The Times 

Waitsburg City Council Candidates


October 14, 2021

Submitted Photos

Court Ruppenthal and incumbent Karen Stanton-Gregutt are running for the only contested seat on Waitsburg City Council, Position 4.

November 2 is Election Day, and candidates vying for seats on the Waitsburg City Council and Mayor positions are participating in the city's first county-run election. Ballots were mailed out on October 13.

This year, citizens interested in serving on the city council had to specify which seat they were running for when they declared candidacy. In the past, the city's elections were held annually and the top five vote earning candidates were elected to the city council. This year's election will see candidates running for specific seats on the council, with only one seat contested. The top three candidates will serve four years and the two remaining will serve two-year terms. After this year, elections will be held every two years.

The position of mayor will have a four-year term and there are two candidates running this year.

Preliminary results from the election will not be available until after 8:00 p.m. on November 2.

The Times sent questions to all the candidates about their campaign. We do not endorse candidates, however, we want to recognize each of our neighbors who are willing to do the work to run our city government. It is not easy, it is not lucrative, and it is not without criticism. All deserve respect and support as they serve our needs.

Kevin House

Unopposed, Position 1

Why have you decided to run for a position on the Waitsburg City Council?

I decided to put in for the position for two main reasons. First, I think there needs to be someone on the council that has the perspective of a working age household in the private sector. Second, the current mayor and council have been successfully working together on longer term goals and projects that I would like to continue to be involved in and support.

What challenges do you see for the city in the next two years?

Challenges for the city will continue to be: Hiring, developing and maintaining adequate staff to continue quality city services; Continuing to maintain and improve infrastructure while being responsible financially; and Considering issues involving City resources and properties from both the point of what was the norm in past years and the current realities.

What do you think voters can expect from you as their representative?

As a representative I hope no one expects me to be a "voice" for the citizens. I don't have a particular cause or agenda. I would like to think voters could continue to expect what I hope I have done in my time on council so far. Listen to the information, the dialogue, the questions and answers and support decisions that I believe are in the best interests of the citizens as a whole.

P.S. I am running unopposed, but if you know of a more qualified "write-in" candidate I will support them. Just not Mickey Mouse even though it rhymes.

Randy Charles

Unopposed, Position 3

Why have you decided to run for a position on the Waitsburg City Council?

I feel that I have the ability to help the city of Waitsburg provide fair, sound and well-reasoned governance. I feel strongly that there are opportunities to improve the way the city communicates with its residents by reaching out to solicit and factoring in citizen input when making the key decisions that determine the future of Waitsburg.

I have a concern about the lack of transparent governance of the city. Citizens need to have full opportunity to become aware of all public meetings, agenda items and pending decisions in a time frame where their input can be provided and considered.

What challenges do you see for the city in the next two years?

Communication between the city and its citizens.

Enhancing the communication and coordination between the city and other entities (the Fire District, the Waitsburg Parks and Recreation Commission, the Sheriff' Department, the Waitsburg School District, etc).

Ensuring that existing city services are fully available and expanding city services whereneeded and when affordable.

Supporting our existing businesses and making Waitsburg an attractive place for new businesses.

Keeping Waitsburg a safe and "family friendly" city.

What do you think voters can expect from you as their representative?

You can expect me to:

Be an involved and active representative.

To solicit citizen input and factor that input into my positions and votes on the council.

Ask meaningful questions and get answers to those questions in order to be fully informed before making a vote on council decisions.

Ensure the city communicates effectively with the citizens.

Work effectively and collegially with other council members and city staff.

Karen Stanton-Gregutt

Position 4

Why have you decided to run for a position on the Waitsburg City Council?

I have served on the Council twice and am quite familiar with its committees and procedures. Moving ahead under County elections rules the Council's future terms will be extended, allowing for more long-term planning and better continuity. My previous work on the Planning Commission, Shoreline Management Review Committee and revisions to the city's 20-year Comprehensive Plan give me exceptional insight into the path forward. The city is at a crucial turning point, with new businesses and a renovated Main Street. I have witnessed and participated in the city's recovery from an almost-abandoned downtown to a thriving, family-friendly and affordable community. More challenges are ahead, as we manage growth, expand services, support our schools and serve a growing population.

