Get to know your candidates

The Douglas County Empire Press posed three questions to candidates in contested races within the Empire Press circulation area that will be decided in the Nov. 7 general election.

Candidates for Eastmont Metropolitan Park District, Commissioner 5; East Wenatchee Water District, Commissioner 1; Brewster School Board, Director 3; Eastmont School Board, Director 4; City of East Wenatchee, Council Position 3; and City of Rock Island, Council Positions 1 and 4 address issues we believe to be of importance to our readers.

Each candidate’s responses, with a 300-word limit, is in his or her own words. They appear in order of filing date for each race.

 

Eastmont Metropolitan Park District, Commissioner 5 (nonpartisan, 4-year unexpired term)

 

Lauren J. Miehe

Lauren Miehe (Provided photo)

What is your vision for Eastmont Parks providing the best service for residents of Douglas County?

My vision is to keep the parks as clean and well-maintained as possible while continuing to offer the various important activities and programs to the public. I want the residents of Douglas County to take pride in our public parks because then they will use them often. Whether it be for social gatherings or a morning stroll in the park, I can see our parks acting as a medium to bring families and communities closer together.

How would you propose generating more community interest in the parks?

The reason I am running for Park Commissioner 5 is because I want to give back to the community by being more involved. My involvement and dedication to these important public spaces will hopefully inspire others to get more involved in the community while taking advantage of our great parks. Our parks play an important role of allowing people to enjoy the outdoors, which in itself has many benefits to individuals and families. I urge the residents of Douglas County to see the value our parks play in creating a strong community. After all, Parks = Community.

How do you see parks driving the tourism industry for the area?

When our parks are well-maintained, people will gravitate towards using them. The Wenatchee Valley is a unique area, surrounded by beautiful scenery and filled with friendly people. Tourists will flock to this area for many reasons, including the use of our public spaces, which further shows the importance of preserving and enhancing our parks for the generations to come. If we work towards giving our parks a great reputation tourists will visit, which will help our community and local businesses thrive.

 

Meet the Candidate: Lauren J. Miehe

Age: 37

City: East Wenatchee

Work History: General manager at a local technology company; formerly the senior sales manager at a telecommunications company.

Education: Olympic College (Kitsap County).

Personal: I enjoy reading old books, raising my two sons, camping and exploring the Wenatchee Valley.

 

Brandon Mauseth

Brandon Mauseth did not submit responses by deadline to be included in this coverage.

 

 

East Wenatchee Water District, Commissioner 1 (nonpartisan, 6-year term)

 

Nick Warner

Nick Warner (Provided photo)

What motivates you to be on the commission?

My motivation is to secure the cost and quality of our water resource. The quality and cost of our water take a tremendous effort and foresight to achieve. Most of us take this reliable system for granted until there is a problem. As a lifelong resident of the area, I want to have the highest quality water system available at a reasonable price. We have a good team employed at the water district and need to provide good leadership to engage the community, and help EWWD achieve our goals.

How can the district deliver the best service for its customers? 

Long term financial and operational planning allow the consistent execution for the water district. A big congratulations to the EWWD for being voted the best tasting water in the state during the Evergreen Rural Water of Washington fall conference. We now face large scale line replacements that will be at the heart of delivering the best service. Financial conservatism is very important to all of us as customers and we want the best value for our rates!

Looking ahead, what issues does the district face?

The district has serious and immediate issues. The district has a great report on their website that I highly encourage voters to view that highlights real shortfalls and large costs that will need to be dealt with in the near term. The district has increased rates that are currently and will continue to affect homeowners and businesses. There is currently a study being undertaken to possibly raise meter rates again. We need a voice that can competently lead and that is professionally inspiring to join the commission.

 

Meet the Candidate: Nick Warner

Age: 35

City: East Wenatchee

Work History: Currently in construction management, Salcido Connection Inc., for over 10 years; currently an entrepreneur, Salcido Enterprises LLC, for over 10 years.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Facilities Management, Brigham Young University.

Personal: We love our valley and want to keep it the best place to live and raise a family. I am a proud Eastmont High School graduate and live in East Wenatchee with my beautiful wife and our four wonderful children. We are grateful to all those who have made our area great and want to leave that same legacy for those who follow. We appreciate your support through the primary election and ask for it again in the general election. Thank you for your support!

 

John D. Sterk

John Sterk (provided photo)

What motivates you to be on the commission?

Having previously served on the East Wenatchee Water District Commission, I have a desire to serve my community as I have been involved as a pastor and city council member.

How can the district deliver the best service for its customers? 

By continual planning and providing a vision for the future.

