Former Pierce County Council member plans to run again

Government: Terry Lee says recent change with state Senate seat part of drive to return

of the GatewayJanuary 15, 2014 

Terry Lee, the executive director of the Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District in Gig Harbor, plans to run for the District 7 position on the Pierce County Council, a seat he once held for the maximum eight consecutive years.

“I’m looking forward to being the voice of my constituents once again as we work together to build liveable communities and strive for a higher quality of life,” Lee wrote in an email that announced his intent to enter the race.

Stan Flemming, a Republican, has held the seat for the past four years. He was elected to replace Lee when Lee reached his term limit in 2009.

Since then, Pierce County redrew district lines following the 2010 U.S. Census, and Flemming, who lived in University Place at the time, would not have lived in the new district boundaries. He has since moved to Gig Harbor to establish residency, in case he runs again.

Flemming also was a candidate for Washington’s new 10th Congressional District, a seat won by Denny Heck in 2012.

Lee, also a Republican, said the county charter would allow for him to return to the council after at least a two-year break. He said he would once again be eligible to run for two consecutive four-year terms.

Lee was hired in 2010 to lead PenMet Parks, which benefitted from Lee’s knowledge of county parks and permitting processes. In one example, PenMet Parks put $2 million toward the $5 million purchase price to help Pierce County purchase the Tacoma Narrows Airport from the City of Tacoma.

Lee has been on one-year renewable contracts with PenMet Parks. If elected to the county council, he said he most likely would step down from his position but would want the transition to be as seamless as possible.

“I would continue to be a strong advocate for the parks district, regardless of my position,” Lee said.

His name was among several that surfaced when former state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, won the 26th Legislative District’s Senate seat in November. A Republican will be appointed to replace Angel in the House.

“When I was asked to consider filling Rep. Angel’s position, my first thought was, ‘How could that benefit the parks district?’ ” Lee said. “I’d think the same way if I was elected back to the (county) council, but, of course, it would also include public safety, public works, community service, etc.”

Editor and Publisher Brian McLean can be reached at 253-358-4150 or by email at brian.mclean@gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brian.

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