Bárbara del Mar Robles

Bárbara del Mar Robles

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Bárbara del Mar Robles announced her candidacy for the Ellensburg City Council position 3.

Robles came to Washington in 2016 to serve as a legal advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in Everett and Monroe and has been at Central Washington University since 2019 where she initially served as academic advisor and adjunct professor at the Political Science Department.

She is currently serving as Director of Teacher Academies at the College of Education and Professional Studies.

Her platform, she said, will include special attention to economic growth and development; focusing on initiatives for K-12 students, students pursuing higher education, and affordable housing.

“I think what makes me different than other candidates is my background. It started in education. I went to law school, then I went on to focus on public health,” she said. “My views are very different, especially when it comes to education.

“What I bring to the table is really focusing on our youth and how we provide alternatives to really plan for our future.”

The current pandemic with health and safety issues are another strong portion of her platform.

“I believe in prioritizing public health in putting people first,” she said. “The first is community health and recovery. We need to be able to vaccinate our community in moving forward.

“We need to start learning how to live with this new reality and emerge stronger. We need to learn every possible approach to that.”

Her focus, she said, is public health and COVID-19 recovery, with special attention on small business owners and their employees. She came to Ellensburg and has served in all the county school districts as a substitute teacher, and as an interpreter and translator for Spanish-speaking families.

“I believe we have a number of different options to boost the skills and potential of our youth and other pockets of our community,” she said. “Four-year colleges are not always the reality for many of our students. We need to develop alternative routes to education.

“We need plumbers. We need lineman. A lot of the things I would like to see is a partnership between the city, the school district and different local business where we could create an internship program to develop skills in other areas to really focus and invest in our youth.”

Robles was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Spanish Education from the University of Puerto Rico. She pursued a Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana, and a postdoctoral law degree in Health Law and Policy from Hofstra University Law School in New York.

She interned at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and other legal aid organizations.

It is believed she is the first Latina to run for city council and the first multi-lingual Latina.

“A large portion of my platform is diversity and increased equity,” Dr. Robles said. “But if people think diversity is all about race, then they don’t get it.

“First of all, we need to acknowledge what diversity is. Some of us have had more privilege than others and we need to work together to close that gap.”

Mayor Bruce Tabb confirmed Councilwoman Mary Morgan, who currently holds position 3, will not seek re-election at the end of her term.

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at rharwood@kvnews.com

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