The advocacy organization the represents the largest cities in the state will be lead this year by the mayor of one of the smallest.
Dayton Mayor Craig George was recently elected president of the Association of Washington Cities, a voluntary organization representing 281 Washington member cities.
George has served on the association’s board for five years. He decided to run for office because he’s been impressed with the organization’s ability to build common ground among cities of all sizes around the state.
“My vote is just as important as a city that has 100,000 people,” he said. “That impressed me very much.”
George will now be responsible for representing the association in meetings with the governor, testifying before the Legislator and running board meetings.
Currently the association is working on helping member cities identify sustainable sources of revenue, and continuing to encourage legislators not to pass unfunded mandates, he said.
During his time with the association, George said he’s been able to learn from the problems facing other cities and help bring solutions back to Dayton.
“Every city thinks they have all these different problems,” he said. “Well, every city, small or big, has a lot of the same problems.”
Traditionally, the association presidency alternates between cities from the west and east sides of the state. Chief Executive Officer Mike McCarty said that presidents often come from cities larger than Dayton.
“Mayor George in Dayton is probably one of the smaller city mayors we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “Because he’s been with the organization for as long as he has, he has a very clear understanding of the needs of the cities in the organization.”
George first ran for association secretary three years ago. In general, a board member will serve as secretary for a year and vice president for a year before becoming president.
“As the CEO, I’m looking forward to serving under Craig,” McCarty said. “I think he brings a unique perspective to the role of president.”
George said he’s excited to begin his new job. “I’m looking forward to serving all the cities in the state, and looking forward to a year where we can progress forward a little more.”