A connected Redmond — that’s what Mayor Angela Birney wants to see.
Birney was officially sworn in on Dec. 17 and will serve as mayor until her term expires on Dec. 31, 2023. Birney replaces former Mayor John Marchione, who served three terms.
Birney was born in Seattle and spent the first few years of her life in Auburn. Her family later moved to Richland, where she grew up. Birney received her bachelor’s degree in biology education from Eastern Washington University and her master’s degree in education from Heritage University.
It wasn’t until 1998 that Birney moved back to western Washington with her husband. They moved to Redmond and set down roots. Birney and her husband Keith have been married for 21 years and have three children.
Moving back to western Washington from the other side of the state, Birney said it always felt more like home.
“Moving to Redmond felt like I was finally [back] in this place where there are green trees, ferns and the smell of rain,” Birney said. “I didn’t know the city then but I felt fortunate that we chose Redmond to be our place.”
Birney’s first memories of Redmond include finding activities for her children. She recalls taking her daughters to Anderson Park for ballet class, walking the trails and getting them involved in the parks and recreation classes.
“I felt like we were very fortunate to live in such a great city — a growing city,” she said. “You have these beautiful parks and there was such a variety of them…I wanted to get out and take advantage of where we lived.”
With a laugh, Birney noted that it’s funny to think about the variety of raincoats they’ve had living in Redmond. Being outside and staying active has always been a part of her family’s life.
During her early years in Redmond, Birney used her background as a middle school science teacher to volunteer at her daughters’ schools and later turned to volunteer with the Lake Washington Schools Foundation and Redmond’s Parks and Trails Commission.
In 2015, Birney ran for city council and brought a voice she believed was missing in the council. Birney offered a voice of what she described as a combination of a mom, an educator and a community volunteer.
Birney said she is proud of the community strategic plan developed during her time on council. The public document allows residents and staff to see the council’s priorities.
“I want our community to be informed as possible,” she said. “I see that as being just a start to where we can go with that.”
Deciding to run for mayor was something Birney had to think about. After much discussion with friends and family, Birney said she had clarity one day and knew she had to run for mayor. She thought about the things that she could bring to the job that no one else could bring.
“I felt that my experience working in the community, volunteering in the community, my education as a teacher, my work in leadership development — all these things — I felt it was the right place and time for me to take on the role of mayor.”
For Birney, taking on the role is an important job. She said she does not take her new title lightly and holds herself to a high standard.
Commenting on Birney’s new role, Marchione said he hopes that every new mayor in Redmond is better than the last one.
“For Angela, it’s not a matter of filling the shoes before her — it is about being herself,” he said. “Mayors stand on the shoulders of their predecessors and it is their responsibility to raise the city one by one. I congratulate Angela on her successful election and I am glad that is the one standing on my shoulders.”
Officially in her role, Birney is excited to start the communication plan, getting out to communities to meet with residents and reaching out to the different departments in the city.
“There’s a lot of work to do,” she said. “There are a lot of great things happening. I have high expectations of myself and I have high expectations for others.”
Birney is excited to continue working on bringing residents together, addressing local and regional issues and making Redmond a special place to live. She is focused on affordable housing in Redmond, reducing the effects of climate change and creating a more equitable and inclusive Redmond.
“I hope [residents] come along with me on the next step of our journey and be a part of this amazing city,” she said.
New members of the council also include Jessica Forsyth (Pos. 3) and Vanessa Kritzer (Pos. 5). Incumbent David Carson (Pos. 7) will be returning for another term.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when Angela Birney moved to Redmond.