Welcome New Councilmembers

Hugo Garcia, Sarah Moore, and Stephanie Mora were elected in 2021 to the Burien City Council. Jimmy Matta was re-elected for another four-year term. Their first council meeting was January 10, 2022.

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Hugo Garcia, Sarah Moore, and Stephanie Mora were elected in 2021 to the Burien City Council. Jimmy Matta was re-elected for another four-year term. Their first council meeting was January 10, 2022.

Each brings their own unique perspective to the position. If you didn’t get to meet them on the campaign trail, here’s your opportunity to get to know your newest councilmembers a little better.

Councilmember Hugo Garcia

“The vision of Burien that my parents had when we settled here as immigrants from Guadalajara Mexico in 1991—a community that is welcoming, diverse, and inclusive—is what I still see when I look around our town. It’s a community that opens its arms to all residents in so many different languages. It is a place that supports and loves its small local businesses. It is a place that has shown you can have the values of a small town, without sacrificing on policies that protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Councilmember Hugo Garcia

Hugo Garcia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved with his family to the Pacific Northwest as an 8-year-old child in 1988. His father waited tables at a Mexican restaurant next to the Space Needle and Coliseum (Climate Pledge Arena today) and with that income alone, the family rented their first home in Burien in 1991 where his parents still live today. He attended Shorewood Elementary and is a proud graduate of the Highline School District. He worked in a small family-owned Mexican restaurant through high school and college and saw firsthand how critical small businesses are to communities. He and his brother and sister-in-law wanted to stay close to their parents and have made a duplex in North Burien their home for the last 15 years.

The fact that a family of five could be supported on his father’s income as a restaurant waiter and his mom’s part-time income as a high school cafeteria worker has shaped Garcia’s understanding of the importance of building community and family resilience. It also highlighted for him how difficult it is for working families to save enough money to buy a home to pass down to their children or send them to college. Hugo’s parents taught him the value of giving back since so many neighbors helped them feel welcome, so he has committed to being an active part of the Burien community in as many ways as he can. Hugo served on both Burien’s Planning and Business commission for the last 4 years and connects regularly with neighbors, Burien faith community and grassroots community groups.

He works for King County Local Services as an economic development program manager, drawing on his lived experience of having worked in community banking and small business financing both in private and nonprofit sector for the last 15 years. From missing middle housing and on the ground small business finance and technical assistance, he is here ready to serve Burien. He is also a huge Seattle sports fan as both Seahawks and Sounders Season ticket holder for over a decade and does Spanish language stadium public announcing for the Seattle Sounders and their minor league Defiance team.

Councilmember Sarah Moore

“I ran for office to serve the people of Burien, and I serve in the hopes that I can make a positive difference. I will prioritize intentional growth that respects Burien’s rich history while carefully planning for our future. I am focused on logical and community-led solutions, excited to share what I know, and motivated by a belief in public service and responsibility. Individual action is important, and participation in local governance makes a profound difference in community well-being and in people’s lives. I have never felt more welcome than I do here, and I want that for everyone.”

Councilmember Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore has been a resident of Boulevard Park in North Burien since 2002. She moved here to raise her family—mathematician and Eagle Scout, Noah, and wildlife biologist Madeline who returned home after earning her graduate degree.

Sarah’s background is in STEM science education and she spent most of her career managing the animal exhibits including the butterfly house at Pacific Science Center. She spent parts of 2020 and 2021 managing a temporary isolation and quarantine facility for folks exposed to COVID-19 and without secure housing to isolate.

In 2021, she was hired as the first executive director of the Highline Botanical Garden, located in neighboring SeaTac, and is delighted to use the skills she learned on Burien’s Parks and Recreation Commission in her work and her position as city councilmember.

Sarah grew up in Loveland, Colorado and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Councilmember Stephanie Mora

“Burien is a diverse and rapidly growing city. We have so many great, local businesses that form the backbone of our community and make it alive and vibrant. As a long-time employee at one of our local small retailers, I will focus on being an advocate in City Hall for small businesses. As a mother, I have a vested interest in a safer Burien, especially for children. Everyone deserves a city where they can thrive. I want others to be empowered and help themselves to have a better life in our beautiful, generous community.”

Councilmember Stephanie Mora

Stephanie Mora moved to Burien with her family in 2000. She attended Sunnydale Elementary School, Sylvester Middle School, and Evergreen High School and New Start High School simultaneously. Her mother immigrated to the United States and supported her family through a career in cosmetology.

After giving birth to her second child, Mora realized there was a gap in services for new mothers who were living in poverty. In 2012, she began her career as a breastfeeding peer counselor with Open Arms Perinatal Services and Neighborhood House. She is a long-time volunteer at Transform Burien and the Union Gospel Mission. 

Mora works from home while homeschooling four children, two of whom have special needs. 

She enjoys going on family hiking and camping trips as well as creating embroidery pieces for her family.  

Emily Inlow-Hood
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Editor’s Note: Spring 2022

For almost two years, we have had to keep our distance to protect ourselves and our loved ones from a deadly virus. Now that we’ve cautiously begun to emerge from the lonely isolation imposed by the pandemic, finding welcoming spaces to gather with community has never felt more urgent or necessary.
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