Kennewick residents living on the east side of town have three choices for the city council in the Aug. 16 primary: a Hanford contractor, a railroad bridge tender and a self-employed former Navy linguistics expert.
One will become the council representative for Ward 3, but first about 9,100 voters must decide which two will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.
Steve Young, who serves as mayor for the seven-member council, has William Miller and Loren Nichols challenging his re-election bid for the four-year term.
w This will be 54-year-old Nichols' first attempt to be elected to public office, but he is no stranger to the council.
Nichols applied in 2008, with Young, for a council vacancy. He has attended several council meetings in recent years, and spoke to the council about issues involving illegal immigrants, having English as the city's official language and proposing that Kennewick have a city flag.
He is a 1977 magna cum laude graduate in math at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, and served in Spain in the Navy in the early '80s, receiving top secret clearance while becoming proficient in reading, writing and speaking Russian. He received military commendations for his service with the Sixth Fleet off the coast of Libya in 1986.
Nichols has been self-employed in landscaping and in retail inventorying.
"I want to be on the council to give added weight on the issues of the presence of illegal aliens and the erosion of the value of the English language," he said at a recent candidates' forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Benton and Franklin Counties.
"I believe a common language provides a better sense of community. English is the glue that holds us together," he said.
Nichols also said he is concerned the council has taken on too many "high-dollar projects," such as Southridge's sports complex and pushing to complete the extension of Steptoe Street and Hildebrand Boulevard.
w Miller also is a first-time candidate, but has no recent contact with city hall.
"I just think I can help them save some money. This city needs somebody who can help them out," he said.
Miller, 56, works for the BNSF Railway as a bridge tender. He is single and said he raised two daughters as a single parent.
Miller said he lives at a home on East Fifth Avenue in Ward 3, but also owns and previously lived on Dague Road in Finley.
He changed his voter registration from the Finley address to the Kennewick residence on the same day he filed as a candidate, June 6.
He uses a post office box in Hermiston as a mailing address for both properties.
Miller did not attend the candidates' forum and said he wasn't interested in talking about his views until after the primary.
"I've thought about running for the council for a long time, and now it looks like I will have the time available," he said.
Miller is a longtime member of the Masonic Order and has attained high levels of service.
w Young said he wants to continue guiding the city as it completes major projects with the extension of Steptoe Street and in the Southridge area off Highway 395 in south Kennewick. He has seen a majority shift in the makeup of the council and played a major role in hiring Marie Mosley, the former finance director, as the new city manager.
Young, who owns a consulting firm that does project management for Hanford contractors, began serving the city in 1991 as a member of the Kennewick Civil Service Commission. He later joined the planning commission and in 2008 was chosen from 11 applicants to be on the council.
Because he was appointed, Young had to run for the seat in 2009 and is running again because the term expires at the end of this year.
Young, 61, also served four years on the original board of the Kennewick Public Facilities District, where he helped plan and oversee construction of the $19 million Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
"Serving the city has been one of the great thrills of my life," said Young, who has lived in the city since 1987, is married to Anita and has three children and six grandchildren.
"I've always loved serving the community, and I feel an obligation to serve the citizens. And there are things I'd like to see through to completion," he said.
Council members are paid $992 a month and receive full dental, vision and medical coverage through the city's insurance program.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org