Terry Lee has dropped out of the Pierce County Council race to focus on his work with Peninsula Metropolitan Parks. It wasn’t an easy decision.
“I had done some soul-searching and had decided to take my name out of the race and focus on what we’re doing here at PenMet Parks,” he said.
Lee held the District 7 seat for the maximum eight years. He reached the term limit in 2009, but the county charter allowed him to run again after a two year break. He jumped at the chance to run for a position he enjoyed and announced he would run in January. However, he can't fully devote his time to both the parks and the council, so he withdrew his name from consideration for the council seat.
“I just totally enjoyed being on (the council) and thought I’d made a difference,” Lee said. “But we’ve got a lot going on here at the park district.”
Lee announced his decision to pull out of the race at the Public Affairs forum at Cottesmore of Life Care on Thursday morning. Former Gig Harbor Council member Derek Young and the incumbent Stan Flemming are still in the race.
Lee said it would be hard to give time to two important positions. He sees PenMet Parks heading in a positive direction and didn’t want to slow down the momentum with a leadership transition, he said. The recent success at the newly acquired indoor soccer center is encouraging to Lee. The next major project is developing the Peninsula Gardens site.
Lee said he wants to make PenMet Parks a model for metropolitan parks systems statewide. He wants to work on preserving open space, protecting wildlife corridors and enhancing recreation programs. He’s looking forward to working with the Pierce County Parks system and the City of Gig Harbor.
The willingness to share assets in the community makes working for PenMet Parks special, Lee said. He was hired as executive director in 2010 and has been on one-year renewable contracts since. His contract was recently renewed in December.
Although he’s not running for the county council this year, Lee didn’t rule out a future run for the seat. He might consider it in four years.
“If I felt I could continue to make improvements on this side of the bridge.. absolutely I would consider it,” he said. This time, he said, the timing just wasn’t right.
Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.