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Shutz takes community involvement to the next level and runs for council Pos. 2
One of the first times Byron Shutz got involved in his community was about 10 years ago with the PTSA at John James Audubon Elementary School in Redmond.
After his first year with the association, he became president. Since then, he has become more involved, working with fellow Lake Washington School District (LWSD) parent Barbara Billinghurst to increase awareness of the education funding issues public schools face.
Now Shutz is taking his involvement to the city level as he is running — unopposed — for Redmond City Council Pos. 2, which will be empty next year. Current Council President Pat Vache will be vacating the position once his term ends in December.
Since Shutz — who has lived just southwest of Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond since 1994 — announced in March that he will be running for public office, he has been speaking with people in the community to find out what concerns they have. He has also been working to get up to speed on all the different moving parts within the city and how they come together.
"It's been a tremendous amount to learn," Shutz said.
In speaking with people, he said there were a number of common concerns. Shutz said topics that were brought up multiple times included transportation and the city's economic and demographic growth.
This is the first time the 53-year-old is running for public office. In previous years, Shutz has participated in various community-engagement opportunities with the city such as the Budgeting by Priorities (BP) process. He said his involvement in BP opened his eyes on how the city's funding mechanisms work and he appreciates the transparency of the process.
Shutz is running for Redmond City Council because he likes the direction the city is going and would like to see that continue.
"Redmond is on the way to lots of places now," he said, adding that the city is doing a good job of accommodating the growth it is seeing and will see.
Shutz also said Redmond recognizes that it is a key figure in regional development, infrastructure and more, not an isolated rural area. And the city is responding with projects to reflect this.
His goals in joining City Council include learning and understanding what businesses and residents wish Redmond to be. Shutz would also like to learn how to achieve a balance of people's wants and needs and work with city staff to make it happen.
"I'm looking forward to serving with a great council and mayor," he said.
Before coming to Redmond, Shutz grew up in Kansas City, Mo. He moved to Washington in 1978 to attend the University of Puget Sound and study comparative sociology. Next up, he attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and studied anthropology.
Shutz moved back to Kansas City for a few years, returning to the Pacific Northwest — specifically, Bellevue — in 1987. He worked at the real estate group Lowe Enterprises, running the company's portfolios for the Northwest. In 1990, started a company in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood that specialized in designing and manufacturing mountaineering and backpacking tents. He sold the company in 1995 and left a year later. He and his wife moved to the Redmond home where they still live in 1994 after they got married.
Shutz — who is now semi-retired as a manufacturing small business founder and a nearly full-time volunteer public school funding advocate and consultant — has two children. His 17-year-old son is a junior at STEM High School and his 14-year-old daughter is a freshman at Redmond High School.