Candidate forum for various positions planned Thursday in Richland

A forum featuring candidates on the ballot in next month's primary is planned this week in Richland.

The Herald is sponsoring the public forum along with Charter Communications and the League of Women Voters of Benton and Franklin Counties.

It's at 6 p.m. Thursday at Chief Joseph Middle School, 504 Wilson St.

There's no admission charge.

Candidates invited to the forum include those running for the state Senate seat representing the 8th Legislative District, two Port of Kennewick commissioner seats, spots on the Richland City Council and the Richland School Board, and the West Richland mayor position.

Election day is Aug. 6.

Ballots will be mailed this week.

In the race for the 8th District seat, Sen. Sharon Brown is hoping to fend off challengers Phillip Lemley and Tony Benegas.

All three are running as Republicans.

Brown, a former Kennewick city councilwoman, was appointed in January after former Sen. Jerome Delvin stepped down to become a Benton County commissioner. Lemley and Benegas are both local city councilmen -- Lemley in Richland and Benegas in West Richland.

Two Port of Kennewick commissioner races also will be narrowed down in the primary.

In the race for the District 1 position, incumbent Don Barnes faces challengers John Givens, Danette Layne and Barry Bush. And Gene Wagner is vying to keep his District 2 seat against challengers Thomas Moak and Leo Bowman.

Three people are facing off for the Richland City Council seat being vacated by John Fox, who isn't seeking reelection. They are Stan Bensussen, Gregory L. Jones and Melody Reed.

The candidates for the school board position are Jimmie D. Chastain II, Heather Cleary and Ron Higgins. Cleary is the incumbent.

And the West Richland mayor race has drawn candidates Brent Gerry, Nancy Aldrich and Merle N. Johnson. The current mayor, Donna Noski, isn't seeking re-election.