Pasco council make-up likely to remain unchanged

The Pasco City Council will likely remain unchanged come January.

Incumbents Rebecca Francik and Al Yenney each had more than a 1,000-vote lead over their opponents Tuesday night.

Yenney, who is finishing his first term in the District 1 position, received nearly 61 percent, or 2,806 votes. Andrew Johnson, a former real estate agent, received 1,797 votes, or 39 percent.

Francik, a 15-year incumbent, had nearly 66 percent or 3,110 votes. Her challenger, former Spokane Mayor John Talbott, received 1,611 votes, or 34 percent, in the race for the District 5 position.

Yenney, 65, owner of Al's Repair in Pasco, said he will wait until all the votes are in to declare victory, but he was happy with the results and voter turnout.

Yenney said his top priority remains finding enough water rights for the city's current and future needs. He also wants to see a council committee formed to welcome new businesses to Pasco.

Johnson, 60, could not be reached Tuesday evening.

In the District 5 race, Francik, 55, a librarian at Rowena Chess Elementary School, said, "It's going to be a pleasure to serve for the next four years."

"I will do my very best to ensure that their trust is well paid," she said.

Francik said she enjoys helping make decisions that influence the daily lives of citizens. Her top priority is attracting more industrial and commercial growth.

Pasco is overloaded with residential development and needs more industrial and commercial development to continue the diversification of the economy, she said.

Talbott, 77, who retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1982, said he was going to wait to comment on the race until a winner is declared.

He was mayor of Spokane between 1998 and 2000.

If elected, Talbott said his top priority would be giving the government back to the people.

So far, 7,742 ballots have been counted, and officials estimate 1,900 are left to be counted.

In Franklin County, 27,410 ballots were issued.

Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton predicted a voter turnout rate of 42 percent to 45 percent.

The auditor's office received 1,998 ballots Tuesday, which makes the county's voter turnout 38 percent so far.

Tuesday's tally does not include ballots turned in on Tuesday. The next ballot count will be at 5 p.m. today.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com