Police chief kicks off campaign season with run for port seat

Kennewick police Chief Ken Hohenberg is running for the Kennewick Port Commission seat held by Don Barnes in the 2021 election.

Hohenberg registered his campaign with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission on Feb. 27.

He announced his retirement from the city, effective February 2022, at the March 2 city council meeting. 

Ken Hohenberg

Financial documents show Hohenberg had raised more than $18,600 as of March 17. His campaign is managed by retired investigator Al Wehner, a retired Richland police captain, with Forrest Mueggler serving as treasurer.

As police chief, Hohenberg has a long history of working with the port. In 2020, his department was named one of Kennewick’s “Friends of the Port.” 

Filing week for candidates is May 17-21. The 2021 primary is Aug. 3. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. 

Don Barnes

Barnes, the commission’s current chairman, has had a rocky tenure since 2019, when the port’s leaders sparred over the sale of private land near its Vista Field redevelopment. The private sale by an owner unrelated to the port went through. 

The site is being developed as Miramar Clinic by Yakima Valley Farm Workers. 

The contentious debate triggered an anonymous complaint against Barnes and fellow commissioner Tom Moak, alleging they violated port policies and abused the port’s executive director. An independent investigation concluded some charges were accurate. 

Moak accepted punishment but Barnes challenged the findings and was exonerated by an independent review official. The complaint ended up costing the port nearly $400,000 in investigation fees, the hearings officers fees and resolving a public records request by Barnes himself. 

Commissioner Skip Novakovich acknowledged he filed the anonymous complaint. 

No information about the Barnes campaign is available on the PDC website. 

Hohenberg’s top supporters each contributed $2,000 to his campaign.

They are Abraham Larios, PM2 West LP, Earth & Ocean Systems Inc., Lisa M. Fuse, Michelle M. Hohenberg, Bergevin Properties, Washington Securities & Investment Corp. (Greg Markel) and William N. Lampson. Another notable supporter is auto dealer William McCurley, who contributed $500. 

For a list of elected positions open in 2021, search for campaigns in your voting district pdc.wa.gov 

Offices open for election

Filing week for 2021 is May 17-21 for local elections.

For a full list of seats up for election in the Tri-Cities, go to:

bit.ly/BentonCountySeats2021

bit.ly/FranklinCountySeats2021

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