Former Gig Harbor council member to run for county seat

Government: Derek Young, who spent 16 years with city, aims to help overall economic growth

of the GatewayJanuary 22, 2014 

Former Gig Harbor City Council member Derek Young hopes he’s not going to be out of the local government game for long.

Young finished 16 years on the city council Dec. 31, and he announced his campaign for the Pierce County Council’s District 7 seat last Friday.

Terry Lee, the executive director of the Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District who previously served for eight years on the county council, also plans to run.

Young’s background is in city government, but he’s gained county-wide experience.

“Really, over the last several years, I’ve been working on a variety of regional (issues),” he said.

If elected, Young said his priorities would be transportation, growth management and public safety. His county experience comes as a member of the Pierce County and Puget Sound Regional councils, and as part of the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners.

Young said he wants “positive results for (the) whole region,” according to his announcement.

Young has endorsements from Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and state Rep. Larry Seaquist. Members of both the Gig Harbor and Tacoma city councils also have given endorsements, Young said.

“I’ve been really pleased with the response so far,” he said.

Young was 21 when he first ran for public office.

“I was sort of ridiculously young,” he said of his first campaign.

Lee, who announced his candidacy last week, is someone Young has known for a long time. Stan Flemming is the incumbent.

District 7 covers Gig Harbor, Ruston, the Key Peninsula and a sizable portion of North Tacoma.

“I don’t anticipate this being a terribly divisive campaign,” Young said. “I think we’ll give voters a good choice.”

Currently, Young is a small business owner who spends his spare time with his nieces, Zoe and Darby. He graduated from Gig Harbor High School and the University of Washington.

Young said his interest in the seat comes from a belief that working on policy brings results, not an elevated political profile. He said there has been talk of him running for a state legislative seat, but he feels local work is the best way to help the community.

“Local government is a place where we can still get stuff done,” he said.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at Follow her on Twitter, @Gateway_Karen.

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