Looking ahead, what issues does the district face?

By continuing infrastructure improvements, the district can continue to provide the quality and quantity of water to its ratepayers.

 

Meet the Candidate: John D. Sterk

Age: 63

City: East Wenatchee

Work History: 36 years as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in East Wenatchee; two years as an East Wenatchee Waterville District commissioner; almost two years as a City of East Wenatchee council member.

Education: Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in theology.

Personal: Married for 40 years; three children, one in heaven; pastor of Bethel Baptist Church of East Wenatchee for 36 years.

 

 

Brewster School District, Director 3 (nonpartisan, 4-year term)

 

Maria A. Maldonado

Maria A. Maldonado (Provided photo)

 Why did you decide to run for school board?

As an alumni, parent and community member, I take pride and want to be involved in the needs of our town. I want to be the voice for parents and the Hispanic community and assist faculty and students.

 

Meet the Candidate: Maria A. Maldonado

Age: 50

City: Brewster

Work History: 28 years of customer service experience; 14 years as a WorkSource specialist with the State of Washington; previously employed for 13 years as a bilingual medical receptionist and pharmacy enrollment specialist with family health centers.

Education: Brewster High School graduate in 1985.

Personal: Married for 28 years to Gustavo Maldonado; 12-year-old son Nicholas Maldonado who is currently attending middle school in Brewster.

 

Clark Cooper

Clark Cooper did not submit responses by deadline to be included in this coverage.

 

 

Eastmont School Board, Director 4, At-Large (nonpartisan, 4-year term)

 

John M. Brangwin

John Brangwin (Provided photo)

What are the biggest challenges facing the school district?

Maximizing the dollars available is always the biggest challenge. There are other challenges, of course. I few I’d like to focus on are spending more time on educating students and less time on standardized testing. Renaming schools named for Civil War generals. Getting kids more sleep. Adding a charter or magnet school. Teaching foreign languages to younger grades. And leveling students to maximize what each student can learn.

  1. How would you propose to get parents and others more involved in the school system?

As a parent of a sophomore, I find the district’s communication hit and miss. If parents don’t know what’s going on, it’s hard for them to be involved. As a board member, we guide the district staff, not micromanage them. I would ask the administration to keep parent involvement a high priority.

What long-terms plans would best serve the school district and the students?

I want to address the issues I’ve identified as challenges. Those challenges are “big picture” concepts appropriate for the board to lead on and ask the administration, faculty and staff to implement.

 

Meet the Candidate: John Brangwin

Age: 45

City: East Wenatchee

Work history: Attorney since 1997; small business owner since 2002 when he co-founded Woods & Brangwin PLLC in Wenatchee.

Education: Juris Doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law; bachelor’s degree in law and justice, Central Washington University; graduated from Sammamish High School.

Personal: Married to Anne; one daughter, Marie, 15, who attends Eastmont schools.

 

Dave Piepel

Dave Piepel (Provided photo)

What are the biggest challenges facing the school district?

Providing a high quality education to all students with limited resources. Schools are being asked to do things that take away from the core mission of educating our students. As a district we need to be planning and preparing for the growth we will see in the future. This will include purchasing property and building new facilities for this future growth.

How would you propose to get parents and others more involved in the school system?

By customizing each student’s education you can invite each family to get meaningfully involved in planning their child’s learning path. Engaging parents in a partnership to design and individualize a plan for their student will create a deep connection and commitment. Expanding our thinking to include our community as potential teachers and mentors for our students. We have an untapped resource just waiting to be asked.

What long-terms plans would best serve the school district and the students?

Engaging our staff, students and community in an authentic conversation about what schools should look like for our current and future students. Innovation and meaningful change happens best when it comes from local leadership and listening to key stakeholders. We have many talented people that live in our community. Whether it is academics or extracurricular activities, we have the opportunity to involve our best in our community to help assist in developing successful programs that will focus on positive life lessons being taught and working as a team to do great things. One idea could be setting up various counsels that specialize in these unique areas to help build sustainable, successful programs. If we produce successful programs, I am confident our community will support and get more involved in our schools and extracurricular activities. This will result in schools and a community filled with school spirit and pride. I believe we can and will produce students with great character, values and a mindset that they can be successful in whatever they choose to do.

 

Meet the Candidate: Dave Piepel

Age: 48

City: East Wenatchee

Work history: Orchardist, 1993 to present; owner and operator of trucking, cold storage and packing businesses, 2013 to present; field consultant for Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee, 1993 to 2013; field consultant for Regal Fruit in Tonasket, 1992 to 1993.

