Skip to Main Content

Council Candidates Forum set for Sept. 24 BDA Breakfast, prep with new online tool

August 22, 2019 - by Matt Jack, BDA Policy Manager

Category What's Happening

Bellevue Council Candidate Forum & New Learning Tool

Edited September 9, 2019 to update tool data to represent PDC reporting.

The August primary narrowed the four Bellevue City Council races to eight candidates. Three races include incumbents vying to keep their positions and one open seat to be vacated by sitting Mayor John Chelminiak.  

To date, over $360,000 has been raised among all eight candidates running this cycle. With a little more than two months before the November 5 election, expect candidates to ramp up their efforts to connect with constituents and stakeholders. To hear from all the candidates on one stage, the public is invited to the September BDA Breakfast where candidates will participate in a moderated forum. Attendees will learn about their priorities and visions for Bellevue. Secure a seat soon; the BDA Breakfasts often sell out and capacity is limited. 

Bellevue City Council Forum
September 24, 2019
7:30 – 9:00 am
Bellevue Club


The BDA recently created a new tool to easily compare Bellevue City Council candidates. Using public information from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission and King County Elections, the BDA repackaged the content into a single experience. Simply click a category to expand information side-by-side for each candidate. This information is only a snapshot. Plan to attend the September Council Candidates Forum for a deeper dive.

Bellevue Council Candidate Tool

Position No. 1


John Stokes*
Campaign Website

J.D., George Washington University Law School; B.A, Political Science, Texas Tech University

Bellevue City Councilmember; Former Bellevue Mayor; Retired Attorney

After two terms representing you, I’m proud of my proven track record standing up for all of Bellevue—seniors, children, working families, and neighbors across our city.

As co-founder of Eastside Pathways, a Bellevue Schools Foundation Trustee, and a PTA leader, I’ve fought for investments in our students and closing the opportunity gap. Serving on the Eastside Transportation Partnership Committee, I’ve expanded transit options to increase mobility and reduce traffic. As a member and chair of multiple conservation committees, I’ve fought for clean water, salmon and essential environmental protections. I’ve also led the passage of the Downtown Livability Initiative to better prepare us for growth, density, and preservation of our neighborhoods and communities.

I have earned the support of leaders across the Eastside because I bring a thoughtful, positive, and effective approach to governing. I’m proudly supported by Congressman Smith, Lt. Governor Habib, County Executive Constantine, Councilmember Balducci, every legislator representing Bellevue, Mayor Chelminiack, Deputy Mayor Robinson, Councilmember Zahn, Bellevue Firefighters, Democrats, and Realtors.

As we continue to grow, it’s clear we have new challenges ahead of us and more work to do. I would greatly appreciate your support for another four years of pragmatic, progressive leadership and productive, meaningful solutions.

Total: $26,005
Q3 2019: $9,550
Q2 2019: $14,705
Q1 2019: $1,750

Contribution Sizes
71 less than $250
14 between $250 - $1,000
10 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9


Holly Zhang
Campaign Website

Attended Edmonds Community College and University of Washington

Founder and CEO of Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery in Bellevue

Holly Zhang, 45 years old, youthful and energetic, is a successful Bellevue businesswoman. She has a proven track record of community involvement by investing her time, energy and leadership into building a successful business that has provided job opportunities and contributed to Bellevue’s economy. Additionally, Holly has led numerous charity events for many years which have benefited hospitals statewide.

Looking to the future and to broadening her impact, Holly brings fresh ideas to further strengthen Bellevue. Holly will be a powerful advocate for strong families and progressive initiatives in education. She seeks safe neighborhoods and crime prevention, improving transit options to reduce traffic congestion, fiscal responsibility, and practical solutions on housing.

Holly overcame poverty and adversity as a young girl in rural China. She and her husband have a daughter who turns 2 in September. "Teaching good values to my daughter, and providing a good future for all the children of Bellevue, are priorities for me,” Holly says. As a beneficiary of the American dream, she knows that is important to ensure all Bellevue residents have the support necessary to lead productive lives in a safe environment.

Total: $8,100
Q3 2019: $1,950
Q2 2019: $6,150

Contribution Sizes
39 less than $250
4 between $250 - $1,000
1 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9

Position No. 3


Jeremy Barksdale
Campaign Website

Ph.D. Computer Science and MPA, Virginia Tech; B.A. NC A&T State University

Chair, Bellevue Planning Commission; User Experience Researcher, Unity

I’ve been in love with Bellevue since I moved here. With light rail’s arrival, our city is going to experience greater growth and change. Bellevue needs leaders who have the vision to guide our city through this exciting period. I want to be a part of the next generation leading us into the future.

