Baker, Klein honored for service on City Council

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert, center, bid a fond farewell to outgoing City Council members Ken Klein, left, and Steve Baker at the final Council meeting for the year, on Dec. 16. - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert, center, bid a fond farewell to outgoing City Council members Ken Klein, left, and Steve Baker at the final Council meeting for the year, on Dec. 16.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The Arlington City Council's final meeting for the year, on Dec. 16, included a final farewell to two of its Council members, who were honored by city officials.

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert prefaced her remarks by praising city of Arlington staff members for the information with which they had provided Council members throughout the year, which Tolbert credited with helping the Council work through the issues facing the city with forward-thinking solutions, before she turned her attentions to Klein.

"Ken, we're so sorry to see you go, but we look forward to working with you again on the Snohomish County Council," Tolbert said to Klein, whose wife Julianna and three small children — sons Jackson and Grant, and daughter Alyssa — sat in the audience. "It's been a pleasure to serve with you. You brought to this Council a depth of knowledge and a real heart for the city of Arlington, which never failed to shine through. I hope your lovely family will continue to visit us."

When Tolbert addressed Baker, she asked him to stand and presented him with a plaque in recognition of his years of service on the Council.

"You've had a rare heart for public service, and for 12 years, you've acted on behalf of the betterment of this community, helping it stay on the right direction and giving generously of your time and expertise," Tolbert told Baker. "The last two years have been especially notable, as you've welcomed debates and everyone has come out better for it."

While Klein will be taking up fellow Republican John Koster's former seat on the Snohomish County Council, Baker joked that he's already been asked by the Arlington Arts Council to serve as a lobbyist for their works, drawing laughter from the crowd.

As the two outgoing Council members reflected on their respective tenures, they echoed each other on a number of points.

"I've enjoyed serving the citizens of this city," Baker said. "I'm also proud of the changes we've made, because I think they've left this city in a lot better shape."

"Absolutely," Klein agreed, as two of his children joined him at his now-former Council seat, while his youngest son Grant napped in the audience seats. "What we've done is focus on the long-term issues, rather than limiting our planning to every couple of years."

Baker and Klein likewise shared many of the same opinions in the advice they would offer to their successors — Jesica Stickles and Jan Schuette, respectively, both of whom were in attendance that evening.

"Study well," Baker said.

"Read up on everything," Klein agreed. "Be prepared with questions. No one has all the answers to any question, so I always saw it as my duty to bring up a differing point of view."

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