Incumbent Paul Parish has attended a few thousand Kennewick City Council meetings, while Diane Crawford had not been to any before deciding to run for a seat on it.
Kennewick voters will choose between them in the Nov. 8 election when electing their Ward 2 representative.
Council members serve four years and receive $992 a month, plus health benefits.
Parish, a four-term incumbent, and Crawford, a first-time candidate, are longtime Kennewick residents, small-business owners and have similar ideas about what Kennewick's priorities ought to be.
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But they are a spectrum apart on political experience.
In addition to having served 16 years on the council, Parish has years of community service that led up to his being named Kennewick's Man of the Year in 2009.
Crawford's community involvement has been comparatively low key. She has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and hospice and recently became an ordained minister.
Crawford said she became interested in serving on the council not quite a year ago, after losing her job with a dental office because of cuts in the state Department of Social and Human Services. She had been chairwoman of the city's Board of Adjustment until it was abolished a year ago, but admits she never had attended a city council meeting until this summer.
Parish has lived in the Tri-Cities since 1966, is married and has four grown children. He retired in 2004 after 27 years with Lampson International, and owns a business that provides mobility equipment for disabled individuals.
The city faces tough economic times, but is well prepared, Parish said.
Growth is vital to Kennewick's future because sales tax revenue, while good, won't be enough to sustain the city into the future, he said.
Parish said the city has excellent leadership and has been proactive in preparing for what could be a difficult biennium in 2013-14, and to address the growing threat of gang activity.
"We're as lean as we can get," he told the Herald's editorial board, adding that Kennewick has been a leader in working with other Tri-Cities agencies to develop partnerships and economies of scale that are beneficial to all.
Promoting development at Southridge is a high priority for the council, as is working with the Port of Kennewick to reshape the downtown area along Columbia Drive between the blue and cable bridges.
The port and city also need to cooperate to realize the potential for the Vista Field Airport, Parish said.
Parish said Kennewick is "pretty much a bedroom community" that needs to develop more industrial and commercial tax base through strategic zoning and long-term planning.
Crawford has lived in Kennewick for 20 years. Her husband owns a home-based upholstery business and they have two grown children.
Crawford agrees that the city leaders, including the council, have "done a pretty good job" with Kennewick.
But she said the council should have another woman's perspective. The council's only woman member currently is Sharon Brown.
"If I was elected it would be a more realistic representation of the people in the community. I know what it takes to live within your means," she told the Herald editorial board.
Crawford said the city needs to grow, and that she would like Kennewick to be an attractive and safe community for retirees and businesses.
Crawford said the city has done well in filling vacant properties, but she would like to see some boutiques and condos mixed in with existing businesses along Columbia Drive to create a family-oriented downtown area.
She said Vista Field should remain an airport, but with more development to attract new business ventures.
Crawford and Parish agree that the city's antique carousel should be placed somewhere in the city instead of being sold.
"I believe in term limits and feel it's time for a new face and new vision," said Crawford.
"I'm a clean slate, ready to learn and my special interest group will be the citizens," she said.
-- For more election stories, go to tricityherald.com/election.