What challenges do you see for the city in the next two years?

It is essential to manage the city budget to continue to improve long-neglected infrastructure and maintain a talented workforce. There are ongoing projects to repair levees, improve sewers, pave streets and sidewalks and expand recreational services and facilities. All these ambitious endeavors require careful fiscal management as well as personnel training and supervision. With an influx of new businesses and artists/residents another challenge will be to support sustainable and thoughtful growth while honoring the city's rich history and farming traditions. At all times it is vital that we protect the many assets such as clean air, fresh water, safe streets, vibrant schools, and our historic Main Street downtown.

What do you think voters can expect from you as their representative?

I am committed to contributing my years of professional experience to my neighbors in Waitsburg. I want to expand the meaning and significance of the motto "Waitsburg Pride" to include not only our sports teams and our families, but our educators, our medical personnel, our first responders, our city crews, our business owners and everyone who values a thoughtful and well-managed town.

Court Ruppenthal

Position 4

Why have you decided to run for a position on the Waitsburg City Council?

It just seems to me that we are getting stuck in a rut as a community and that we need some fresh ideas and perspectives.

Especially with ways to get more people interested in visiting and spending their dollars in our town. We need to make every effort to get Waitsburg back on the map as one of the coolest small towns anywhere!

What challenges do you see for the city in the next two years?

Growth. We need it to survive. Unfortunately in these particularly trying times it will be a huge challenge. I am hopeful that things will be getting back to some sort of normality soon but we'll need more than that.

As a business owner I look at most things from a business perspective. So I believe that we must find new ways to attract people to our community either as future residents, business owners, or consumers.

I am heartened by the recent building purchases downtown and the promises of new business establishments. Definitely a big step in the right direction.

What do you think voters can expect from you as their representative?

Transparency. I have no use for hidden agendas or misleading information. I deal in provable facts and honest, straight forward answers.

Jillian Henze

Unopposed, Position 5

Why have you decided to run for a position on the Waitsburg City Council?

The Henze Family has lived in Waitsburg for three generations and I want my children to grow up in Waitsburg and cherish their time here. It is absolutely my time to step up and lead to give young families, and our littlest residents, a voice. With important issues like the uncertain futures of the library, pool and fairgrounds needing to be addressed, we need community volunteers in leadership positions to move our city forward. My knowledge from my role as editor at the Waitsburg Times gives me historical context to make good decisions. I have proven my dedication and love of the community through volunteering actively with the Waitsburg Flood Relief Committee, Waitsburg Christian Church and Friends of the Library.

What challenges do you see for the city in the next two years?

First and foremost, we must improve communication of what is happening in the city – making its business common knowledge. This can be done through asking neighbors how they want to participate in city affairs, identifying strategies to improve communication, accessibility and transparency and setting an actionable plan with measurable outcomes. Our town is small but mighty – when we point 1,200 residents in one direction, we are unstoppable. But, those residents need to be in the loop and engaged. In addition to improving communication and transparency, the city needs to take deliberate action to balance maintaining essential infrastructure like roads and sewer and maintaining the gems that improve our quality of life like the city library, pool, fairgrounds and parks.

What do you think voters can expect from you as their representative?

I was honored in July when the Waitsburg City Council appointed me to fill this council position in the interim. I have hit the ground running to learn, build relationships and ask questions to make good decisions and I hope to keep building on this experience. I bring years of leadership experience from my career and community service work, communications expertise, measurable results and vision for what our city could be. I also bring the needed perspective of moms and young families raising children in Waitsburg. Voters can expect that I will use my passion for community engagement and my strategic mindset to achieve win-wins, build consensus and move our city forward by bringing all neighbors to the table.

Jim Romine

Unopposed, Position 2

No answers submitted.

Please read the candidates statement in the recently mailed Walla Walla County Voter's Guide.


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