The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Trymaine Gaither appointed to fill empty City Council seat

Gaither chosen as new City Council member out of 14 candidates at Tuesday’s meeting
Gaither answering questions put to all the candidates by the city council at their most recent meeting on Tuesday

Trymaine Gaither, a WSU coordinator in 2019 with the MLK Distinguished Award, MLK Community Equity and Social Justice Award, and the 2023 President’s Distinguished Service Award, has been appointed to the vacant City Council Ward 1 seat.

“I hail from Charlotte, North Carolina. I moved to Pullman Washington in 2016. I left a promising career and was actually doing a lot of work for the city at the time to support my partner,” Gaither said. “I want to see how these beautiful practices, mindfulness, self-compassion, cultural awareness, cultural humility, can grow the sense of belonging in this community.”

Gaither’s priorities include bringing a perspective on diversity and young families, addressing food insecurity, and promoting more diverse businesses. The Pullman City Council chose him from 14 candidates hoping to fill the open seat at their meeting Tuesday.

“I appreciate everyone coming out and all the applicants who have applied,” Benjamin said. “I don’t remember a time … when we had this many people who expressed interest, and that’s very good.”

The candidates were asked seven questions by the Council on subjects including improving the city, working with different stakeholders, handling contradicting views and outlining strategic goals for the next decade.

The candidates include Julian Matthews, a Gonzaga graduate currently working in the equity and diversity department and is involvemed with the Chamber of Commerce, Connor Dellwo, who is a WSU graduate and works for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory, Shawn Welden has a PHD in water quality and habitat restoration.

Nicole Drumhiller is a board member for the Lauren McCluskey Foundation. Bobbie Ryder is a former WSU professor who has been involved with infrastructure planning within the city of Pullman.

Deb McNeil, who previously ran for mayor last year, is a candidate who is actively engaged in city council meetings. She said her priorities include ensuring outreach to all demographics, listening to small businesses, and emphasizing transparency, alternative transportation, water quality, and infrastructure.

Holly Greyston has been a general election candidate in the past and has been involved in Eastern Washington in the past. Rick Grunewald is a WSU graduate with extensive involvement in downtown Pullman.

Daniel Maher is a WSU graduate with a focus on student involvement and government. Tony Poston is a WSU graduate and business community representative whose priorities include leveraging technology for the future of Pullman, giving business owners a chance to tell their stories and envisioning the future for residents. Behnoosh Armani is a former counselor and psychology professional. Armani said she aims to enhance communication with businesses and community members, plan for growth and advocate for more outdoor activities and trails.

Steve Hummel is an environmental science professional with government and private sector experience. His priorities involve effective communication within the Pullman community, collaboration with different perspectives, and a focus on economic development and community engagement. Finally, Richard Elgar is a board member of the Foley Institute for three years.

The City Council posed several questions to the members of the council, the first of these questions was what improvements the candidates believe are necessary for the City Council. Matthews said the council should plan for road work and improve the equity and diversity department.

Dellwo suggested the council should provide better summaries of topics covered in the City Council meetings on the website. Welden said he believes there should be improvements in communication with the Pullman community and addressing client needs.

Armani said she aims to enhance communication with businesses and community members, plan for growth, and advocate for more outdoor activities and trails. Ryder said she sees a need in strengthening community connectivity, addressing infrastructure needs and fostering teamwork to solve problems.

Greystone said she aims to enhance the social media presence of the council, hold meetings at different times, and focus on infrastructure and growth in collaboration with first responders.

The council then asked the candidates about their experiences working with different stakeholders in the community. Maher said he wants to emphasize on building confidence within the council, demonstrating progress, and working with the various community stakeholders.

The candidates were then asked to describe how they would navigate contradicting views from different groups. Welden said he believes a council should foster empathy in decision-making. Drumhiller said she believes the council should establish clear priorities within overarching goals.

The council inquired about candidates’ visions for the council’s strategic goals over the next decade. For her 10-year plan, Matthews said the council should advocate for alternative energy. Welden said he would like to see more town halls and affordable housing.

The candidates were then asked by the council to share their ideas on how to involve youth in Pullman. Grunewald said his priorities involve strengthening communication and interaction with the community, connecting neighborhoods, and engaging youth within the church.

The council asked the candidates’ plans and perspectives on Project Downtown Pullman and how to move forward with it. Ryder said she would like to see a solution to the project that encourages small businesses from all over to come to Pullman.

Finally, the candidates were asked how they would approach budgeting, including considerations for raising taxes, seeking grants and allocating funds. Drumhiller believes that raising sales tax and putting less money into lower priority departments would be the best solution.

Elgar said he would aim to improve priority spending, fostering a common ministry with WSU and advocate for transparency.

After their executive session period, which lasted about an hour, the City Council returned and voted unanimously to appoint Gaither as the newest member of the council.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
MADDY RICE, Evergreen photographer
Maddy Rice is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from White Center, Washington, she is a sophomore majoring in Business Managment, with a minor in Sports Managment. Maddy began working for the Daily Evergreen in the Fall of 2023.