Tri-Cities begin new decade with two new mayors, one incumbent

Pasco and Richland are beginning the new decade with new mayors, while Kennewick opted to retain its veteran.

The three city councils each voted for a new mayor and mayor pro tem at their first meetings in January.

The three cities have a council-manager form of government. The councils elect mayors to serve two-year terms to run meetings and represent them, but the mayors have no additional authority beyond being elected members of their respective councils. 

West Richland has a strong mayor form of government, meaning its mayor is directly elected by citizens. Brent Gerry is the incumbent.

The Pasco council unanimously selected Councilman Saul Martinez to serve as its mayor and tapped Blanche Barajas as mayor pro tem. It is the first time Latinos have served as either mayor or mayor pro tem in Pasco. 

Richland’s new mayor is Ryan Lukson, a civil deputy prosecutor for Benton County who was elected to the council two years ago. Lukson defeated Councilman Terry Christensen for the mayor role.

Former Mayor Bob Thompson, who was elected to a two-year council term in November, said he would no longer continue as either mayor or mayor pro tem. 

Councilwoman Sandra Kent succeeds Christensen as Richland’s new mayor pro tem.

The Kennewick City Council voted 4-3 to retain Don Britain as mayor for another two years over newly elected Councilman Chuck Torelli. Steve Lee will continue as mayor pro tem.

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