The Enumclaw City Council is now back up to full strength, as new council members Tom Sauvageau and Corrie Koopman Frazier were sworn into their positions March 22.
The two are replacing former Council members Kyle Jacobson and Tony Binion, who resigned earlier this year when they moved outside city limits. A total of 16 people were interviewed for those open seats on Feb. 22, but Sauvageau and Frazier walked away with the appointments due in part to their strong experience in finance.
But as Frazier said during her interview, she’s much more than just an accountant; similarly, there’s more to Sauvageau than the three businesses he currently owns.
Frazier wasn’t born in Enumclaw, but moved here at a young age and grew up on a local dairy farm by Mount Peak. During her senior year at Enumclaw High, she went with her church on a service trip to Honduras, which inspired Frazier to continue her education — both formal and cultural — in Spain after she graduated.
Three years later, she moved north to Bellevue, where she met her husband. Roughly a decade later, she decided to return to Enumclaw.
“It’s a good place to raise a family,” Frazier said. “I love Enumclaw, and I didn’t want to be in the city anymore.”
After moving here, she became a bilingual tax accountant with Action Tax LLC, specializing in individual and corporate tax prep and small business accounting — experience the Enumclaw City Council was obviously excited to capitalize on as it continues to wrestle with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, it was the city council’s involvement in helping local businesses — especially downtown business — stay open throughout the pandemic that inspired her to apply for an open seat.
She was also inspired by her father, John Koopman, who also applied for a council seat.
“We encouraged each other and gave each other courage,” Frazier said. “It gave us that little extra step to say just do it.”
Though she now finds herself in an inherently political position, Frazier is adamant that she’s not approaching her newfound power with any sort of agenda.
“I think Enumclaw is great, and I want to keep it great,” she said. “But I’m more of a ‘sit back and learn and listen’ [person] — I can’t go in there and say what I want to do when I don’t even know what the procedures are. I don’t even know what I can do, what I can’t do, what is going on, so I’m going in there with an open mind to learn.”
That said, advocates of mental health awareness and proponents of drug and alcohol programs are likely to find an ally in Frazier; she also serves on the board of the Auburn-based nonprofit Heavenly Wellness Center, which is currently in the midst of a campaign to raise $5 million in five years to open sober living homes and drug treatment centers in South King County.
“I believe [this] is essential to combat the drug and homelessness problem, which is also a pandemic in its own right,” Frazier said during her Feb. 22 interview.
Sauvageau was raised in Wenatchee, but moved to South King County to take care of his three kids — first to Maple Valley, and then to Enumclaw to get away from the “suburban Seattle” feeling about five years ago.
From an early age, Sauvageau knew he was destined to be in business; at 15, he biked a popular trail in his hometown with a cooler of soda to sell to passers-by.
“It was totally not legit, but I was doing it anyway,” Sauvageau recalled.
When he moved to Enumclaw, Sauvageau said he just kept his head down while he grew his accounting firm, Sauvageau CFO, LLC. However, he started to make a name for himself at Sunrise Elementary when he volunteered on the PTA and started the “Watchdogs Program,” where fathers go to the school to be a dad for all the students.
Sauvageau is also the treasurer for the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce, and recently, he became a co-owner of Bordeaux Wine Bar, which celebrated its move from the west end of downtown to Railroad Avenue earlier this month.
In addition to all of that, Sauvageau started a new business, www.ertcfiling.com, which is a “first-to-market” website that helps local businesses like the Expo Center and Anytime Fitness apply for the federal Employee Retention Tax Credit program.
“I really like that I can help the small community around the area here, but I recognize there’s a national need to help, and that’s why I created this website,” he said. “It’s exploding.”
Like Frazier, Sauvageau said he’s not joining the council with any particular plans in mind; instead, he says his strength lies in listening to his clients — or in this case, to his constituents.
“If I was a better council member, I’d probably have the great, grandiose ideas, but I don’t,” he said. “All I know is I can come there with an open head, open heart, and try to tackle what [the problem] is.”
RUNNING IN THE FALL
Both Frazier and Sauvageau plan to file for election in May, but they’re surely not the only ones — so if you’re looking to run for a council seat, you can get prepared by attending one of King County Elections’ candidate workshops over the Zoom virtual platform next month.
The workshops are currently scheduled for April 1 from 6 to 8 p.m., and April 17 and 29 from 10 a.m. to noon; they will cover a range of topics including the elections calendar, online candidate filing, filing fee petitions, ballot order, local voters’ pamphlet filing, and more.
To register, head to bit.ly/kingworkshops; the filing period opens May 17, and closes May 21.
Finally, for those that don’t think they can handle the time commitment necessary of an elected official, the Enumclaw City Council encourages you to get involved in other ways as well.
Of the city’s various committees and commissions, there are two positions in the city’s Planning Commission that will be open at the end of the year. These positions are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. For more information about applying for these positions, contact Community Development Director Chris Pasinetti at 360-615-5726 or email@example.com.
According to the city’s website, “The Planning Commission is a 7 member body that acts to analyze, research and make recommendations to the City Council regarding the appropriate use and development of land throughout the municipality.”