Two men, one a relative newcomer to West Richland, the second a 30-year resident of the city, are running for Position 6 on the city council.
Ken Dobbin, 61, the incumbent with more than 17 years of service on the council, is being challenged by Ron Hayden, 27, who says it is time for new ideas and a fresh perspective.
The election is Nov. 8 and voters should now have ballots in hand. Council members receive $350 a month.
This is Hayden's first campaign for office, but as the precinct committee officer for West Richland's Precinct No. 4009 and a member of Rob McKenna's steering committee for governor, he is an experienced politician.
If elected, Hayden said his first priority would be to do everything possible to ensure the police and fire departments have what they need "to continue to do their jobs effectively. We're a very safe community, and I'd want to do all that's possible to continue to keep it that way."
He also would work to foster economic development within the city by encouraging West Richland residents to shop locally as much as possible.
"We lose $1.5 million each year in sales revenue alone. I would like to see that reduced, if not eliminated. People will still shop outside the city but I'd like to make a dent in that," he said.
Hayden is married, and he and his wife, Melanie, have lived in West Richland for eight years. He served in the Army for eight years and was deployed twice to Iraq. Hayden has worked in law enforcement for six years and is a member of the tactical response team for the Hanford Patrol.
His website is: www.Hayden4WestRichland.com.
Frustration spurred Dobbin's decision to run for city council almost 18 years ago.
He and citizens attended city council meetings for two years asking for improvements to the city's streets and sewage and water systems.
"I and other citizens commented on every development that came along, saying, where are the streets, sewer and water. We told them they needed to bring them along concurrently with the city's growth. They ignored us," he said.
Dobbin still is pushing for improvements and economic development, yet feels it's important "to maintain our rural atmosphere while having a safe, healthy and economical environment."
That, he said, only comes from teamwork and fiscal responsibility. The ability to work with other governments and community agencies is an important asset voters need to consider in members of their city council.
"The city doesn't control the school district, fire district or power so council members need to demonstrate they can work with other agencies, all with their own elected bodies," Dobbin said.
"I've worked to promote a good relationship between Benton County Fire District 4 and the city. The district provides the firefighters, trucks and stations, the city provides the water. That's one example of teamwork and how we keep our city safe," he said.
Dobbin has served as the city's liaison to the fire district for eight years and is a member of Friends of the Firefighters of District No. 4.
He and other council members also worked with the Richland School District to get William R. Wiley Elementary and Enterprise Middle schools built in West Richland.
"Prior to 2005 there were 600 middle school students bused from West Richland to north Richland. It was important to work with the school district to get a middle school built so students can attend here," Dobbin said.
He served on the bond committees to build both schools and the new fire station on Bombing Range Road. Dobbin is on the Tri-City Development Council board and is a member of the Benton County Solid Waste Advisory Committee. He is a nuclear engineer at Hanford and is married to Nancy Dobbin.
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