I believe my background on the Planning Commission, non-profit boards, and my expertise helping companies understand customers would be a strong asset on the Bellevue City Council.

I have no doubt that Bellevue will continue to be a leader in the region, in the state, and in the world. We have some of the most talented people at the most innovative companies and neighbors who care deeply and passionately about this community.

I’ll listen, ask tough questions, get the best data, and then lead. My priorities are keeping Bellevue affordable, engaging neighborhoods, and modernizing city government. Let’s make the new change coming work for us and strengthen the character and qualities of this great city. Endorsed: Bellevue Firefighters, 41st/48th Democrats, Claudia Balducci, Lynne Robinson, Patty Kuderer, Lisa Welman, Tana Senn, My-Linh Thai, Vandana Slatter, John Stokes, and more.. I’d be honored to earn your vote.

Total: $63,744
Q3 2019: $10,628
Q2 2019: $31,717
Q1 2019: $21,400

Contribution Sizes
289 less than $250
38 between $250 - $1,000
17 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9


Stephanie Walter
Campaign Website

B.A. (Finance and Economics), University of Puget Sound; Accounting Emphasis, Seattle University; Bellevue Essentials Graduate

Finance Professional, Overlake Hospital; East Bellevue Community Councilmember

We have a strong economy, but Bellevue’s greatest strength is in our people and neighborhoods. Neighborhoods make this a great city in which to live, work and educate our children. It’s a place of pride for residents from young adults to retirees.

As your next Councilmember, I will make neighborhood safety my number one priority, starting by supporting our first responders – fire, police and EMTs. Keeping our neighborhoods great begins with protecting our parks and trails, to which I am firmly committed. On Bellevue transportation, I support all modes of mobility – walking, buses, biking, light rail, and driving. I will oppose policies at local and state levels that contribute to traffic congestion.

I have a proven track record of making a difference in local issues. As a neighborhood leader, I fought for single-family neighborhoods against unsafe transient room rentals. As Planning Commission Chair, I supported the long view for Bellevue’s needs and planning. As Vice Chair of the East Bellevue Community Council, I tackled the homeless issue head on while protecting our neighborhoods. Many community leaders have endorsed me, including Councilmembers Conrad Lee, Jennifer Robertson, and Jared Nieuwenhuis—but your support matters most.

Please vote Stephanie Walter for Bellevue.

Total: $59,575
Q3 2019: $18,882
Q2 2019: $22,803
Q1 2019: $17,891

Contribution Sizes
269 less than $250
24 between $250 - $1,000
24 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9

Position No. 5


Campaign Website


MS. EE SUNY Buffalo; Bellevue Essentials 2016; Finance Retirement&Pensions Certificate Stanford; Technology Management Certificate UW

Principal Engineer System Architect T-Mobile, Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network Member

Bellevue is a wonderful city with great potential, ambition for excellence, vision and goals. We should take every step to improve quality of life of our residents and promote economic development. We need countable and trustable leaders to get the right things done in the right way, and I am such a leader!

I came to United States from China as a student to study and pursue the American Dream. I live in Bellevue with my wife, 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, both born in Overlake Hospital. As a system architect, I take responsibility for technical decisions and risks, and take the lead on solution delivery. I believe technology can make Bellevue a smart city. I have good knowledge in finance, which allows me to evaluate financial efficiency of government spending.

Social responsibility is an important part of my life. I am an appointed member of the Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network to help the city build inclusive communities. I took a 3-year term as a board member of Somerset Community Association and was a member of the Covenant Review Committee to support community and home improvement planning.

I listen carefully, I am for you! I humbly ask for your vote.

Total: $65,149
Q3 2019: $27,972
Q2 2019: $37,177

Contribution Sizes
261 less than $250
34 between $250 - $1,000
19 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9


Janice Zahn*
Campaign Website

B.S. and M.S. Civil Engineering and Masters of Public Administration, University of Washington; Leadership Eastside

Bellevue City Councilmember; Public Works Construction Manager, Port of Seattle

I’m running for re-election because fiscally responsible, people-first, and workable solutions matter. As a 25-year resident, first-generation immigrant and mom, I will continue to guide our city with Integrity, Inclusion and Innovation, and be your Bellevue voice. As your councilmember, we’ve connected at community and business events, and neighborhood gatherings. I’ve heard your concerns, explored new ideas and developed partnerships.

