A new year means a new reader representative on the Tri-City Herald Editorial Board.
We are excited to welcome Martín Valadez of Pasco, who, judging by his involvement in the community, must have the stamina of the Energizer Bunny.
He is currently the director of business development and public relations at Tri-Cities Community Health. Before that, he was CEO for the Columbia Basin College Foundation, vice president for the college’s Diversity and Outreach department, and a professor at a number of colleges and universities, including CBC.
Valadez is extremely active in a number of Tri-City organizations and serves on several boards and commissions, including the Mid-Columbia Libraries board, Gesa Credit Union, the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, Visit Tri-Cities, the Three Rivers Community Foundation and Lit-Fest. He also is president of the Greater Columbia Accountable Communities of Health board.
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He also has organized the Latino Professionals Leadership Development group, which helps its members become more involved in the community. Valadez said he loves the Tri-Cities and wants to make it an even better place to live.
Valadez was born in Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles, getting his bachelor’s in economics from the University of California Los Angeles and a master’s from Stanford. He moved in 2006 to Pasco, where he and his wife, Tanya, have a 1-year-old son, George.
We are looking forward to his insight during his 6-month stint with us.
The idea of adding a community member to the editorial board began several years ago, with the thought that someone with a different background and different interests would provide a fresh perspective on the many issues we debate during the week.
Our reader representatives attend our weekly edit board discussions, as well as other meetings with state and local officials and community members, and help us determine a position on current events — all on their own time.
And while we are saying hello to Valadez, we are also saying goodbye to Michelle Whitney, whose knowledge on educational issues was invaluable.
She is the deputy successor to outgoing Pasco School Superintendent Saundra Hill, and contingent on the success of her transition period, will replace Hill when she retires this year.
This was the first time we had a reader representative whose job also was a subject of news, but we chose Whitney for the editorial board long before she was picked for the school superintendent’s job.
As it turned out, the Pasco School District experienced a tumultuous time during her stint with us. The teachers strike was a top news story for several weeks during the summer, but Whitney was never in the room when we discussed it. She also was not involved when we met with, and recommended, school board candidates running for office.
There were times, though, when we discussed education on a statewide level, and in general terms. Her contribution to these discussions was particularly helpful, but she also provided valuable opinions on other issues too. We will miss her perception and her cheerfulness.
But we look forward to getting to know our new reader representative, Martín Valadez, and we are glad he is willing to join us. It should be another great six months.