From left, candidates Ryan Burnett, Robyn Mulenga and Anthony Ase. COURTESY PHOTOS

From left, candidates Ryan Burnett, Robyn Mulenga and Anthony Ase. COURTESY PHOTOS

Primary primer: 3 candidates vie for City Council seat in Tuesday’s election

Like all King County voters, Auburn residents will decide in Tuesday’s primary election which candidates for numerous public offices make it onto November’s general election ballots, and vote up or down on Proposition 1, King County’s Parks and Recreation’s property tax measure, which would replace an expiring six-year levy.

Specifically, voters in Auburn’s primary will determine which two of three hopefuls for Auburn City Council Position 5 – Anthony Ase, Ryan Burnett, or Robyn Mulenga – move on to the general election, and who won’t.

Position 5 is the only council contest of three that drew more than two applicants. Two-term incumbent John Holman is not running for re-election.

The top-two vote-getters from the primary will move on to the Nov. 5 general election.

Here’s a compilation of what the three Auburn City Council hopefuls have to say about themselves.

Robyn Mulenga

Education: First in family to graduate college. BA in communications, Pacific Lutheran University

Occupation: Auburn School Board District director; land contracts for the federal government

As an Auburn resident for 14 years, and a member of the Auburn School Board since 2015, Mulenga said she is running for City Council to create a diverse, inclusive community where all residents feel accepted, and in which they want to live, work and grow their businesses.

“For the past four years, I have listened to and addressed the concerns of our community, and I will continue to listen and drive change as a City Council member,” Mulenga said.

On the school board, Mulenga said, she helped bring forward a successful bond measure that will build two new elementary schools and replace six.

Developing land contracts for the government, she said, has provided her with the chops to understand the inner-workings of ordinances and resolutions.

As a council member, Mulenga said, her top priorities would be: to bring affordable housing solutions to Auburn; to provide clean, safe, rest areas for the homeless, with access to shower and laundry services; to fix potholes and maintain city streets, and; to continue the strong relationship between the school district and the city.

Ryan Burnett

Education: Agape Boarding School, valedictorian; U.S. Army

Occupation: Room chef/Chef de Cuisine, Muckleshoot Casino.

Ryan Burnett is running for City Council, he says, in part to strengthen the community for its children and their children’s children.

“It’s important to think about how the decisions we are making today will affect the future generations. It’s our responsibility,” Burnett said.

Burnett, who is making his first run at elective office, cited his ability to look at situations and problems from many angles, to analyze possible solutions and make improvements, all of which he said would benefit the council and the people it serves.

Burnett said, his top priorities would be: to work toward greater support for crime prevention; to provide additional support for programs created to come up with creative solutions to improve the mental health of the community; to address homelessness and addiction issues; to improve training and education to empower Auburn residents to join the skilled job force and strengthen the city’seconomy; and to create more opportunities for small businesses in the city to open and prosper

The Anchorage, Alaska transplant was raised as a toddler in the South Seattle neighborhood of Skyway, graduated from Renton High School, joined the Army, took a job in Auburn in 2011 and moved to the city in 2014.

Anthony Ase

Education: MA, secondary math education. Washington Governor’s University; BA, humanities, Western Washington University; and an AA from Whatcom Community College.

Occupation: math teacher

Anthony Ase is running for City Council because, he said, for too long, the political landscape has been dominated by career politicians or by business owners who want to make sure that laws stay out of their way.

“I want to represent my city and speak for citizens’ best interests instead of my personal interests or my business interests,” Ase said.

He has not held political office before, he said, but he has exercised leadership in variety of roles among them: retail management; union bargaining representative; roller derby coach; and department leader at his present job.

He noted his ability to break down complex ideas into manageable chunks, to relate to citizens and understand their concerns and various perspectives. “There’s no one better to work on a city budget than a math teacher. I won’t be playing around with economic theory, I’ll just balance the checkbook,” Ase said.

Ase’s top priorities in office would be: to recruit businesses that Auburn citizens want and need; to balance the city’s need to grow with the occasional necessity to step on the brakes: to ensure that utilities are bargained at a fair rate; to ensure that the local school districts are properly supported by city levies and property taxes; and to ensure that all students receive equitable services.

Ase was born Dayton, Ohio, and raised in an army family. He attended school in Kent.


According to the King County Elections voter pamphlet, a yes vote on Proposition 1 would replace an expiring parks levy, authorizing an additional six-year property tax beginning in 2020 at $0.1832 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, using the 2020 levy amount as the base for calculating annual increases in 2021 to 2025, either by the King County inflation-plus-population index, or via an existing limitation in state law, whichever is greater.

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