Diane Crawford, a recently ordained minister, and Joe Kadinger, who was chairman of the city's board of adjustment until it was abolished in December, are vying to unseat Paul Parish as he seeks a fifth term on the Kennewick City Council.
About 11,200 voters in Ward 2, which generally lies between Olympia Street on the east to South Union Street on the west, have until Aug. 16 to return their mail-in primary election ballots.
The two candidates receiving the most votes will advance to the Nov. 8 general election, in which all registered voters in the city will be voting.
"I enjoy it," said Parish, 75, about why he isn't retiring from public service.
"There are a few things I started and haven't got finished. One is (the extension of) Steptoe Street. But that should be done within two years," he said.
Parish says balancing the budget will be the biggest challenge facing the council in the near future.
"The city needs to be run like a business. Giving the citizens the services they expect is becoming a real balancing act and we're doing it with 33 less people than we had a few years ago," he said.
Parish's other concerns include keeping sales tax revenues up and how to address a growing problem of gangs.
Parish, who retired from a 27-year career with Lampson in 2004, owns and runs Paul Parish Limited, which sells mobility equipment to help disabled people.
In addition to being 2009's Kennewick Man of the Year, Parish's rsum of community service includes helping erect the veterans memorial in Columbia Park, building the J&S Express train and volunteering each year to help with the hydroplanes at the Water Follies.
His most recent effort is to help transport and set up a piece of the World Trade Center's construction steel as a 9/11 memorial at the Southridge Sports Complex.
Parish is married to Linda Parish, has four grown children and has lived in Kennewick since 1978.
Crawford said losing her job with a dental office because of cuts in the state Department of Social and Human Services got her thinking about being a candidate.
"I was concerned about the state cuts, the city's golf course settlement and all the money spent on the carousel," she said.
Crawford, whose husband runs a home-based, multi-generational upholstery business, has lived in Kennewick for 20 years, has two grown children and five grandchildren.
She was accounting manager for Ashley Home Furnishings in Kennewick, did the books for the family business and processed claims for a dental office until the state cut back the program that paid for dental services.
Recently becoming an ordained minister was a longtime goal that allows her to perform weddings.
Crawford said the council seems to be doing "a pretty good job," and she agrees that completing Southridge projects is a high priority.
"It is important to see development come," she said.
Crawford said the carousel is a difficult problem, but citizens seem to "want something done with it."
As a first-time candidate, Crawford plans a low-cost campaign.
"I will have a sign on my fence that faces Highway 395, and I will walk neighborhoods," Crawford said, but declared at a candidates' forum that she will not seek, nor accept campaign donations, nor paper the city with fancy signs.
"I am seeking public office because I want to be a part of the city and decisions that will affect my children and grandchildren. I have the time to do the job and learn what I need to learn," she said.
"(Parish) is a fine person, but it is time for someone new," she said.
Kadinger's bid to be a Ward 2 representative is his first effort for elective office too.
A telemarketing engineer for Lockheed Martin at Hanford, 42-year-old Kadinger is married and lives in the Canyon Lakes development.
He has lived in Kennewick since childhood and worked for the city as a public works intern in the early 1990s. He was a computer-assisted drafting technician for the city of Richland for five years until 2000.
Kadinger said at a candidates' forum that the city's partnerships with other cities is good, but the council should keep Kennewick's needs a high priority. For example, he said the council should take a clue from Grant County's data storage centers.
"There will be a growing need for storage, and our vacant buildings could be upgraded for data storage," he said.
Kadinger said the city also must face the fact that federal support for Hanford will go away.
"It won't be here forever and we need to look at diversification," he said.
Serving as chairman on the city's Board of Adjustment showed Kadinger that the public must be more accepting of changes involving land use and development decisions.
"It has to happen somewhere," he said.
Kadinger said being on the First Lutheran Church council, and its president for one year, gave him additional experience in running meetings.
He said he considered running for a Ward 2 seat two years ago, but didn't want to oppose the incumbent, Jim Hempstead.
Kennewick council members are paid $992 a month and receive the city's health benefits covering medical, dental and vision.