New rec center high priority for candidates
While the Quincy City Council didn’t appoint either Warren Lybbert or Sonia Padron to an open seat on the council earlier this year, the two candidates are back – and facing off – after winning a bid for the seat in the August primary.
The two longtime Quincy residents are vying for a two-year unexpired term.
The city council in May appointed Gina Saldaña to the position, which was opened when former Councilman Dustin Petersen moved out of state. Saldaña was chosen from a field of seven candidates who applied for the position. Among those candidates were Lybbert and Padron.
However, Saldaña’s time on the council will come to an end this year. In the August primary, Padron earned 40.8 percent of the votes and Lybbert earned 35 percent. Saldaña earned 24 percent.
Padron, 40, is a life-long Quincy resident. A certified medical assistant, she works at Confluence Health in Wenatchee. Padron also is a part-time EMT with Protection 1 ambulance service and has been a volunteer firefighter with Grant County Fire District No. 3 for 21 years.
The City of Quincy has a contract with the fire district for fire services. Negotiations for that contract, which was renewed through 2022, were heated at times between the two sides a year ago.
Padron said she could not say at this time if she would recuse herself from any future issues involving the fire district. It would depend on the situation, she said.
Padron also would not comment on whether the city should build a fire station on the north side of Quincy. The fire station also has been a controversial topic in the past between the two sides.
“I haven’t been a part of the planning of that,” she said. “I can’t weigh in.”
Lybbert, 35, is a businessman who has spent nearly his entire life in Quincy. A graduate of the University of Washington, Lybbert has a degree in political science. He also interned in Olympia with Sen. Mark Schoesler.
Lybbert isn’t the only one running for office in his home. His wife, Susan Lybbert, is running unopposed for a position on the Quincy School Board.
Lybbert also is the nephew of Quincy City Councilman Scott Lybbert, who is seeking his fourth term this election season. Lybbert did not see any conflict if both men are elected to the council. In fact, he has tried not to talk to his uncle about the election or his campaign, Lybbert said.
“I won’t treat him any differently than any other council member,” he said.
Padron and Lybbert were asked the following questions by the Quincy Valley Post-Register:
The Grant County assessor’s estimated assessed value for the city of Quincy has grown again this year, largely due to the growth in the data centers. How would you approach spending the increase in tax dollar revenues that Quincy is experiencing?
Padron believes the city should “spend assertively” while it has the funds to do so; however, there needs to be a system of checks and balances when it comes to spending those revenues, Padron said. The city also should be using its money to enhance what it has, not to duplicate anything, she said.
As a member of the council, you have to be smart and save some of those tax dollars, Lybbert said, because the city won’t always be able to count on that money in the future.
But the council also has to find a balance, he added. The city most recently has been completing several maintenance projects around town, which Lybbert would encourage the council to continue.
The city in most recent years has built a new library and animal shelter, it’s made improvements to city streets and to Lauzier Park, and it is currently building a new police station. If you could dream a little, what would be on your wish list for the city?
A new recreation center for the community was high on both candidates’ list of priorities.
“I would like to see us build a huge rec center for the kids,” Padron said.
Padron would like to see something offered every night of the week by the recreation department, whether that be classes for adults or activities for children. And with a larger recreation department the city would have to add staff to that department, she added.
Lybbert agreed he would like to see the city build on its activities center, enhancing it into a recreation center. But he’d also like to see the city focus more on tourism, perhaps building a walking or biking trail system that connects the city parks.
With the growth in business that Quincy is experiencing, it is also seeing more traffic congestion, especially at 13th Avenue. How do you propose alleviating that congestion?
Padron said she would have to see how other communities similar to Quincy are easing traffic congestion before giving an opinion.
“I don’t have a problem with a roundabout but it has to be done right,” Lybbert said.
That means making it big enough, or wide enough, to keep traffic moving, he added.
Why are you the better candidate for this seat?
Padron believes as a Hispanic woman she would bring diversity to the board. As an active community volunteer, she also has had the opportunity to get to know the community members. And she’s an approachable person who welcomes the public’s input, she said.
“Having been raised in Quincy, I feel like this is my hometown,” Padron said. “I know this town.”
Lybbert said he is the better candidate because he not only has first-hand experience working in Olympia but he’s also worked with the city and police department on different community activities.
“I feel like I can listen to what people want to do and promote the community as a whole,” he said.
Padron also emphasized that she does not have a personal agenda in running for office. “I am always open to ideas,” she said.
And Lybbert added that he would like to work on the city’s public safety committee if elected.
“This is my hometown, my community,” he said. “Public safety is my primary concern.”
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org