Vicki Baker, Amanda McKinney and Nolan Wentz — those are the nominees from which Yakima County commissioners will choose to replace retiring Mike Leita in December.
Republican precinct officers met Thursday night at the Howard Johnson Plaza in Yakima to select three nominees from a pool of 11 candidates.
There were three rounds of votes. Baker was selected in the first round, with McKinney second and Wentz third.
Under state law, an incumbent’s party nominates three eligible candidates. Remaining commissioners make the final decision. Leita is retiring in December with a year left on his term.
Baker, who owns Grocery Outlet in Yakima with her husband, said she’s hired someone to take over her duties while she seeks Leita’s position.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas about the campaign and I’ve really been doing my homework on commission issues.”
Some of those include streamlining the permitting process for development and continuing efforts to improve water storage and supply.
McKinney, who owns a mortgage company in town and is a mother, said the commission’s representation needs to broaden.
“Generationally, I think it’s time to have representation from someone who has a family,” she said.
She’s also interested in seeing improvements in the permitting process for development as well and says there’s much opportunity for residential and commercial growth here.
She said there will be some development soon at the old Boise mill site, and that she wants to assure that it’s guided properly.
She wouldn’t divulge details.
“I will say I do not want it to look like a Walmart parking lot,” she said.
Wentz, a retired police officer, also said the permitting process for development needs attention, but he’d also like to see more cooperation between the city of Yakima and the county.
“So they don’t have duplication of services and save money,” he said.
He pointed to how the two governments combined their purchasing departments into one office.
He would also bring an emphasis on public safety and policing to the office, he said.
“Being able to help those areas move forward,” he said.
Wentz was happy with his nomination, which came near the end of the meeting.
“At least I can continue on and see where that leads us,” he said.
Out of the 79 precinct officers eligible to vote, 71 attended, said party leader Debra Manjarrez,
“I’m very pleased with the PCO turnout,” she said. “We had 71 out of 79, that’s a 90 percent turnout.”