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"Kordonowy makes it official, joins raceThe planning commissioner cites volunteer work in her bid for mayor."

"Saying she wants to put 10 years of volunteer experience to work leading the city, Darlene Kordonowy has declared herself a candidate for mayor of Bainbridge Island.The challenge in the years ahead, she says, is to preserve the island's essence in the face of change.People are going to come to Bainbridge Island, she said. We can't prevent them from doing that, and we shouldn't do it if we could. So how do we continue to be the community that we love amid that growth?Kordonowy joins Bainbridge Island Park Board Chair Chris Llewellyn as declared candidates to succeed Mayor Dwight Sutton, who has announced that he will not seek a second term.Kordonowy said the critical attribute for a mayor is leadership, which she said has two important aspects - setting the agenda for the city, and administering the city on a day-to-day basis.Although Kordonowy does not think that population growth on Bainbridge can be prevented, she does believe it can occur without some of the trappings of density.The vision of this community is not for an urban, concrete place, she said.She pointed specifically to the spread of urban infrastructure, such as sewers and sidewalks, to areas outside the Winslow core.Have we given enough thought to the implications and alternatives of extending water and sewer outside of Winslow? she asked. These are fair issues to discuss.She strongly supports the $8 million open-space bond issue going on November's ballot.We need to be identifying land right now where we do not want growth to occur, and setting those aside, she said.Midwest politicsKordonowy grew up in politics. For 26 years, her father was mayor of Belfield, N.D., where she grew up, and her sister was city auditor.I grew up talking politics at the dinner table, she said.After graduating from North Dakota State University with a degree in history, Kordonowy went to work for Standard & Poor's doing financial research, then became an account executive for a company that designed and sold business forms.That job moved her to Denver, where she met and married Jay Abbott, then to Seattle.Bainbridge was happenstance, and love at first sight.We took a ferry ride to Bainbridge one afternoon around Christmas of 1985, she said. Our friends had warned us not to get into that ferry mess, but we saw five houses for sale that day and would have bought any one of them, not for the houses but for what we felt and saw in the community.In 1988, she took what she thought would be a year off from work, and began volunteering at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, at Bloedel Reserve and with the home -rule committee.I was amazed at how accessible and welcoming they were to newcomers, she said.After all-island government passed, Kordonowy was named to the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. As chair of that group, she played a major role in drafting the city's initial Comprehensive Plan. In 1995, she was appointed to the city planning commission, and is now serving her second term.She has also been an active volunteer at Helpline House, with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and with the League of Women Voters. In 1999, she was named the Kiwanis Club's Citizen of the Year.Kordonowy speaks knowingly about the importance of the island's non-profit organizations.They make a big difference to us in terms of tax savings, she said, and they have collectively contributed a great deal - maybe even more than government - to building the infrastructure of our community. As mayor, I would want to continue connecting with that sector.After 11 years of all-island incorporation, Kordonowy says, the city is still in the process of maturing, and she hopes to take the next step.Under (former mayor) Sam Granato, we had incorporation and annexation, she said. Janet West provided what I call a period of healing after the process of annexation. And Dwight Sutton has provided organizational stability.I would like to build on those contributions and provide a future-oriented vision. "

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