Franklin County will get a new commissioner next year. See who the Herald recommends

Republican Clint Didier and Democrat Zahra Roach are running for Franklin County Commission.
Republican Clint Didier and Democrat Zahra Roach are running for Franklin County Commission. Herald File

Franklin County voters are looking for a change in leadership.

Rick Miller, a longtime incumbent on the Franklin County Commission, did not make it out of the primary election in August, so we have two new candidates vying for his post – well-known Republican Clint Didier and Democrat Zahra Roach, an emerging political newcomer.

Both are dedicated people who will bring new energy to the commission. Didier is extremely popular and respected in his district. If elected, he will be a powerful voice for government transparency and efficiency, and we like that.

However, Roach brings a fresh perspective that doesn’t exist on the commission already. She has new ideas, and we would like to see what she could do for the county if given the chance – our pick in this race is Roach.

Roach moved to Pasco as a little girl. She went through local schools – Pasco High School, Columbia Basin College and Washington State University Tri-Cities.

She became a teacher and spent seven years working in the Pasco School District, which included a three-year stint at New Horizons High School teaching at-risk youth.

Now a full-time mother for her three children, Roach is dedicated to public service. She has served on the Pasco Planning Commission since 2011 and is the current chair. Roach also has served for three years on the Children’s Development Center board, which is the lead agency for Eastern Washington in addressing early learning issues.

Her experience on the planning commission would be an asset to the county. She strikes us as someone who keeps an open mind and listens to all sides of an issue, and that trait could help strengthen the relationship between city and county officials.

As an example, she said the planning commission invited rural residents to discuss urban boundaries and development plans in order to prevent hard feelings. Her belief in reaching out and communicating to people would serve her well on the commission.

She said she listens to the audio recordings of the commission meetings when she can, but she thinks meetings should be scheduled beyond Tuesday mornings so more people can attend. Roach also said she knew running as a Democrat would be an uphill battle, but it would have been dishonest to run as a Republican just to get elected when she is more aligned with the Democratic party.

We respect her candor. While the county commission race is partisan, party politics don’t play much of a role at the local level. Common sense and integrity matter more.

Didier, though, is known for his hard right-wing political views after running for office at the state and federal levels the past several years.

The Eltopia farmer graduated from Connell High School, Columbia Basin College and Portland State University. He played professional football for the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay packers in the 1980s, and won two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins.

Didier clearly cares deeply about the region, and issues that affect farmers and the pocketbooks of residents. To his credit, he frequently attends Franklin County Commission meetings.

He has been a frequent critic of county government, and would advocate for more public discussion, and more dialogue with the elected heads of other county departments.

“It’s obvious,” he said, that voters are not happy with the commission, and that’s why he and Roach are now headed for the general election.

He said the county is in disarray, the commissioners make too much money and they hold too many executive sessions behind closed doors.

As a county commissioner, Didier would work for his constituents – no question.

Roach has similar concerns about the county. But her conciliatory nature and experience with city planning would add something unique to the commission, and we would like to see what she could accomplish at the county level.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Zahra Roach for Franklin County Commission.