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The race for the mayor of Kittitas featuring John Camarata, Richard Hink, Jr. and Holly Padjen-Downey appears on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.

The top two vote recipients will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

The following are the candidates’ responses to questions submitted by the Daily Record.

Holly Padjen-Downey (Beard)

Years resided in Kittitas County: 32 years

Town of residence: City of Kittitas

What is a professional/personal experience that has helped prepare you to serve as mayor of Kittitas?

I’ve been a lifetime volunteer and have served as council woman in the city of Kittitas for 2 1/2 years as well as a leader and volunteer contributor in a variety of capacities and various organizations

What do you think is the most important function the mayor performs for the city of Kittitas?

Our city desperately needs strong leadership, something we’ve been lacking for far too long.

Leaders build other leaders and aren’t afraid of challenges. In order to build the infrastructure we so desperately need strong leadership and the willingness to learn and grow is key.

What is the most significant challenge facing the city of Kittitas over the next five to ten years and how would you address it?

In my mind the three major management issues we face is the high turn over we’ve had for both our employees and city officials, lack of transparency and public communication, and growth management.

I believe these three issues go hand in hand and through better communication, a focus on transparency with our public and our employees and through the implementation of a healthy plan for growth in our downtown core, we will come away from the times of simply survival as a city and begin to thrive.

When a city thrives it’s becomes healthy and a place where great employees and community members want to stay and be involved for the long haul.

John Camarata

Years resided in Kittitas County: 74 years

Town of residence: City of Kittitas

What is a professional/personnel experience that has helped prepare you to serve as Mayor of Kittitas?

My present position of mayor, I have served on the City Council, I was a custodial lead at Central Washington University, I ran a construction business, and I served as a Personnel Management Specialist in the Army.

What do you think is the most important function the mayor performs for the City of Kittitas?

The mayor is the representative of the city. He is also the city manager of the city. He is the personnel manager of the city.

What is the most significant challenge facing the city of Kittitas over the next five to ten years and how would you address it?

The most significant challenge facing the city of Kittitas is Water. We are working to upgrade our water delivery system, and at the same time we are looking for water rights and looking for grants to build more water storage tanks.

Richard D. Hink Jr.

Years resided in Kittitas County: 40

Town of residence: Kittitas

What is a professional/personal experience that has helped prepare you to serve as mayor of Kittitas?

I have lived my whole life in Kittitas volunteering for the fire department and for projects such as the sewer line project when I was a teenager. Living 40 years in the town of Kittitas I have a good knowledge of the citizens and the city’s history good and bad giving me an educated look at what needs to be done to keep the city moving forward.

What do you think the most important function the mayor preforms for the city of Kittitas?

The mayor is the manager of the city. Working with the policies set forth by the city council he must mange the day to day and the team of employees in order to keep the city moving forward and working in good order for the citizens as ultimately they are the one’s that employee the mayor, council and staff.

What is the most significant challenge facing the city of Kittitas over the next 10 years and how would you address it?

This is a hard question to answer as Kittitas has a large list of issues that need addressed from infrastructure, Water rights and bringing in revenue. All these issues are major and must be addressed in a way that prevents further raising the water and sewer prices on the citizens of Kittitas. I believe it all starts with proper management and responsible budgeting. In the end the mayor must work close with staff, council and the citizens of Kittitas to resolve these issues.

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