By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published June 20, 2012
Burke nonspecifically passionate about Everett
EVERETT - The city’s newest City Council member knows her stint on the council will be short, but said she has no intentions of being a “wallflower.”
Gigi Burke, a former co-owner of Crown Distributing and current Everett Community College and Comcast Arena board member, was appointed to fill the late Councilman Drew Nielsen’s seat until the general election is certified in late November.
Five of the six council members selected Burke in a sealed envelope process, and all unanimously voted to appoint Burke to the position at the City Council’s May 30 meeting.
Burke, 48, was born and raised in Everett. She’s a descendant of the Bargreen family that founded the Bargreen Coffee Co. in 1898 and the alcohol distributing company Crown Distributing in the 1930s. Her grandfather Howard Bargreen was a state senator who also was instrumental in planning the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle.
Burke said she’s passionate about serving Everett, but declined to say what issues drive her enthusiasm.
“Five months isn’t a long period of time. Focusing on one area isn’t a good idea,” Burke said, wanting to avoid “tunnel vision.”
Burke always thought about getting on the City Council, but she never had enough free time to take it on until now.
She pulled out of the election to fill Nielsen’s seat days after filing. She said last week she pulled out because she knew she’d be a strong candidate for the interim appointment and wouldn’t have time to run a campaign and be a longer-term council member.
Burke said she was confident she’d be considered with her background in business. Ten people applied for the appointment.
It’s too early for Burke to say if she’ll run for election in the future. She plans to stay on the boards of EvCC and Comcast Arena.
Her cell phone’s been ringing constantly. She’s spent the past week getting primed for her time on council. Since the appointment decision, Council President Ron Gipson has stayed closely by Burke’s side showing her the ropes.
Her focus right now is getting up to speed as an interim council member.
“For right now, this is a significant commitment and I’m focused on the interim position,” Burke said. “It’s a great opportunity to experience the role of city council woman.”
A judge swore Burke into office June 1 in a private ceremony. Burke participated in her first council meeting last week where she was publicly sworn in.
Burke lives in the View Ridge neighborhood with her husband and teenaged son and daughter.
The city charter requires the City Council to fill the vacancy both in the interim and for the remainder of Nielsen’s term through 2015. Five candidates have filed to run for the seat’s remaining term. A primary in August will narrow the field to two.
Nielsen, 61, died May 12 in a whitewater rafting accident.