Five candidates will vie for four seats in November after Maria E. Durón, a family engagement specialist for Hermiston School District, added her name to the list before the election’s Aug. 25 filing deadline.
Durón said she filed to run because she is passionate about helping the community and wanted a better understanding of how the city works. She also sees a need for more Hispanic representation on the council, which is why the announcement that incumbent Manuel Gutierrez is not running again helped prod her to throw her hat in the ring.
Gutierrez is planning a move outside Hermiston city limits, which would disqualify him from holding a position on the council. He is one of two Hispanic councilors, along with Roy Barron.
“I see a need for more Hispanic folks to step up to leadership positions,” Durón said.
Durón has previous experience as an elected official through about eight years on the Hermiston School District’s board of directors. She resigned from that position in 2017 in order to take a job with the school district.
She is one of two new faces running for the council. The other is Nancy Peterson, an accessibility specialist for Columbia Basin College who previously told the Hermiston Herald she was running because she hoped to help community members feel their voices were being heard.
Incumbents Rod Hardin, Doug Primmer and David McCarthy have also filed to run again. Hardin has served 28 years on the council, while Primmer is running for his third, four-year term. McCarthy was appointed to fill the seat previously held by John Kirwan in May.
Hermiston’s council consists of four at-large seats and four seats representing specific geographical wards within the city. The four at-large seats are up for election on Nov. 3. All five candidates will appear on the ballot, and the top four vote-getters will be sworn into office in January.