Christensen v. Palmer: One of these long-time volunteers is our pick for Richland council | Editorial

In the Richland City Council race between incumbent Terry Christensen and Kyle Palmer, voters have a choice between a committed, seasoned elected official and an astute challenger eager to serve his community.

While Palmer would be a focused, hard-working addition to the city council, we are giving the nod to Christensen and his years of experience.

Palmer is chair of the Richland Planning Commission, which is considered a solid stepping stone to city council.

He’s a real estate agent with valuable knowledge of how land deals and development work, and his motivation for running is admirable — he simply wants to serve.

Christensen is the current Mayor Pro Tem on the council, which means he manages city council meetings when Mayor Bob Thompson is absent.

The other six members of the city council voted for Christensen to take on that extra responsibility, so they must think highly of him.

And that says a lot.

Christensen is running for his third term on the council and is retired from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His focus is preserving Richland’s quality of life for future generations, and he spent 10 years serving on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission before he was elected to the city council.

He has been heavily involved in a variety of community organizations, including the Tri-City Girls Fast Pitch Softball Association, the Richland Rod and Gun Club, and the city’s tourism committee.

Palmer is a 2003 Hanford High School grad who left home and then returned, telling himself he wanted to give something back to his hometown.

He is a real estate agent with a graduate degree in real estate development, and his knowledge on that issue would be a plus if elected to the council.

Palmer said there is a lot of attention to new growth, but he would like to see the city focus more on the urban core. Palmer is concerned about the lack of affordable housing and also wants to make central Richland more livable and walkable.

Christensen says the city is working on following its strategic plan, and believes improvements have been made in central Richland.

For example, the city has been working on creating a corridor linking downtown to the Columbia River, and is revitalizing the Parkway. Christensen also noted the new City Hall recently has been completed, and emphasized the core of Richland is a priority for council members.

While we appreciate Palmer’s work on the planning commission, as well as his desire to serve others, we hope he continues that vital work in the community.

Christensen put in his volunteering dues a long time ago, and his knowledge is benefiting the city council. He deserves another term.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Terry Christensen for Richland City Council.


We will continue to make candidate recommendations before the election. Here is our list 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

Richland School Board, Director 3 – Rick Donahoe

Port of Kennewick Commission – Tom Moak

Richland City Council, Position 5 – Phillip Lemley

Richland City Council, Position 6 – Terry Christensen


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.