I’ve championed for strategic investments in public safety (Police and Fire), infrastructure and neighborhoods (enhancement projects). I’ve built relationships and collaborated regionally to tackle pressing issues, adopted key policies to manage growth, ease traffic congestion, address housing affordability and preserve our unique neighborhoods. All while protecting our precious environment, engaging our amazingly diverse communities and implementing smart technologies that make Bellevue the incredible city we love.

I humbly ask for your vote, so that together, we can keep Bellevue a welcoming place where all can thrive.

Endorsed: Congressman Smith; Attorney General Ferguson; former Governor Locke; Senators Kuderer and Wellman; Representatives Senn, Slatter, Thai, and Walen; County Executive Constantine; County Councilmember Balducci; Bellevue Mayor Chelminiak; Deputy Mayor Robinson; Kirkland, Issaquah and Mercer Island Mayors; Firefighters; Democrats; National Women’s Political Caucus; Affordable Housing Council; Realtors; Sierra Club, Transportation for Washington, and more!

Total: $54,937
Q3 2019: $14,840
Q2 2019: $33,449
Q1 2019: $6,548
Q1 2018: $100

Contribution Sizes
214 less than $250
49 between $250 - $1,00
12 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9

Position No. 7


James Bible
Campaign Website

Juris Doctorate, Seattle University School of Law; BA Western Washington University; Sammamish Highschool (1990)

Attorney and small business owner

I am dedicated to helping Bellevue to be the best city it can possibly be. In 1985, when my mother was looking for the best place to raise her child, she found Bellevue. I now have a six year old child of my own. He attends a Bellevue Public School and I recognize that his future and the future of his classmates will be linked to the direction that we choose for our great city.

Bellevue has grown in size and diversity. I believe that our diversity is our strength. Together, we can bring innovative ideas that help us overcome whatever challenges we face. We can successfully address our traffic woes, push for affordable housing, develop living wages for service workers and protect our green spaces. In doing so, our future will look bright.

I firmly believe that elected officials should work hard to make sure that the government is both transparent and accountable to the people. I have previously worked with organizations that are dedicated to protecting civil and human rights for all by working with local governments to achieve positive outcomes.

Endorsed By: King County Young Democrats, 41st and 48th LD Democrats, and County Council Member Claudia Balducci.

Total: $18,815
Q3 2019: $8,677
Q2 2019: $10,138

Contribution Sizes
148 less than $250
13 between $250 - $1,000
1 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9


Jennifer Robertson*
Campaign Website

J.D., cum laude, Willamette University College of Law; B.A. (Economics), University of Puget Sound

Three-Term Bellevue City Councilmember and Municipal & Land Use Attorney

As a mother, a Girl Scout Leader, an attorney representing cities and your City Councilmember, my highest priorities are protecting our quality of life and creating a bright future for everyone who calls Bellevue “home.” I’ve used my experience to deliver on these priorities by protecting neighborhoods from unmitigated growth and funding neighborhood improvement projects focused on transportation and safety.

I’m proud that our Council has lead Bellevue through unprecedented economic growth. Our city finances have never been healthier, giving us the opportunity to make Bellevue even better, including: spending more money for public safety, smarter transportation investments, caring for our most vulnerable, increasing our commitment to affordable housing, expanding our parks system, developing a new regional aquatics center, and implementing environmentally-sensitive practices for a healthy, sustainable future. These achievements demonstrate my willingness to work hard, find common ground with fellow leaders, and move us successfully through complex issues.

I’m honored by the trust the community has placed in me to be your Councilmember these past 10 years. I humbly ask for your vote to continue as Your Voice on the Bellevue City Council.

Endorsements: Bellevue Firefighters; Affordable Housing Council; Transportation for Washington; Eastside Mayors; local elected leaders; and more.

Total: $77,085
Q3 2019: $14,555
Q2 2019: $21,747
Q1 2019: $34,683
Q4 2018: $5,100
Q2 2017: $1,000

Contribution Sizes
206 less than $250
37 between $250 - $1,000
33 more than $1,000

updated Sept 9

* indicates incumbent