5 late-filers vie for Prosser City Council

PROSSER -- Voters in Prosser have an abundance of late-filer candidates seeking to fill city council positions in Tuesday's election.

Prosser's Position 7 seat was open during the Aug. 16 primary when incumbent Terry G. Chambers chose not to seek re-election. That prompted five candidates to enter the race.

They are Debbie Breitenfeldt, Larry Walter, Jim Macica, Tammy McKiernan and Scott Hamilton.

Breitenfeldt says her experience as a paralegal and special education paraeducator show she wants to be a solution seeker and team player and would be good for the council.

"I can get people to work together," she said, noting that she already is well connected to the community, city hall and her church. She was involved in the effort to renovate the Princess Theatre and says business people in town encouraged her to be a candidate.

Her parents were longtime Prosserites who came back to the city five years ago, she said. More than anything, Prosser's leaders need to look for ways to bring more dollars into the city, she said.

Walter is making his second turn at being on the council, having served for 21/2 years until 2007. Retired after working 20 years as a millwright at Hanford, Walter says he wants to help the city make wise decisions as it begins to expand to the north.

"The city needs to find more money," he said, noting that Prosser's future will depend on growth. "It will need someone who really cares to help," he said.

The current council has done a fairly good job, but Walter, who has made the town his home for 31 years, said he would like to be back on it as that someone who cares.

Macica is a five-year resident of Prosser whose in-laws have been in the area for 25 years. He works from home in providing commercial catastrophic insurance and previously served as an urban planner analyst and planning commissioner in Oregon.

Macica said his knowledge about small town budgets and infrastructure issues make him particularly qualified to serve on the council.

McKiernan has lived with her husband and family in Prosser for 21 years, and works in the county assessor's office.

"It is time for new blood," said McKiernan, who called Prosser a great community with a city council that is doing a good job.

"I want to have a voice in the community and I'm really good with budgets," she said.

McKiernan said she also wants to see a woman's perspective be on what is now an all-male, seven-member council.

Hamilton, formerly Prosser's police chief with 22 years experience in law enforcement, has lived in Prosser for 30 years. He has experience in executive management, administration and working with public agency budgets.

Hamilton says that as an experienced manager he knows how to maximize public dollars and has demonstrated leadership ability.

As former police chief of the city, Hamilton is well acquainted with the workings of city hall and knowing how to work with the city council.

He comments on the Benton County's online voters' guide that citizens and business owners have shared with him their concerns about any possible increases in taxes or rates for city services.

Prosser voters also must select a mayor, with incumbent Paul Warden challenged by Mary Ruth Edwards.

Warden has served on the council as councilman for two years and mayor for nearly four. He takes pride in the progress the city is making and the positive changes occurring within city hall through a team effort.

Edwards has a background as an educator and marketing professional. She has strong interests in constitutional issues, and is chairman of the Constitution Party of Adams-Benton-Franklin Counties.

Edwards said on the county's online voters' guide she has "had enough of being ignored by my elected officials."

She said her experiences with the Marine Corps as a noncommissioned officer and as a teacher proved she has leadership ability and can set and achieve goals.

"My vision for Prosser is for growth without losing our unique identity, promoting Prosser as a 'go-to' destination, and expanding/enhancing tourism," she said.