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Buckley voters to decide one contested council race
By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald
Of the four Buckley City Council positions on November's general election ballot, only one is contested, and the security of businesses in Buckley is a shared concern between candidates Cristi Boyle-Barrett and Beverly Schneider.
Boyle-Barrett and Schneider have filed for Buckley Council No. 4, currently filled by Councilman Kim Walthers, who decided not to run again. Three races are unopposed and will be filled by incumbent Jan Twardoski, incumbent Pat Johnson and newcomer Ron Weigelt, replacing Norm Irons, who also decided against running again.
Schneider has lived and worked in Buckley for about 13 years. She is currently a member of the planning commission, was a charter member of the Community Development Board, past treasurer of the PTA, is a Young Life committee member and song leader at the Community Presbyterian Church.
She thinks Buckley needs to improve its economic vitality, while at the same time preserving its "small town character."
In a prepared statement, Schneider said she considers the city of Buckley a "small, largely undiscovered gem." She said she believes Buckley is able to grow at a style and pace that can preserve or improve Buckley residents' quality of life. She wants to see Buckley become pedestrian friendly with trails, sidewalks and parks. She would also like to see well-planned economic development to occur, to ensure essential services such as police and fire are maintained. Schnieder would also like to see more support of Buckley businesses.
"I don't want to have a downtown full of empty businesses," she said. "I do want to preserve Buckley's character. I think Buckley is unique; it's not just a strip-mall town."
Boyle-Barrett grew up in Buckley and moved back after attending college. She has been employed by the post office in Buckley for the past nine years, and she is a mail carrier for more than 700 families, which she said has given her a lot of experience working with people and great communication skills. She is a volunteer at Elk Ridge Elementary School and assists each year in the National Letter Carriers annual food bank drive, which benefits local food banks.
She said if elected, she would encourage managed growth with the addition of new and diverse businesses.
Boyle-Barrett said Buckley is changing and growing, and she wants to see the city improve and adapt with the change. One thing she would like to see happen is more business in the downtown area. She said when she was a kid, growing up, the downtown had every type of business necessary for everyday life, from a jeweler to a drug store and grocery store.
"You name it, it was there," she said, adding most of those businesses have closed, and she would like to see more come back and have Buckley be a business sustainable community. She said people need more of a reason to get off state Route 410.
Boyle-Barrett said she would also work to improve the education of Buckley's kids and would like to see more programs for youth.
"There's too many kids out there walking around town with nothing to do," she said.
Boyle-Barrett said she's smart, college educated, and thinks she would make good decisions as a council member. She said she gets to talk to a lot of people as a mail carrier, and enjoys listening to what they have to say, which would help her, and that as a councilwoman she would take everybody's thoughts into consideration and make the best decision for the city.
She said she knows something has to be done about making sewer rates more affordable. As a mail carrier, she knows there are far too many late notices being delivered. She also wants to see more information provided to people, especially the elderly, about social services because many don't have access.
Since deciding to get involved, Boyle-Barrett has attended City Council meetings and is getting a better feel for the town. She said she has no concrete answers to the city's problems, but she has many ideas.
"I just want to be a part of this town," she said. "I want to ensure that it's a good place to live."
Jessica Keller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org