Deer Park City Council candidate Caleb Stapp believes Deer Park needs to be able to manage its growth with the necessary infrastructure improvements.
“I just want to help us do that and be welcoming and inclusive,” he said.
He faces Heather Newsom in the Nov. 5 election for position 4, currently held by Don Stevens, who is retiring.
Newsom did not respond to repeated requests for comment. She also provided no information about her professional or elected office experience or education to an online voter’s guide produced by the Secretary of State’s office.
She provided only this statement to the voter’s guide: “I have lived in Deer Park my entire life, it’s where I am raising my children. Family is extremely important to me and there is no better community than Deer Park for that family. If elected I would like to continue preserving our city’s great history by educating our children to lead us into a brighter tomorrow.”
Stapp has lived in Deer Park for the past eight years. He grew up in Texas and his family moved to Chattaroy when he was 16.
He has worked as a reporter for the Deer Park Gazette and said it was writing stories about the City Council meetings that first got him interested in running for office.
“That just got me really excited,” he said.
He said he ran for position 4 because Stevens was retiring.
“In general, I think they’ve done a great job,” he said of the current council. “I don’t know that I would be running if I was going up against an incumbent.”
As with most small towns, law enforcement is an issue. Deer Park contracts with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office but Stapp said if the city continues to grow it may one day be necessary to consider forming its own police department.
“I have been personally satisfied with that,” he said of the city’s contract with the sheriff’s office. “As we grow, we will need increased coverage.”
Stapp acknowledges that establishing a police department would be pricey.
“When it comes around it will cost more than we want to pay for sure,” he said. “We should do it before we need to do it, but not too soon.”
He points to his volunteer efforts with Discover Deer Park and We (Heart) Deer Park along with his work as director of the Inland Empire Baptist’s Association kid’s camp as evidence of his deep involvement with the community. He also volunteers with the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce’s events committee.
Though he has no experience as an elected official, Stapp said he believes he would be a good fit for the city council position.
“We need trusted servant leadership,” he said. “I’ve spent the last 10 years invested in Deer Park.”
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