In years past, Liberty Lake City Council members have run for office mostly unopposed. This year is different, as two challengers vie for the seat of Neal Olander, who has announced he will not seek re-election, and a challenger is running against incumbent Odin Langford in the November elections.
The only council member running unopposed is Ryan Romney, who was just appointed to the seat left vacant by the resignation of Brian Sayrs.
Josh Beckett and Cristella Kaminskas are running for Olander’s seat. Kaminskas also put in an application for the recent vacancy filled by Romney. She was interviewed by the current council members.
“I just felt like it was my time to get involved,” she said. “I’ve been contemplating this for a while. Several of the council members came up to me after (the interviews) and encouraged me to run in November.”
She plans to attend as many City Council meetings as she can between now and November to catch up on the issues. The tax increment financing and local infrastructure financing tool issue “is the biggest thing,” she said. “I really didn’t fully understand the background.”
She’s also aware of the large park versus small parks debate in the River District. “That’s obviously still on the table,” she said. She favors a mix of park sizes to provide easy access to parks while giving residents amenities and activities to keep them in city limits. “Both sides can be appeased in that issue.”
Kaminskas, 40, is a senior program manager at Key Tronic. She and her husband, Scott, have been married 13 years and have a son in the second grade. She previously coached soccer and Little League, but now helps her husband in his role as vice president of East Side Little League. “I stay involved with the teams that he’s on as much as I can without taking a leadership role,” she said.
She has lived in Liberty Lake for three years. “I want to make it a place everyone is proud of,” she said. “It’s a great place. I can’t imagine living anywhere else at this point.”
Beckett, 31, moved to Liberty Lake from the Puget Sound area three years ago. His goal is to make a difference in the direction of the city. “With Neal choosing not to run, I decided I need to do this,” he said.
An issue important to Beckett is the amount of green space in the city, which he said really isn’t all that much, subtracting golf courses. In particular he’d like to see more Little League fields and more park space in the River District. “Once that green space is gone and it’s developed, you don’t get it back,” he said. “I think everything is open for discussion. Maybe we do need another large park on that side of the freeway. I think it’s about being thoughtful and planning. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s an issue I really care about.”
Even though Beckett came here from the Puget Sound area, he’s a local at heart. He graduated from Lakeland High School in Rathdrum and attended North Idaho College and Eastern Washington University. He works as a business implementation manager for Premera Blue Cross.
He and his wife, Jamie married in 2000 and have two daughters, ages 3 and 7.
Jason Adelmann is challenging Langford for his position. Like Kaminskas, Adelmann applied for the vacant council seat last month. “I’ve been thinking about getting more involved,” he said. “The open seat came up and that kind of spurred it.”
Adelmann, 35, said he wants to help the community grow in a positive way and control spending. He’s gone to handful of council meetings, but mostly likes the job the council has been doing. “I don’t think there’s been too much that I’ve disagreed with,” he said.
He does, however, express some displeasure with the city’s decision to buy a building for a library and police station after a bond measure to build a library and community center failed at the polls. “I was kind of confused about the decision,” he said. “It seemed like the community seemed opposed to it. It was a cheaper option, but at the same time I think the people said they wanted to go in a different way.”
Adelmann did say that he is pleased with the new library. “It’s an improvement over the old one,” he said. “I like it.”
He currently volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and Partners for Pets. He’s also a member of the Liberty Lake Toastmasters club. He and his wife, Jessica, have been married for four years and moved to the area from Minnesota nearly two years ago. They have no children.
Adelmann works as a data management systems report analyst at Washington Trust Bank in Spokane.
Langford, 56, said he was so pleased to have competition for the upcoming election that he stopped by Adelmann’s house last weekend to introduce himself.
“I think this is what it’s all about,” he said. “This is the American way. Competition brings the best. I just wanted to congratulate him.”
Langford said he wants to stay on the council to resolve the TIF/LIFT issue and make sure the citizens have a voice in the process. He also wants to keep an eye on economic issues and the city’s budget.
He has served on the council since October 2007, when he was appointed to finish the term of Joanna Klegin, who resigned to move to Texas. He had a 25-year career in law enforcement before moving to Liberty Lake in 2001 with his wife, Jill. The two have been married for 12 years. He currently works for HWA, a federal security contractor.