Regardless of who ends up the top vote-getter Nov. 7, Richland residents will be the real winners in the Position 4 race for Richland City Council.
Ryan Lukson and Ginger Wireman are both outstanding candidates — shining stars, if you will.
Both are sharp, knowledgeable, thoughtful, pleasant, articulate and eager to serve their community. We wish we could plug them both into the city council and see what kind of new energy is released.
Unfortunately, only one can win the open seat vacated by retiring longtime Councilman David Rose.
We wish we didn’t have to choose, but since we must — we lean toward Lukson.
He is a deputy prosecutor for Benton County and advises the jail, the sheriff’s department and county commission. He noted part of his job is bringing strong personalities together to find solutions, and we think that experience could be useful on the Richland City Council.
Lukson grew up in Richland, has a young family and has a good handle on the issues, as well as the dynamics of the council and city staff.
On the controversial $20 car tab fee imposed earlier this year, Lukson said he thought it wasn’t so much the fee itself, but how it was presented to the public that caused much of the frustration.
Both Lukson and Wireman thought it was handled poorly, and that residents who expressed concerns ended up feeling dismissed by their elected representatives.
Lukson also takes issue with the council’s pre-meeting before the regular city council session. He questions why — since it is open to the public — it can’t be held in the large council meeting room. Instead, council members meet in a cramped chamber that limits the number of people who can attend.
It’s a question we have as well. With Lukson’s experience in county government, perhaps he could persuade his fellow city council members to be more transparent and more obliging in their dealings with citizens.
He also is on the inside track when it comes to county-city ties, which is a plus. For instance, how Richland chooses to spend economic development money doled out by Benton County is something he is keen to explore.
As easy as it is to recommend Lukson, Wireman is equally impressive.
She has many great ideas bubbling in her brain; we would love for her to see them through.
Wireman is a Richland High School graduate, an environmental educator with the Department of Ecology and an adjunct faculty member at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
She believes in protecting natural habitat as much as possible, but does not strike us as an extremist. In fact, she seems creative, open and pragmatic in her thought process, and someone who strives for balance.
When she lists the projects she has been involved with over the years, it’s clear she has been the kind of behind-the-scenes volunteer every community needs.
Wireman served on the Tapteal Greenway board, helped build the Playground of Dreams (the original and the re-build), was involved in the planning for Vista Field, has spent many hours volunteering with her children’s school programs and has been involved in a myriad of preservation efforts. She said now that she is an empty-nester, she has even more time to be involved.
She, like Lukson, thinks the council needs to be more receptive to citizens and their concerns. She wonders why a meeting can’t be moved to a school gym, for example, when a standing-room only crowd is expected to attend.
She and Lukson are on the same page in their run for city council, and whoever wins will be a great addition. We think Lukson’s experience in local government, however, gives him the edge.
The Herald recommends Ryan Lukson for Richland City Council Position 4.