A Pasco pediatrician is challenging the school board president in the upcoming election, citing a lack of transparency in the district’s recent superintendent search.
Aaron Richardson took issue with Ryan Brault’s refusal to allow discussion about the superintendent candidates at an April 14 school board meeting, he said.
Two days later, the board hired Michelle Whitney as superintendent. The hiring process was the last of several factors that pushed Richardson to run, he said.
“I’ve had a feeling that the school district could be more open about things, about the way information is presented,” he said.
Richardson was one of four dozen area residents to file for elective office Monday, the first day of the state’s annual filing period. Filing for the Nov. 3 general election continues through May 15.
The district has put together task forces and focus groups using hand-picked participants, instead of a true representation of its stakeholders, Richardson said.
“I’ve seen lots of decisions made last minute, with no real public input,” he said.
Richardson has three children in the district, and working as a pediatrician has allowed him to learn about issues facing others, including special needs children, he said.
Brault and school board Vice President Scott Lehrman filed for re-election Monday.
Two Kennewick city councilmen will face opposition in the election. Country Gentleman restaurant owner Steve Simmons, a former state representative candidate, filed to run against Bob Olson, while Paul Parish is being challenged by Diane Crawford.
Crawford ran against Parish in 2011, and filed for a vacant seat on the council after then Mayor Pro-Tem Sharon Brown resigned to become state senator.
Kennewick Mayor Steve Young filed for another four-year term for his council seat Monday. All three councilmen up for re-election this year represent the city at large.
No one filed to run against any incumbent Pasco City Council members on the first day of filing, despite protests in the city since a Mexican immigrant was killed by police in February. Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Francik and Councilman Al Yenney filed to run for four-year terms. Mayor Matt Watkins had yet to file.
Richland councilmen Phillip Lemley, Brad Anderson and Terry Christensen all filed for re-election, with no opponents filing against them. Lemley’s filing was no surprise — he has had campaign signs around Richland for a week.
Craig Braden Sloughter filed to run for a West Richland City Council seat being vacated by Ron Hayden, who announced last month that he wouldn’t seek a second term. Councilmen Tony Benegas, Robert Perkes and Byron Martin all filed for re-election.
In Benton City, Councilwoman Linda Lehman is challenging Mayor Lloyd Carnahan.
Brett Amidan, Emily Allen and Ron Higgins are running for the Richland School Board position now held by Mary Guay. Amidan and Higgins have both run for the school board before. Guay had yet to file.
The three-way race for the Director No. 4 position means that at least one contest will be on the Aug. 4 Benton County primary ballot.
Board members Rick Donahoe and Phyllis Strickler also filed.
Franklin County Commissioner Bob Koch wasn’t scheduled to be up for re-election until next year, but has decided to run for a second position — commissioner in Cemetery District 2.
He plans to serve in both positions if elected, he said.
“That little cemetery up in Connell needs a commissioner,” Koch said. “The cemetery is about a half-mile from my house.”
State Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, and Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom both filed Monday. No opponents have filed yet. They both have to run in special elections after being appointed to fill unexpired terms.