Richland School Board President Rick Jansons officially declared himself a candidate for Benton County commissioner on Wednesday.
The father of five cited his extensive record of community service and commitment to growing a family oriented community balanced in business, agriculture, commercial and natural resources.
Jansons, 48, was surrounded by family during his midday announcement at Columbia Point Park.
His youngest daughters woreT-shirts that said, "Vote for my dad," and his father, who immigrated to the U.S. from The Netherlands 60 years ago, was taking photographs.
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"I will listen closely and respond honestly," said Jansons, who promised that he would pursue balanced and smart growth as a commissioner.
Jansons has worked at Hanford as a radiological supervisor to ensure operations and radiation safety. He also has been in business with his father in building homes and is a Navy veteran with nuclear submarine service.
Jansons is secretary of the Leadership Tri-Cities board of directors, vice chairman of the Hanford Advisory Board, vice president of the Richland Public Facilities District board and has a certificate in emergency management from Western Washington University.
For four years, he has been a nuclear safety consultant at Hanford.
Jansons, a Tri-City resident since 1991, is running for the seat held by Commissioner Leo Bowman, who is retiring at the end of this year.
"It's a great opportunity," he said.
"The commission provides more opportunity for service. It's the right skill set," he said.
Jansons noted that he helped lead the Richland School District through financially difficult times and currently is engaged in the tough decisions on the future of the proposed Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.
He said his priorities would include ensuring a quality of life for raising families, supporting efforts to maintain public safety and giving the county a stronger voice in Hanford cleanup issues.
Jansons also said it is time the commissioners act to provide better services for people with mental health issues who commit crimes.
"People need to be held accountable, but we need a consolidated crisis response center so we can provide the appropriate treatment," Jansons said.
He said he intends to stop doing nuclear safety consulting work and would reduce his role on the school board if elected commissioner.
"It is a full-time job and it should be," he said.
His website is www.rickjansons.com.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org