For the second time in 20 years, the city of Maple Valley gave out keys to the city. The recipients of the keys are three legislators that have worked closely with the city for years, despite their different political views.
State Senator Mark Mullet, Rep. Jay Rodne and Rep. Paul Graves have helped the city get state funding for multiple projects in Maple Valley. They attended the April 23 council meeting where they were given the keys.
Sean Kelly, the mayor of Maple Valley, said the new Tahoma High School would not be here without their support.
“Mark Mullet was instrumental in getting the donut hole state law changed so the city of Maple Valley could annex the donut hole where the new high school is, and so was Jay Rodne,” Kelly said. “King County was fighting them like crazy. Dow Constantine was down in Olympia a couple times trying to get them to not do this because King County did not want that property (to be a school), they wanted it zoned for houses, (but) our infrastructure would not be able to handle that.”
Mullet said the Donut Hole, a former 156 acre rural unincorporated island, was his first big bill about six years ago.
When the legislatures received the keys to the city, they all had one thing in common, they were completely surprised.
“I did not (expect it), they kept it a secret. I was very surprised by it,” said Mullet.
Graves, a former Maple Valley resident, said it was a “humbling and thrilling surprise.”
“It was just such an honor to receive the key to the city of Maple Valley and I’ve had so many close friendships with folks from the city of Maple Valley and it’s been an honor to represent city for the last 14 years, to represent Maple Valley as part of the 5th district down in Olympia for the last 14 years,” Rodne said.
Kelly said the council decided to give these three legislatures keys to the city is because Rodne is retiring and also because of all the hard work they have done for the city, even though two of them are republican and the other one is democrat.
Rodne took the key with a great appreciation for all the connections he has made in the city.
“It really solidifies for me the importance of the relationships that I’ve formed with folks in Maple Valley or the years. It’s a testament to the strong bonds I have with the city and just give me a warm feeling know that this city appreciates and values the work that we all try to do for city,” Rodne said.
According to Kelly, every time the city calls and asks the legislatures to come out to an event, they always come. He said they are great partners for Maple Valley to have.
All three legislatures said they are very grateful for the support of the city and its citizens, and hope that the citizens know they have a voice in Olympia.
“Hopefully the community feels like Olympia is listening to them,”Mullet said.
“Between the Mayor, the city council and the board, it’s just a wonderful city. Between that and representing the place where I grew up, it’s really just a tremendous honor,” Graves went onto say.
Rodne, who has been working with Maple Valley the longest, said he is honored to represent Maple Valley.
“I just want to let everyone know I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Maple Valley, it’s been such an honor to be able to be your voice in Olympia and I look forward to staying engaged and seeing everyone out and about in the years to follow,” Rodne said.