Elections

Brooks, Marvin challenge Columbia County Commission incumbent Jones

Two candidates are challenging Richard Jones for the Columbia County commissioner seat for District 2 that he has held for nine years.

All candidates are running as Republicans in the Aug. 19 primary, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the November election. The position pays about $27,000 annually.

Candidate: Richard "Dick" Jones.

-- Age: 67

-- Family: Married with five grown children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

-- Occupation: Farmer. In addition to his experience as county commissioner, he served on the Dayton School Board for 20 years and was a volunteer firefighter for more than three decades.

-- Why he's running: After years of tight budgets, taxes from wind farm developments have finally given the county the money to tackle some important projects, Jones said. He favors upgrading the fairgrounds and finding a solution to the difficulties of having just one courtroom for the county and no jail space for women and juveniles. His strength as a commissioner has been working with the Legislature to bring more state money to the county, including for maintaining its historic courthouse, he said. He also helped develop a regional bus and vanpool system and has been fiscally conservative, he said.

Candidate: Earle Marvin

-- Age: 65

-- Family: Married with three grown children and five grandchildren.

-- Occupation: Retired contract manager. He's also the past chairman of the Benton County Parks and Recreation Board and president of the Columbia County Farm Bureau.

-- Why he's running: Marvin's focus includes getting the county government more involved with other governments to attract new industry to the county. He also wants county commissioners to be more involved in land use planning, including having final approval of wind farms and any other nonresidential construction in excess of $2.5 million, he said. He also wants improved services for seniors.

Candidate: Wanda Brooks

-- Age: 47

-- Family: Two daughters and two grandsons.

-- Occupation: Land use consultant and grant writer. She has a bachelor's degree in business and served on the Planning Commission in South Cle Elum where she was instrumental in developing the town's comprehensive land use plan.

-- Why she's running: Brooks, who supports wind power, believes that her grant writing and land use experience would prove valuable for dealing with zoning issues, growth management and substantial budgets. Economic enrichment can be achieved while preserving Columbia County's quality of life, she said. Communication with local, state and federal agencies is essential, she said.

All candidates are running as Republicans in the Aug. 19 primary, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the November election. The position pays about $27,000 annually.

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