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City manager firing sparks races for Sunnyside City Council seats

So far two of the four Sunnyside City Council members who voted to fire City Manager Eric Swansen this past Tuesday, resulting in two administrative resignations, will face competition this year.

Candidates Don Vlieger and Jason Raines both cited the firing in their decision to seek office.

Raines is challenging Councilwoman Theresa Hancock for the district 1 seat.

Raines is a stay-at-home father with previous experience that includes serving as an officer in the U.S. Army and working for Fortune 500 companies. Raines was among the applicants seeking appointment to council earlier this year when Bruce Epps resigned from the city council.

Hancock, who voted for Swansen's firing, served on the Sunnyside Planning Commission prior to serving on the city council. She and her husband Loran own the Funny Farm liquor store.

Vlieger is opposing Councilwoman Carol Stone for the district 3 seat.

Vlieger owns the Sunnyside Inn Bed and Breakfast and has previously served on the Sunnyside City Council. He was also a candidate for the recent 15th District legislative seat opening.

Stone, who also approved Swansen's firing, is in her first term of office as city council member and is a longtime volunteer in the Sunnyside community.

The other two council members who gave the thumbs up for the firing were mayor pro tem Jim Restucci and Jesse Hernandez Jr. Neither have filed yet to retain their seat.

In other filing activity yesterday, Pam Horner filed in a bid to retain her Grandview City Council, position 3 seat.

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