Yelm Mayor JW Foster Won’t Seek Another Term


Yelm Mayor JW Foster announced in a post on Facebook Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election in November.

Foster was appointed mayor in August 2016. He won a term in a race against Yelm City Councilor Joe DePinto the following year.

Foster and his family have lived in Yelm since 1996. He was first appointed to the planning commission in 2006 and served on the parks board and transportation committee.

In 2011, Foster was elected to the city council and was re-elected in 2015. In August of 2016, he was appointed by council to fill the mayor position.

He previously retired from a 34-year career as a firefighter and paramedic.

Below is the full statement by Foster. Look for more in next week’s edition of Nisqually Valley News and at


Many years ago, my dad told me that life was not so much about getting to some destination - it was about making the most of the journey. It was about the people you meet along the way and the impacts you have on each other. It was about developing trust and building relationships and helping each other. Life was to be lived, not observed. And he and Mom demonstrated that if you live your life in service to others, the reward is a life well lived. And that’s the point. Thanks, Dad.

I practiced that ideology for 5-years in the Marine Corps infantry, followed by 34-years as a Paramedic/Firefighter, then for our home community since 1996 when we moved our family to Yelm. During our time here, Nicki and I volunteered with the schools, coached a whole bunch of kids in baseball, soccer, basketball.., chaperoned dozens of field trips to music events, plays, NW Trek, Mt. Rainier, etc., and worked as parent volunteers and ‘camp medic’ at Cispus – some of the best years of our lives. We spent a lot of our family time working with the Nisqually Land Trust to leave a legacy of a cleaner, safer environment for generations to come. And I was honored to be asked to play a part in our city’s government - first on the Parks Committee, then Planning Commission for 5 years, two stints on City Council, first as an appointed ‘fill-in’ in 2001, then elected to serve again in 2011. And in 2016, I was appointed to serve out the remainder of the Mayor’s term and was elected to the position in 2017. Throughout my time working for the citizens of Yelm, I feel we’ve accomplished good things together and that Yelm is a better place for it. By the end of this year, it will be 50 years of public service and I have to tell you, I feel really good about it! And I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad would too.

But now, as the circle of life demands, Nicki and I must turn our attention to other pursuits of happiness – aka Grandkids.

So, we will not be running for re-election.

With four Council positions and the Mayor’s seat on the ballot in November, there could be a lot of new faces in the Council chamber in 2022. I hope this becomes an opportunity for others to step up and start their own journeys of public service. And I truly hope they realize that the job is not about them, it’s about taking care of people. And most importantly, it’s about supporting the team of professionals who work for the City of Yelm and who will carry the daily weight. They deserve all the credit for the smooth-running machine we’ll turn over to a new leadership team in January.

Now having made the announcement to retire, I’ll tell you that we still have a long year ahead of us. I will continue working for you until the last day of December, and I look forward to this exciting year of recovery and rebuilding. Thanks for making my journey memorable and rewarding. Here’s to new beginnings!


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