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Newcomer to Sunnyside seek's mayor's seat on council

Three more Lower Yakima Valley citizens have thrown in their names to run for local government positions in the coming fall elections.

Grandview City Councilman Jesse Palacios filed to run for re-election for position 7. This will be he his second consecutive term, but Palacios has been involved with Grandview politics since 1984. He has served as a councilman before and was mayor of Grandview from 1991 to 1995.

"I've always had a passion in trying to help improve Grandview," Palacios said. "I've got experience and still have that drive."

Palacios said if re-elected he wants to concentrate on neighborhood improvement projects, specifically streets. He also wants to help keep some neighborhoods from deteriorating.

"I think that will help protect property values," Palacios said.

Also seeking re-election is Vera Zavala, who currently holds the position 5 seat on the Mabton City Council. If re-elected this will be Zavala's fifth term with the city.

"I like my community and want to help anyway I can," she said. "I'm a people person. I try to help them."

She's looking forward to seeing the completion of the renovation of the city's wastewater treatment plant.

"I was born and raised here and I know I will die here," Zavala said. "I want to do anything I can to improve the community for the people and the children."

In Sunnyside, Robert Van Billiard will challenge current Sunnyside Mayor Jim Restucci for position 6 on the Sunnyside City Council. Restucci has yet to file for re-election.

Van Billiard has lived in Sunnyside for just over two years and believes it's a great place to live and work.

"We have many challenges facing us here in Sunnyside and I'm looking forward to working with the council to solve these issues," Van Billiard said in an email to the Daily Sun News. "The city has taken a great step forward by supporting the police department's gang initiative. I agree that together we can make Sunnyside the safest place to live and I want to be a part of making that happen."

He said he will begin knocking on doors in Sunnyside to talk with people soon so he can meet as many of the residents as possible.

"I want people to know that when it comes to keeping Sunnyside's safety our top priority, they can count on me."

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