Candidates tout abilities

Grandview’s Norm Childress said would best at representing the Lower Valley on the Yakima County Commission.

County Commissioner District No. 3 candidates to speak at the forum hosted by the Lower Valley Republicans at Bon Vino’s in Sunnyside last Friday morning had varying qualities to tout about themselves.

All of the candidates said Yakima County is not business friendly. Some said it is not user-friendly in general. Attending were Lisa Homer, Summer Derrey, Jose Trevino, Stephen Changala and Norm Childress. Not in attendance were Susan Soto Palmer and Brent Knautz.

“The permitting process is not good. I’m an expert on that,” said Grandview’s Norm Childress, who worked in permitting for Benton County for 37 years.

Granger Mayor Jose Trevino said he relies on “common sense conservative principles” to solve problems.

Touting himself as an expert, Stephen Changala of Terrace Heights said: “We have water problems in the county. It’s not shortage. It’s adjudication.”

Homer, a resident of Terrace Heights, said she understands the “dynamics of the farmers and the workers”

Stressing her belief in a representative form of government, Derrey said: “If I’m elected, the voter is in charge.”

All the candidates were against the idea of a sanctuary county — a national controversy — but their answers to the question had some variance.

Trevino took the topic head-on, saying: “I would not agree with that. We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws.”

“I’m against it for lots of reasons,” Derrey said, but she didn’t list them.

Homer was against the idea, but she said law enforcement throughout the county treads lightly on immigration issues. “We don’t ask anybody about anything,” she said.

“I don’t think we need one more controversial thing,” Childress said. “I don’t think I would be for it. I just don’t like it.”

Changala said the controversy is contrived, by the Democrats, to try and convince voters that President Trump is a racist.

“We all have friends who are of the Hispanic culture,” he said.

An audience member brought up the question of water metering in the county, saying the program is unfair because all cases are not treated the same.

Childress disagreed with that assessment, Changala blamed its implementation on County Commissioner Mike Leida, saying Leida spearheaded the campaign, and Derrey said: “Yakima County is not business friendly in any way.”

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