceptualizing highly complex creative initiatives, finding the resources to make them a reality, and committing to physically oversee and assist in their success is the experience I offer to voters.

What are your other professional and/or volunteer activities on Vashon? How would you balance and/or separate that work with serving on the Park District board?

Currently, I am the marketing director for Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce. I am confident in my ability and commitment to giving both a high degree of focus. My professional experience has required me to manage simultaneous high-profile projects, without letting one impact the other. Lastly, I am committed to transparency, accountability, and integrity. These commitments enable me to serve in both roles without conflict.


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