Smith takes on Fantroy-Johnson for BI council

  • Friday, October 8, 2021 1:30am
  • News
Chris Smith

Chris Smith

A former Army captain is taking on incumbent Brenda Fantroy-Johnson for Bainbridge Island City Council.

Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 15. The election is Nov. 2.

This is the first time Fantroy-Johnson is running for the office, as she was previously appointed. Her challenger, Chris Smith, has 30 years of experience leading teams at IBM.

The other council race this fall, Jon Quitslund vs. Kent Scott, will run in next week’s paper.


Brenda Fantroy-Johnson

Education, work and political experience that qualifies you for the job?

City councilmember, appointed in 2020. Risk Management at AT&T since 2007; Security Awareness lead at Nordstrom in 2006; Security analyst at state of Michigan from 1988-2005. Volunteer board member of Housing Kitsap; committee member and city liaison for Bainbridge Public Art Committee; founding member Race Equity Task Force; member of PSRC Regional Housing Strategy; participant of Let’s Talk Series at BI Senior Center, facilitator of Bainbridge Island Courageous Conversations on Race, Author of “Imagine Me” a Memoir. M.B.A. Spring Arbor University; B.A. information security – Davenport University. As a BI City Council member, I have worked tirelessly to make sure that my constituents’ voices have been heard. My voting record on council has consistently amplified the voices of Bainbridge Islanders around issues such as conscientious development, advocating for island-wide sustainable transportation, increasing access to affordable housing, and empowering the Race Equity Advisory Committee. When elected, I will continue to listen to you.

I have been active in local government as a member of the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, the Climate Change Action Committee and was part of the interview committee for the planning commission. As your city councilperson I will continue working toward mitigating the effects of climate change, increasing racial equity, fighting for environmentally responsible affordable housing and creating public transportation. I plan to do this all through fiscally responsible, community-informed, decision making.

Top 3-5 issues

Sustainable Transportation: When elected I will advocate for an island-wide transportation plan that is sustainable, equitable and accessible. I support the existing action plan’s goals to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2045 and improve safe mobility for all. We do this by focusing on connecting networks for all ages and abilities.

Environment/Climate Change: I support the Climate Action Plan and as a member of the REAC I worked to help build an equity component into the Climate Adaptation Tool. This gives the tool the ability to look at a project and policies with a climate and equity lens. I am proud to have worked with the task force because this plan inspires community action and allows partners, local and regional, to take meaningful and equitable action.

Equity/Social Justice: Guiding principal No. 3 of the Comprehensive Plan commits to fostering diversity. The City Council has begun a path to making this so by creating REAC, making them a permanent committee and becoming a member of the Governmental Alliance for Race Equity. There is more to do. The city has not fully tapped into the experience and wisdom of the committee’s ability to advise on race equity policy issues and as a member of the council I will continue to advocate for meaningful collaboration between REAC and City Council.

Why vote for you over your opponent?

I would encourage you to vote for me if you believe in sustainability, equity and voter-informed fiscally responsible decision-making. It is of utmost importance that all City Council members listen to the citizenry and work collaboratively to represent all the people of Bainbridge Island and when elected I plan to do so for the remainder of my term.

Chris Smith

Education, work and political experience that qualifies you for the job?

BS in Political Science, University of Arkansas; MBA, University of Utah. I bring a breadth of leadership experience gained through my six years as a captain in the U.S. Army, and my 30 years leading teams at IBM. In the military, I learned how to create an environment where the experts could foster. At IBM, I learned the value of teamwork and how to coalesce competing interests to deliver solutions. These skills are fundamental to successful governance.

Top 3-5 issues

I am committed to climate mediation, high-speed communications, safe multimodal transportation and affordable housing. These successes will reduce carbon emissions and preserve the vibrant community we love for the next generation.

Green building uses less carbon-intensive materials. This is not new. My first home on Bainbridge, 28 years ago, was a solar home with a carbon-neutral wood foundation. We need energy-efficient buildings designed to blend with the surroundings. We should accelerate implementation of the recommendations in the Groundwater Management Plan.

High-speed communication is now more critical, as remote work becomes commonplace. Bainbridge Island’s average communication speeds are half the average speeds experienced across the Puget Sound, and one-third that of Seattle. A blended fiber-optic and 5G infrastructure can deliver high-speed service across the user population. Fiber-optic communications can increase digital learning opportunities in our classrooms, support the medical communities, and allow our businesses to thrive. Cost-effective, easily deployable 5G communications is the high-speed solution for homes. It allows real-time information exchange for first responders. It can support infrastructure management such as traffic lights, to smooth traffic flow.

Bainbridge Island needs a safe, dependable, multimodal transportation system. The system must provide mobility and safety for nonmotorized users, pedestrians and access to transit. It must respect the character of neighborhoods.

Building affordable housing is essential to equitable housing that serves all segments of the population, and it can be done thoughtfully. To do so, we need balanced land use, and a review of the permitting process to reduce build time and costs.

The people of Bainbridge Island understand that it will take an active approach to maintain and enhance the island. We need to balance personal interests with concern for the community and the environment. We need to manage our lands and waters thoughtfully with innovative planning policies.

Why vote for you over your opponent?

The goals outlined above are deliverable today. My core beliefs center around respect for the individual, doing the right things, and doing things right. I believe I am the right candidate for the position at this crucial time because of my leadership experience at delivering results, and my vision for the future. Together, we can keep Bainbridge as an attractive place to live, work, and thrive for young families and seniors, alike. With your support, and a transparent, accountable city government, we can get this done and deliver a brighter future for all Bainbridge Islanders.

Previously reported

July 15, Position 5, Rasham Nassar vs. Clarence Moriwaki: 2 take on mayor for council spot | Bainbridge Island Review (

July 15, Position 7 Joe Deets vs. Ron Peltier: 3 challenge incumbent Deets for BI council seat | Bainbridge Island Review (

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