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University, 1992; Bachelor of Science degree in Tree Fruit Production from Wenatchee Valley College, 1990; graduate of Eastmont High School, 1988.

Personal: Married 16 years to Tracy Piepel; daughter Kaitlyn Piepel (11), daughter Madison Piepel (15), son Nick Fukuzawa (21), daughter Taylor Fukuzawa (23); community service with Men’s WORD Ministry, member of Sage Hills Church, volunteer coach for Eastmont Parks and Recreation and PTA event volunteer.

 

 

City of East Wenatchee, Council Position 3 (nonpartisan, 4-year term)

 

Chuck Johnson

Chuck Johnson (Provided photo)

What are the most critical issues facing the city?

The financial stability needs to improve some so that the city will have the financial ability to address the city projects below and still be financially responsible. The cities, counties and State of Washington need to be full partners in meeting the financial needs of the communities.

What city projects should take priority over the next year?

The City of East Wenatchee is long overdue for an upgrade on our public works buildings. The buildings date back to the old school and most have no potable water and are hugely inefficient. Tenth Street N.E. from Eastmont east to Kentucky needs storm drains, sidewalks and repaving. The Gateway Project on the corner of 9th Street N.E. and Valley Mall Parkway needs to be finished as a classy welcome to East Wenatchee.

What are your thoughts about future development in East Wenatchee?

East Wenatchee needs to prepare for long-term growth east toward the airport first and north toward Odabashian Bridge second. The infrastructure needs of improved roads, water and sewer capability are all essential to future development in East Wenatchee.

 

Meet the Candidate: Chuck Johnson

Age: 73

City: East Wenatchee

Work history: Owned and operated Wenatchee Office Supply, 1978 to 1999; relationship officer for Pacific Northwest Bank, 2000 to 2002; regional emergency response coordinator for the Chelan-Douglas Health District, 2002 to 2009; retired in 2009.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business from Seattle University.

Personal: Vietnam veteran; a retired lieutenant colonel; past president of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce; past president of the Wenatchee Central Lions; past president of the Wenatchee Downtown Association; past chairman of the board of Link; past chairman of the board of the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

 

Morgan Fletcher

Morgan Fletcher did not submit responses by deadline to be included in this coverage.

 

 

City of Rock Island, Council Position 1 (nonpartisan, 2-year unexpired term)

 

Cameron Marchmonte

Cameron Marchmonte (Provided photo)

Why do you want to be on the council?

In 2015, my wife and I decided to make Rock Island our home. We plan to raise our two daughters in this community which compels me to be involved with its development.

How can Rock Island manage its growth and development?

By limiting the rate of urban development to mitigate the stresses on our public services, encourage the development of affordable housing to curb gentrification and preserve open space.

What should be Rock Island’s top priorities?

Water quality, expanding public services, commercial development.

 

Meet the Candidate: Cameron Marchmonte

Age: 28

City: Rock Island

Work History: Supervisor at Columbia Colstor.

Education: Cascade Christian Academy; Walla Walla University.

 

Ray Pearson

Ray Pearson did not submit responses by deadline to be included in this coverage.

 

 

City of Rock Island, Council Position 4 (nonpartisan, 4-year term)

 

Jana C. Howard

Jana Howard (Provided photo)

Why do you want to be on the council?

I am running against a long-seated council person. I feel that she does not represent her city residents, or care to get to know them. I am a regular attendee of the city council meetings and have brought many items to the council and made suggestions for resolution. I have brought people in to meet the council and have attended meetings with the Douglas County commissioners and the North Central Washington Beekeepers Association, after which I brought details of the meetings to the council.

How can Rock Island manage its growth and development?

Rock Island can manage its growth and development by keeping the residents of the city in mind. When it’s all said and done, the people that live out here will have to deal with whatever the city sees fit to allow.

What should be Rock Island’s top priorities?

We must plan for the people, the cars, the children and pets that will be moving to Rock Island. We need our own city police, we need a manned fire station and I would love to see an off-leash dog park built for our canine residents. We have to maintain the wilderness areas around the ponds, and work to get all the residents of the city on the sewer system. As Rock Island continues to annex property and grow as a city, we have to reach out to all the residents and make them feel welcome in Rock Island.

 

Meet the Candidate: Jana C. Howard

Age: 55

City: Rock Island resident since 1995.

Work History: I own a private housekeeping business.

Education: High school graduate; two years of accounting and account management at Wenatchee Valley College.

Personal: I never thought I would be running for a political office. I want to see the city residents better represented.

 

Mariah Monesmith Kreider

Mariah Monesmith Kreider declined to participate in this coverage.