Three of Sunnyside's four city council seats on the ballot this fall will be contested. That's according to the results of candidate filings with Yakima County last Friday, the last day for office-seekers to file.
Sam Ramirez, director of state and federal programs with the Sunnyside School District, is seeking the Sunnyside City Council, Dist. 2, seat now held by appointee Dean Broersma.
Broersma and Ramirez were among those seeking appointment to the post earlier this year.
"I want to be part of creating a positive change for Sunnyside," Ramirez says of filing last week. "I believe Sunnyside is such a small town that there's no reason for us to have the big city politics we have at times."
If elected, Ramirez says his focus would be on public safety, downtown revitalization and improving partnerships with cities and schools to develop more youth programs.
Also filing on Friday was Emanuel Santana Walle, who is seeking the Dist. 1 seat held by Theresa Hancock. Walle's filing means the city will have primary races for two of its four city council seats on the ballot.
The only Sunnyside City Council seat not contested is in Dist. 4, where appointee Francisco Guerrero filed to retain his seat last Friday. Like Broersma, Guerrero was appointed to his post in March of this year.
"It's been a good learning experience for myself," says Guerrero, manager of HAPO Community Credit Union in Sunnyside.
As for running unopposed, he added, "I just hope that means people in the district feel I'm the right person."
Looking ahead, Guerrero says his focus on council will be to help Sunnyside name a new city manager. "We want to get the right people in the right places," he said.
Friday's filings also mean there will be two city council races in Grandview. Martha Ramos will challenge incumbent Joan Souders for Grandview's Pos. 1 council seat, and Laura Mendoza is taking on incumbent Javier Rodriguez for his Pos. 2 post.
Also filing last Friday was Zulma Ochoa in a bid to retain her Grandview School Board Dist. 2 seat.
"I hope to support our teachers and create better opportunities for our students," says Ochoa, who is running unopposed.
The only Grandview, Mabton or Sunnyside seat that did not draw candidates was Mabton School Board's Pos. 1, at-large, seat currently held by Jeanette Williams.
Now in her second term of office, Williams indicated she would not seek re-election in advance of last week's filing period. With no one filing for the seat, the Mabton School Board will appoint someone to Williams' post after her term expires at the end of this year.