Councilman Cooper wants to keep job

He won right to finish Joe Hyer’s term, can now seek his own 4-year stint working for Olympia

mbatcheldor@theolympian.comFebruary 9, 2013 

Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper said Friday that he will seek re-election to his council seat, just two years after he was elected.

“It seems like I just got done running,” he said.

Cooper was elected in a special election in 2011 to fill the remaining two years of the term of Joe Hyer, who resigned from Position No. 7 in 2010. Steve Langer was initially appointed to Hyer’s position, but he was elected to a different seat, Position No. 2, in 2011.

Long story short, if Cooper is re-elected, he will have a full, four-year term. He has no opposition yet.

Cooper, 38, is the director of Together, a nonprofit organization focused on preventing youth substance abuse and violence. Among his priorities are improving the delivery of homeless services, instituting an air monitoring plan for the Olympic Peninsula through his position on the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, instituting downtown walking patrols, and increasing stakeholder input.

Cooper said he feels a calling to reform the delivery of homeless services so that it’s more of a system. “That, to me, is really my No. 1 priority,” he said.

Cooper joined the council’s finance committee this year and said he wants to find more conversational ways of getting public input into the city’s budget discussions.

Cooper met resistance with one of the priorities he sought the first time he ran. He suggested that Olympia and Tumwater share garbage collection services, witnessing how the two cities both collect trash on the streets along the border.

But he said polling showed that residents didn’t want to change their collection, and collection is different in the two cities because LeMay, a private provider, collects in Tumwater. He said talks continue behind the scenes.

Cooper is also interested in an increased police presence downtown, which the council put in the 2013 budget. “We made a fair amount of progress there,” he said.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 @MattBatcheldor

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