If you want to meet up with Fife Mayor Winston Marsh, just hold a barbeque in your back yard. The long-time Fife resident has a penchant for making friends thanks to his outgoing attitude, and is never one to turn down food.
“I’m the kind of guy where you walk down the street in the summertime and I smell food in your backyard and within an hour I’m in your backyard eating stuff and I don’t even know you. I’m very outgoing,” Marsh said.
Marsh moved to Fife in 2007 and immediately got involved in local politics, starting with the Radiance Housing Authority. He enjoyed the role so much that he was encouraged to run for city council by others already in government. He was elected in 2013.
“I thought I could help, do some good, and it sounded fun,” Marsh said.
Marsh believes his outgoing attitude is important in communicating with his fellow council members and the residents of Fife. One of his major priorities is to be approachable for everyone.
“I’ve heard people say this about me. I’m very gregarious, very approachable, very open minded and a good listener,” he said.
Marsh’s background is in accounting and he uses that experience in his city council routine – looking at numbers and information in a methodical way and doing what makes sense. He also works collaboratively, never being afraid to ask questions or understand a different point of view.
“I have no qualms with getting advice from others,” Marsh said. “I’m not averse to getting a different perspective on things.”
The city of Fife presents some interesting challenges that Marsh loves tackling, particularly in regard to the location and commercial nature of the city.
“One thing that’s unique about Fife is the percentage of the city that is commercial. We’ve got a lot of warehouses and the Port of Tacoma, which is a huge source of revenue, but it provides some interesting challenges in regard to the traffic that it brings,” Marsh said. “You’d think that a city of our size wouldn’t spend so much time and effort on major roadways as opposed to getting through our neighborhoods, so to speak, but I-5 and (State Route) 167 are a big priority for us in terms of keeping folks in Olympia on task in regard to that project.”
Another aspect of Fife is communication with the Puyallup Tribe on issues like the 54th Avenue railroad crossing and casino impact funds. Marsh believes that the tribe and the city have to work together to get momentum going on these projects.
“There are a lot of challenges with getting [54th] open, and the only way we’re going to do it is together. What that is, I don’t know. I’m one of seven and I don’t know. We have a meeting with the Tribe in March, but if I had my magic wand I would do it now,” Marsh said.
“One of the things that has been important to me has been the relationship with the tribe. I’ve done things socially with Tribal Council Member David Bean and that’s critical for me; that relationship is critical. We reside 100 percent inside tribal boundaries and we recognize that, we respect that. We’re not going anywhere without cooperation, that relationship, encouraging it, making it stronger. That’s definitely a huge goal of mine.”