There’s no lack of interest in the two Kamiah city council seats up for grabs this year.
Henry Bailey, Genese Simler and Stephen Rowe, along with incumbent Bob West, hope to be elected Nov. 5 and work toward improvements in the community.
Bailey, 48, previously served on the council for three years but currently works as the maintenance director for Kamiah schools. A critic at times of current council members, he said “I want to do what’s right for the taxpayers. I want to be a voice. I don’t believe they’ve had one for quite some time.”
Though he wasn’t specific about some of the problems he’d like to address, Bailey mentioned the city pool, emergency management services and the fire department as special interests he’d like to work toward improving.
Simler, 48, a Title 1 aide at the Kamiah schools, said she talked to many people before declaring her candidacy.
“I feel like there’s a lot of things — not that I can change anything, but I’m willing to take the time to listen to concerns and see what we can do to do the best we can to go towards what (citizens) want.
“I also would like to see a little more spontaneity,” Simler said. “It’s a beautiful town, and I just want to see if we can try to bring in some more community-minded things to get us together.”
She suggested developing a bigger community center for youth and breaking up the year with another town celebration, in addition to the Kamiah Barbecue held over Labor Day.
Rowe, 34, owner of Rowe’s Blazing Grill, said he also wants to see positive change in the community.
His goals include, “more youth programs and youth activities for the area; the unity of our firefighters and EMS. There are a lot of issues going on with all of that, and our community doesn’t need to suffer because some people can’t get along.”
Rowe said he’d also like to bring new businesses to the town and “help with economic growth for our area.”
West, 71, was appointed to the council last year and is running for election because he was encouraged to do so by several people.
He is retired but works as the emergency management director for Lewis County.
“I think there are so many things that have to be addressed and updated,” he said. “And with the mayor not having gotten the proper guidance when she came in, I have some business background and I just feel that, at this point, I have some things to offer from life experience.”
Previous conflicts between Kamiah Mayor Betty Heater and the city marshal’s office and the EMS and fire department seem to have been mostly resolved, West said. The marshal’s office was dissolved, and the city contracted with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement and support. And the EMS appears to have settled issues with the Kamiah Fire Department and now operates as an independent unit.
“I just see that we have a lot of good things going on for the city of Kamiah, and I hope to see them come to completion,” West said. Projects in the works include revitalizing the city park, upgrading the wastewater plant and remodeling the St. Mary’s clinic and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest supervisor’s office.
“So those are just a few of the things I’d like to stay on and take to closure,” he said.
A fifth candidate, Tonya Boyer, withdrew her candidacy and moved out of the area.
Hedberg may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 983-2326.