Councilwoman Lester says she won't seek re-election

Bainbridge City Councilwoman Debbi Lester announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election for her Central Ward seat on the city council.

"Having taken the time to listen to family, friends, colleagues and constituents, and although many encouraged me to run again, my family and I agree it would be best to step aside now and encourage new candidates to come forward, add their voice to the community conversation, and offer to serve as new community leaders on city council," Lester said in a letter to the Review.

Lester's term runs through the end of 2013. She took office in 2010, and previously served as the council mayor.

Lester noted that the city has come a long way in recent years under a variety of different council members, and that with the new leadership such as City Manager Doug Schulze and Police Chief Matthew Hamner, it is on a good path forward.

She said she is proud of the improvements to the city she has seen during her time on the council such as the Winslow Way reconstruction project, the solar panels on city hall and The Waypoint park.

Lester also said that there is much more work on the horizon that the next city council will have to tackle.

In her announcement this week, Lester encouraged more efforts toward nonmotorized transportation on the island and investing in the city's comprehensive plan.

But that's not all.

"In my opinion, we must bring back our community broadcasting, improve local business infrastructure (cell and broadband service), make economic investments in the cultural elements, encourage a diversity of housing, continue disaster preparedness efforts, and facilitate a community-driven Waterfront Park design," she said.

"These and other projects await the next city council," she added. "It is my hope that new candidates will step forward to embrace these opportunities and participate in our uniquely local blend of political leadership and collaboration."

Lester said that her grandson, husband and job at Art Access magazine will continue to keep her busy, but she is grateful for the opportunity to have served the island and won't be entirely out of the spotlight.

"I certainly intend though to continue to contribute to our community and look forward to working with you side by side to make this the best city and place to call home in Washington state," Lester said.

"It has been and is an honor and great privilege to work with you and serve on your behalf," she said.


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