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Ten more Lower Valley residents file for public office

Today (Friday) marks the last day potential candidates can file for election to the more than 30 Lower Valley positions that are set to be on the ballot this fall.

Potential candidates have until 4:30 p.m. to make their way to the Yakima County Auditor's Office and officially file for election.

Thursday, 10 Lower Valley candidates did just that, throwing their hat into the ring for positions from Mabton to Grandview.

In Sunnyside, Carol Stone filed for position three on the Sunnyside City Council. The seat is currently filled by Councilman Bruce Ricks, who as of Thursday afternoon had not filed for the position.

Stone said she decided to run for election because she thinks the community needs better representation on the council.

"We need good sound government for a majority of the citizens and improvement in city services," Stone added.

Rocky Simmons, Mary Rita Rhode and Susanna Zamarron all filed Thursday for positions on the Sunnyside School Board.

Simmons filed for election to the director district one position, which is currently filled by Larry Pangle. Pangle filed for re-election on Tuesday.

Simmons said he filed because he's interested in making the Sunnyside School District one of the best districts around. He added that he has always been involved in the local schools and would like to have a chance to get even more involved.

Simmons added that he has been happy to see the district actively pursue bringing a technical skills center to the community.

Rhode filed for election to the director district two position, which is currently filled by long-time school board member Joanne Kilian. Kilian filed for re-election to the position on Monday.

Zamarron filed for election to the director district three position, which is currently filled by Lorenzo Garza. Garza filed for re-election on Tuesday.

In Grandview, Maria Antonia Armendariz filed for election to the Grandview City Council. Armendariz is running for the position one seat, which is currently held by Joan Souders. Souders, who has been on the council since 2003, filed for re-election to the position on Wednesday.

Armendariz, 22, said she decided to run for election because she's lived in Grandview her entire life and feels it's time to give back to the community.

She added that being a younger candidate she feels she could also bring a new perspective to the board and hopes to get more young people interested in what is happening in their community.

"I just want to make Grandview a better place to live," Armendariz said.

Paul Jepson filed for election to the Grandview School Board on Thursday, filing for the director district five position. The position is currently filled by Ron Fox, who as of Thursday afternoon had yet to file for re-election.

Jepson said he decided to file because he's always enjoyed working with children. He added that he has worked in the Mabton School District for the past three years and understands the needs of the Lower Valley youth.

"My focus is on ensuring we provide a safe and healthy environment for the students," Jepson said.

In Mabton, Jaime Alaniz filed for the position of mayor of the City of Mabton, a position currently held by David Conradt. As of Thursday afternoon, Conradt had yet to file for re-election.

Alaniz said he decided, after having lived in Mabton since 1967, that it was time to go forward and volunteer.

Alaniz said one of the things he would like to have happen in Mabton is the creation of more things to do for community youth. He said he would like to see more playground equipment placed in the parks, as well as basketball courts.

Alaniz added that he also feels the city should focus on bringing more businesses into town, something he feels is important.

Oping Hutson filed Thursday for election to position one on the Mabton City Council. Hutson said she decided to file because she is interested in doing something for her community.

Hutson, who served as the city's deputy clerk up until last year, said she wants to see what she can do to help the community.

She added that she would like to help increase communication between the city and its citizens.

Thursday afternoon, two candidates filed for election to position one, an at-large position, on the Mabton School Board. Jeanette Williams and Sandra Alaniz both filed for the position. The two aren't the only candidates for the seat, which is currently held by Peggy Zeebuyth. Rachel Ruelas filed for election to the position on Tuesday, while as of Thursday afternoon, Zeebuyth had yet to file for re-election.

Williams said she decided to run for the position because she has three children in the school district and because she sees a lot of good things happening in Mabton.

"I hope to bring a positive influence to the board," Williams said.

She added that she has recently seen test scores increasing in the district, which is something she would like to see continue.

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