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Yakima Council member Brad Hill won't be running for re-election in 2021
Yakima Herald-Republic - 9/25/2020
Sep. 24--Yakima City Council member Brad Hill announced this week he doesn't plan to run for re-election in 2021.
Hill, who first ran for office in the 2017 election and represents District 6, said he wanted to make the announcement to allow ample time for others to consider running for the Yakima City Council. His term doesn't expire until Dec. 31, 2021.
"I think we are all well served by a wider field of candidates which may emerge if my intentions are known early," he said.
Hill, who graduated from A.C. Davis High School, left Yakima at age 19 as an enlisted member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He returned to the city in 2012, at age 32, and said he was grateful for the chance to be a public servant in his hometown.
"I consider public service to be my vocation," he said. "It's been an honor of a lifetime to be a public servant at this local level."
When running for election in 2017, Hill had a long list of priorities, including decreasing violent crime, improving the city's downtown core, and helping the city fix its reserves and improve its bond rating.
Hill said he's pleased with the city's progress.
"In terms of the budget, that is what I'm most proud of," he said. "We had a shortfall in reserves, and we had to make excruciating choices last year. But I think that saved us this year, with the pandemic. It's a sobering lesson."
He's proud of the city's renegotiated contract with the YMCA to save residents money and also proud of the work the city has done with piloting gang reduction interventions for middle school students.
Hill said he has no intention of "checking out" for his remaining year in service, but rather plans to push to address what he sees as the remaining priorities in the city -- including maintaining the city's reserves, improving public safety, effectively addressing homelessness, and focusing on gang prevention for youth.
"The litany of 8- and 10- and 12-year-olds getting shot is terrible," he said. "We need to continue our fledgling efforts with GRIT (the Gang Reduction Initiative and Task Force), because for many youth in Yakima, we are reaching them too late."
Hill also hopes to see a levy lid lift proposal on the 2021 ballot, which could be used to replace aging fire department equipment.
"We are not going to fund this out of our current revenue," he said. "Our budget hasn't been cut to the bare bones, it's been cut into the bone. The levy lid lift has to be on the 2021 ballot. The fire department issues are not going to be solved any other way."
Hill said his time on the council has helped him strengthen certain leadership skills, including patience.
"I know I can be a little feisty, but overall, I am proud of how I've conducted myself," he said.
Hill said he plans to move outside his district within the next couple of years but also intends to continue living in Yakima.
He hopes his successor will be someone who keeps the best interests of the city's residents at the forefront.
"I want to see a person with an independent streak who is not aligned solidly with either party, because it's a nonpartisan position," he said. "They need to be willing to break rank with those who have supported them in the past, and to keep the best interests of the citizens in mind."
Reach Lex Talamo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.
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