The Pasco City Council is moving in the right direction, said the newest member of the board.
Chi Flores became the second Latino on the Pasco City Council on Monday night. He joined Saul Martinez.
“People like to go places where they feel like they can relate to other people,” he said. “Having a good mix on the city council will help encourage that I think.”
Flores took the oath of office after council members picked him to fill the spot left vacant after the death of Councilman Mike Garrison in July.
Garrison, 72, who had leukemia, served on the council for more than 28 years.
Flores was one of 11 applicants for the position representing northwest Pasco. A screening committee narrowed the list and the council interviewed the five finalists in mid-October.
He became interested in the position after a series of issues involving the Latino community and the city, including the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit on behalf of Bertha Aranda Glatt, he said. The lawsuit claimed the city’s at-large system of electing council members violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act.
“I decided to start showing up and really be part of the solution,” he said. “Prior to that, I was really unaware of ... what was going on (in city government.)”
The new councilman moved to the city three years ago and said in his statement of interest that he fell in love with the diversity, the growth in business relationships and the beauty of the landscape and the people.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s of business administration in marketing, and spent 12 years as a retail manager for several companies before working at the Lowe’s store in Pasco.
He transitioned to the Kennewick location to become an assistant manager. The job provides him with experience monitoring and setting budgets, resolving conflicts and promoting a team atmosphere, he said.
Along with work, he has volunteered for the Meals on Wheels program, as a coach for a middle school team and has raised money for the Toys for Tots program.
He has been married for more than 10 years and has three children.
Flores wants to motivate the community to become involved in their government by speaking to people about his experience and showing people it is possible to become involved. The low voter turnout in Franklin County concerns him.
“I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life, and really see how I can serve the community,” he said.
If he wants to stay in the position, Flores is going to need to run again in November 2017.