Donahoe v. Bishop: Here’s our choice for Richland School Board | Editorial


Rick Donahoe is the kind of Richland School Board member who tries to attend every school open house at the beginning of the school year.

As the year continues, he can be found doing everything from working in kindergarten classes to helping drama students build a set for their next play.

He is a hands-on volunteer who helps in the schools because he wants to work collaboratively with everyone — parents, teachers, students, staff and fellow school board members.

Reflecting on this summer’s departure of the district’s expected school superintendent, Donahoe was candid with the Tri-City Herald Editorial Board about how high expectations for the new leader turned to concern.

Donahoe is an up-front elected official, and we find that refreshing. We also admire his background.

He said he started out as a middle-school English teacher in Virginia, and realized it wasn’t for him, so he went back to school and became an engineer. He later earned a master’s in management and retired after 20 years working at the Hanford site.

When he was elected to the school board in 2009, he wanted to learn more about the education system, so he went back to school to get another graduate degree. This one was in education leadership with a focus on special education.

We think he would make a great school superintendent, but that’s not the job he wants. He enjoys being on the school board and it is obvious he spends time caring for the kids in Richland.

We recommend voters re-elect him.

His opponent is Matthew Bishop. He’s had two children graduate from the Richland School District and one is entering high school. According to the Voters’ Guide, he said he offers a fresh voice, and “won’t be told to stand down.”

Unfortunately, we were not able to meet with Bishop. He decided not to participate because he took exception to our choice in another Richland School Board race.

He was extremely upset by the choice we made. We don’t expect people to agree with all our recommendations, but we would hope they would still see the value in participating in the discussion.

Donahoe has the experience, the time, the patience and the quiet passion to help Richland kids. The school district is lucky to have him.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Rick Donahoe for Richland School Board.

Recommendations so far

Tri-City area voters soon will find election ballots in their mailboxes, and they will have until Nov. 5 to return them.

For those who have already done their homework and want to vote right away, we say go for it.

For others who are just starting to pay attention to who is running for office, we can offer you a start to your research.

In recent weeks we have interviewed candidates in 20 contested races.

We debated and then decided our recommendations. We’ve published some of them already, but there are more to come in the next two weeks.

For the first time, our online readers can watch video statements from the candidates. We also offer links in the editorial to campaign material from the candidates so you can easily find more information about them.

We hope our candidate recommendations launch discussion and provide an insight you can’t get anywhere else.

This year, the quality of candidates has been, for the most part, truly impressive.

In several races we wish there was a way we could recommend both contenders.

But since we can’t, here are our picks so far:

Pasco City Council, Position 5 – David Milne

Pasco City Council, Position 7 – Zahra Roach

Kennewick City Council, Position 5 – Chuck Torelli

Kennewick City Council, Position 6 – Brad Beauchamp

Richland School Board, Director 4 – Jay Clough

Richland School Board, Director 5 – Jill Oldson

Port of Kennewick – Tom Moak


Behind Our Election Recommendations

Who decides the recommendations?

Members of The Tri-City Herald editorial board interview political candidates, as well as advocates and opponents of ballot measures. The editorial board is comprised of experienced opinion journalists and community members, and is separate from The Herald’s newsroom. Conversations are on the record.

What does the recommendation process entail?

Whenever possible, The Herald editorial board meets with opposing candidates at the same time. The questions are largely focused on a candidate’s qualifications and goals, and the hour-long session resembles a conversation more than a scripted interview. The editorial board then discuss the candidates in each race and decides who to recommend. In the case of ballot measures, we strive to have representatives from both sides of the issue in the room at the same time so we can get past the political rhetoric and obtain firm answers. Board members seek to reach a consensus on our recommendations, but not every decision is unanimous.

Is the editorial board partisan?

No. In making recommendations, members of the editorial board consider which candidates are well prepared to represent their constituents — not whether they agree with us or belong to a particular political party. We evaluate candidates’ relevant experience, their readiness for office, their depth of knowledge of key issues, their understanding of public policy and their ability to work with the current board . We’re seeking candidates who are thoughtful and who offer more than just party-line talking points. The editorial board will endorse both Republicans and Democrats.

Why are the editorials unsigned?

Our election recommendations reflect the collective views of The Herald’s editorial board — not just the opinion of one writer. Board members all discuss and contribute ideas to each editorial.