Mortgage lender Amanda McKinney announced her candidacy for Yakima County Commission Position 1 to more than 60 well-wishers Wednesday at her brother-in-law’s business, McKinney Glass in Union Gap.
The filing period for elected office isn’t until May, but McKinney said there’s no harm in an early announcement.
“I am a person of action — why wait?” she told the crowd. “When we get into the filing period in May, a long list of supporters will already be there.”
Position 1 is held by Vicki Baker, co-owner of the Grocery Outlet in Yakima, who took office earlier this month after she was appointed by commissioners. Commissioner Mike Leita retired from office in December with a year left on his term. Baker previously said she plans to run for the seat.
Applause erupted from the crowded lobby of the glass company as McKinney publicly announced her candidacy. McKinney said she would bring a perspective that represents a generation of young families and that improving government transparency is among her top priorities.
“If you are raising a young family, we want you to know there’s representation on the board,” she said.
She also touted her experience in business — she runs a mortgage lending company — and her family’s background in law enforcement as solid qualifications to serve as a commissioner.
McKinney was among three candidates nominated by the Republican Party in October to fill Leita’s vacancy. Commissioners Norm Childress and Ron Anderson appointed Baker over McKinney and retired longtime police officer Nolan Wentz to finish Leita’s term. Baker was the Republican Party’s first choice, with McKinney second and Wentz third.
“I think if I had gotten involved a little sooner, it would have been a different outcome,” she said of appointment process.
In brief interview after her announcement, McKinney expounded on her interest in seeing more government transparency. She said she’d like to see commission meetings livestreamed online and to scrap consent agenda items.
Business listed under consent agenda at commission meetings is decided without discussion, a process in which simple decisions are made rapidly to save time. But McKinney says the process has led to too many decisions being made without adequately informing residents.
“I think it doesn’t allow for dialogue to occur,” she said. “I think the constituents in the county need to know why a decision was made.”
She also said she’d like to see the county be more active on social media. McKinney pointed to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, which uses social media to send out public safety alerts and other information about suspects, arrest and accidents.
“When you see their posts, you get a real feel for what those deputies are experiencing when providing public safety,” she said. “They’re a perfect example of what I’d like to do with the county commission.”
She also explained how her family background gives her an inside perspective on law enforcement needs. She recalled how her dad, a longtime Oregon State Patrol trooper, often patrolled the area from Cascade Locks on the Columbia River to Pendleton, Ore., alone.
“I still remember his call number — 5321,” she said.