The two races for Richland City Council are vastly different contests. One puts a council veteran against a well-prepared challenger. The other pits an unprepared challenger against a council rookie.
For us, one choice was difficult. The other was relatively easy. Fortunately for voters, all four candidates bring something valuable to the table.
Mazur vs. Lemley
In the competition for Richland City Council Position 5, voters are faced with a difficult decision.
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A 14-year council veteran with an institutional knowledge of city business is being challenged by a relative newcomer to the community with a passion for community service.
Councilmember Rita Mazur knows a lot about Richland and can rattle off statistics and facts with ease. Her most recent ambition is to make the Uptown/downtown area of the city more viable. She is a true cheerleader for the city and has helped shape its course for more than a decade.
Challenger Phillip Lemley, who recently retired from Bechtel, came to Richland eight years ago. He has quickly become an involved citizen, listing a slew of activities, including the Richland Parks and Recreation Commission, Rotary Club of Richland, Mid-Columbia Forestry Council and several others on his resume.
He wants to support the police and firefighters and the small-business community. He doesn’t want to raise fees or cut services to residents. Do more and spend less is his mantra.
Mazur has served the city well and had not planned to run for another term. She changed her mind at the last minute when she said she felt like the community needed her. Lemley ran unsuccessfully for the city council a couple of years back, but his desire to serve the city did not waver.
It’s a tough choice. Mazur has done a good job on the council, and the city is better for her efforts. But Lemley has the time and energy to be a very involved member of the Richland City Council.
Kent vs. Knight
In 1999 two very different people moved to the Tri-Cities. We wonder if either one of them anticipated running for city council 10 years later.But that’s the matchup for Richland City Council Position 3, Sandra Kent v. Creighton Knight.
Knight is married and has one child. He works as a quality assurance specialist at Lamb Weston and has a degree in economics. He’s busy with home, family and church and participates in Sharefest.
Knight says he’s needed on the council because he has new ideas and represents the “regular homeowner” — people not connected to Hanford. He would like to see the city run more like a business and wants to leverage economic diversity for a post-Hanford economy.
Kent is a senior attorney with Washington River Protection Solutions and worked in Ohio, Idaho and Colorado before moving to the Tri-Cities. She recently married and is a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities. Some of the groups she advocates for are Women Helping Women, Junior Achievement and Edith Bishel Center for the Blind.
Kent was appointed to the council two years ago to fill an unexpired term. She served on the planning commission for two years before that.
Knight has some good ideas and seems genuine in his desire to serve. When he gets some experience to go with it, he will probably make a strong candidate. Right now, however, Kent is better prepared to serve on the council and to serve the community.
We appreciate Knight’s enthusiasm. Even more, though, we admire Kent’s thoughtful approach to the issues facing Richland.
During her tenure, she has asked thoughtful questions and been a good steward of the city’s resources. We would like to see her continue on the council.
The Tri-City Herald recommends Phillip Lemley and Sandra Kent for Richland City Council.