Port of Kennewick commissioners to face newcomer

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMay 17, 2013 

Two Port of Kennewick incumbents will face more than one challenger, forcing a vote in August to decide which top two candidates will square off in November.

Current Commissioner Gene Wagner has decided to run for re-election in District 2. Wagner is the longest-serving member on the three-man board.

Former Benton County Commissioner Leo Bowman and former Kennewick Mayor Tom Moak filed earlier this week for the same position.

In the District 1 race, Danette Layne, a human resources generalist for Richland's Vista Engineering Technology and a Columbia Basin College adjunct instructor, filed for the seat currently held by Don Barnes.

Barnes, who was appointed to the port commission in May 2012, filed earlier this week for the remaining two years of the six-year term.

He is a commercial real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Associated Brokers of Kennewick.

Barry Bush, who became a Benton Public Utility District commissioner last year, filed Friday for the same seat. Bush is a former Energy Northwest employee and also has served as a Marine.

The fourth challenger in the race is the port's former executive director, John Givens. He currently serves on the Kennewick Public Facilities District board.

Port commissioners earn $1,034 monthly, plus $104 for each meeting they attend. A 4 percent raise kicks in next year, increasing commissioners' stipend to $1,075 a month.

District 1 generally includes southeast Richland/Meadow Springs, central and west Kennewick, and Southridge/ Canyon Lakes neighborhoods.

The District 2 seat includes the urban portion of the port area, close to the Columbia River between Interstate 182 to the west and the cable bridge to the east.

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