Chris Himes: A Lifetime of Service, Citizenship

Redmond’s first full-time female Mayor (1980-1984), and past President of the Redmond Historical Society (2008-2014), Chris Himes recalls highlights of her service.

Chris Himes

Photo: Mary Hanson

RHS: When did you move to Redmond?

CH: We moved here from Bellevue in 1964. We lived on NE 116th on Education Hill. There were deer, bear, and trumpeter swans in our backyard. We moved here to have property! Our five children had the entire Puget Power Line as a playground. We had views of the entire Cascades mountain range.

RHS: Your husband traveled a lot; what was his job?

CH: My husband Jack worked in sales for the Hanes hosiery company. Remember L’eggs? He was in charge of supplying department stores in five states—WA, ID, OR, AK, and MT. [Laughs] He did a lot of traveling. I helped with inventory and accounting.

RHS: How did you manage raising five children?

CH: It was like organizing chaos. They played outside a lot. They learned about caring for the horses—grooming them, cleaning out their stalls, riding them. Horses are the best babysitters in the world!

RHS: Your mother worked in Washington, DC for a politician. What was her role? Did this influence you to become involved in politics?

CH: My mother worked for the U.S. Senate as Secretary of the Governmental Operations Committee, under then-Senator George Aiken. At one point she worked with Senator James Fullbright, who promoted legislation for educational grants for students (Fullbright Scholarship). I grew up thinking it was normal that everybody worked for the government! It was quite a culture shock moving to Washington State.

RHS: How were you involved in the Redmond community before running for mayor?

CH: I was a volunteer at Horace Mann Elementary, tutoring, writing the newsletter, field trips, and then did much the same at Redmond Junior High. We held consensus meetings, and I enjoyed hearing what other people had to say. I did tutoring and field trips. I was honored with the Golden Acorn service award. I was Vice President of the PTSA, and served on the Board of Faith Lutheran Church.

I worked with the first parks director of Redmond, John Couch, to organize a bond issue. We wrote an open letter to the Sammamish Valley News, asking citizens who wanted parks and trails to respond. The next thing I know, I’m writing up a brochure.

We didn’t get far with [Mayor] Bud Young, but the [city] council approved the bond issue. In 1977, the people voted for the park bond. A friend said I should run for city council to make sure the money would be spent on the parks. And so I did just that.

RHS: You were the fir