Candidate's Pasco residency questioned

Franklin County commissioner candidate Mark Faith makes no secret that he moved to Pasco in May so he could run for the Position 1 seat in next week's primary election.

The 47-year-old candidate says chose to rent a room in a friend's home on Road 92 to satisfy Washington's law requiring residency in the district he wants to represent.

"I called the (county's) elections department and asked what was required," he said.

Dianna Garza Killian, Franklin County elections administrator, said Faith did what he needed to do and he did not run afoul with the law.

Faith is irked that some in the community are making an issue of his decision to move into the district and run for election.

"I met the requirements as told to me by elections (officials). And I looked at it economically," said Faith, who said moving his entire family and selling his West Richland home would be unwise at this point in the elections process.

Faith said he is well connected in Franklin County, where he has worked as a county building inspector for seven years, and is familiar with county issues, which should matter more than where he has lived.

"I will rent (a room) until after the election, then if I win, I will get an apartment in Pasco," Faith said, adding that at some point he expects to put his West Richland home up for sale.

"There is no gotcha," he said, noting that he has told every reporter who has asked about his decision to relocate so he could be a candidate.

State law requires a person filing for office to be, at the time of filing, a registered voter.

Killian said Faith met those requirements.

Faith registered as a Franklin County voter March 20, using 3620 Road 92 in Pasco as his address.

He filed as a candidate for commissioner May 14.

Faith said he has followed the law.

"I say let the state of Washington tell me what I did was illegal. If people are not happy with the law, then change the law," he said.

"You could register a change of address and file as a candidate the same day. If it is something people want to run for, the law allows for it," Killian said.

Another candidate for a Franklin County commission seat did exactly that.

Patrick Barnett, a candidate for Position 2, changed his registered voter residency and filed for office on the same day. He's running against three other candidates in the primary.

Barnett registered as a Franklin County resident voter May 18, with an address at 131 Nila Road in Eltopia. He previously was an active registered voter in Benton County with an address on 30th Avenue in Kennewick.

Barnett filed as a candidate for Position 2 the same day, May 18.

Washington also requires anyone with a driver's license who changes residency to file a change of address within 10 days of that change.

Faith told the Herald he has not done that.

Christine Anthony, spokesperson for the state Department of Licensing in Olympia, said the law requires changes of addresses also to be done within 10 days for vehicle registration.

Ballots are due for the primary election Tuesday.