We've seen equally matched races before. Sometimes it's because both candidates were highly qualified, and other times it's because neither one deserves the office.
In our view, the race between Rick Jansons and Jerome Delvin for Benton County Commissioner is as close as it gets. The good news is voters will be well-served regardless of which man takes office.
This seat on the commission is open because Leo Bowman is retiring, so although both candidates for his seat are active in our political system, neither of them is the incumbent in this race.
Because our state's top-two system allows the highest vote-getters to advance regardless of party affiliation, both candidates are Republicans. Both have a proven history of public service. Both are well-informed and current on Benton County issues.
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Both candidates are disillusioned with the current county commission meetings, which they say range in length from somewhere between seven minutes to half an hour. And both have committed to working for better public access and more input in those meetings.
Jansons has been on the Richland School Board for 11 years, where he serves as president. In that position, he helps manage a $103 million budget and is accountable for those taxpayer dollars. It's given him skills we need in all of our elected officials.
He's also a businessman and understands what we need to get the economy back on track.
For the past several months, he has been a key part of the turnaround group to get the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center back on track.
Jansons makes things happen and would do a good job for Benton County.
Delvin has represented the Mid-Columbia in Olympia for the past 18 years. He spent 10 years in the House of Representatives and eight years in the Senate. He has been an effective legislator. In fact, a downside to voting for him is that we will lose his voice in our state Capitol. (Although he says he's ready to stay home for a while and doesn't plan to run again for his Senate seat regardless of the outcome of this race.)
During Delvin's tenure in the Legislature, he has been a key cog who gets things moving on our behalf. He's also been an important connector who brings people and ideas together.
Even though we are impressed with Jansons and believe he would be a first-rate county commissioner, we narrowly are giving our nod to Delvin.
The nudge for us is the relationships Delvin has built in our community and around the state during the past 18 years.
Whoever is elected to this seat will be taking Bowman's place. Bowman also has been a connector. He is a people person and has worked hard to foster relationships in Olympia. We will miss that when he retires and believe Delvin is the best candidate to fill the hole that Bowman will leave.
The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board recommends Jerome Delvin for Benton County Board of Commissioners.