Three of Hermiston’s four city council races are contested this year.
Only Shean Fitzgerald, husband of current councilor Clara Beas Fitzgerald, is running unopposed after the deadline for filing passed Tuesday. He is looking to take over his wife’s seat in Ward II after Clara decided to retire from the council to focus on other things, including her position on the Oregon Commission for Women. Fitzgerald is a “semi-retired” operating engineer who still takes jobs in the construction industry from time to time.
In Ward 1, a three-way race between incumbent Lori Davis, school board member Mark Gomolski and resident Jackie Linton is underway. Davis has served on the council for eight years after first being appointed to the seat and then being elected a few months later in 2010.
Gomolski previously ran for an at-large seat on the city council in 2016 but was edged out of the five-way race by the four incumbents. If Gomolski, elected to the Hermiston School District board by write-in last year, wins he is hoping either the city or school district is willing to change their meeting dates, as they both meet on the second and fourth Monday of the month. He said he believes the change would be beneficial to members of the community who wish to attend both meetings.
Linton, who did not immediately return a call for comment, has been a frequent attendee at Hermiston council meetings in the past two years after first becoming involved in a city project to renovate a park on Beech Avenue. That park in 2016 was re-named Greenwood Park after her grandfather Greenwood Woodrow Luster, who first established it.
In Ward 3, Kyran Miller is challenging incumbent Jackie Myers. Myers, a licensed tax preparer, was first elected to the council in 1994 and has served on a variety of city committees including a current assignment on the Parks and Recreation committee.
Miller said he decided to run because he thought his years as a small business owner would help him find ways that the city could save taxpayer money on operational costs, and find ways to attract more businesses and promote growth in Hermiston.
“I have no problem with any of the city councilors, they’re all doing a wonderful job, but I wanted to throw my hat into the ring to provide a different perspective as a business owner,” he said.
Miller spent his career as a funeral home director in Michigan before retiring to Hermiston in August 2016. He said he had visited for “business and friends” for about 10 years before that and liked the community.
In Ward 4, incumbent Doug Smith is running against Michael Engelbrecht. Smith is in his first term as city councilor after being elected in 2015. He started working as an officer with the Hermiston Police Department in 1988 and after retiring began to work as a general contractor.
Engelbrecht did not return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Hermiston residents will get a chance to cast their vote for the councilor representing their ward in the May 15 election. For Wards 2, 3 and 4 the May election will be considered the general election and the winner will take their seat in January. Because Ward I has more than two candidates, the May election will be a primary and the top two vote-getters will have a runoff in November.
To find what ward you live in, visit www.hermiston.or.us/government/city-council.
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.