Know Your Candidates: Yakima City Council, District 4 (part 1)

Know Your Candidates: Yakima City Council, District 4 (part 1, featuring Chelsea Mack and Keith Effler)

YAKIMA, Wash. -- In the primary election, six people are running for Yakima city council's District 4 seat, currently held by Bill Lover who will not seek re-election.

Action News talked with two of the candidates in the first of a three-part series introducing voters to all of the contenders.

Chelsea Mack, 33, is a realtor and decorated eight-year military veteran from British Columbia but calls Yakima home after gaining citizenship after her first of two deployments to Iraq.

“I can't tell you how powerful that is to me and it's one of the reasons why I'm so involved in my community, because this country saved me,” said Mack.

Now, she wants to give back on a local level.

‘Service before self’ - a downtown Yakima Rotary slogan Mack believes in as she volunteers with the group, along with the YWCA and VFW (Veterans of Foreign War).

But it’s community empowerment, revitalization, and re-branding that Mack hopes to create.

“You need someone that's going to come in and fight for economic development and growth; improve our parks; improve our schools; improve our roads; beautify the area, and as well as push crime outside of the borders and I'm the candidate that will do that,” said Mack.

Violence prevention is part of her vision, with after-school programs and getting the homeless off the streets.

Mack said she is also poised to balance the city budget after managing a multi-million dollar budget in the military.

But other candidates offer a different approach, focusing on laws and codes.

“My slogan is 'No one is above the law,' and I believe that wholeheartedly,” said Keith Effler.

Effler, 35, is a commercial photographer from the valley, a family man who recently adopted two young children with his wife.

Describing himself as a 'facilitator,’ Effler said city laws must be enforced or tossed out.

“If there's any codes or any laws on the books that are selectively enforced, to me that's evil because that leaves it up to the discretion of the officer, or inspector, or so and so,” said Effler.

Effler wants a crackdown on loitering, panhandling, and trashy properties while keeping special-interest spending in check.

Youth activities are also on Effler's radar, offering social dances for kids.

“I've been a part of something called the Yakima Valley Society for Cultural Education, I was one of the founders,” said Effler.

Both candidates said they are passionate and heavily involved in the community, aiming for a new chapter of leadership with the city council.

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