Candidates look to web for increased accessibility

Online presence, more transparency focus of Democratic forum

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

Candidates for three Whitman County positions highlighted transparency in government when speaking with community members at Bishop Place Senior Living on Wednesday night.

John Mark-Mahnkey, Sandy Jamison, Rob Rembert, John Hart and Dan LeBeau spoke before the monthly meeting of the Whitman County Democrats.

Rembert, Hart and LeBeau are all running for Whitman County District Judge. The trio talked about their experiences and what it means to be fair and uphold the rule of law.

LeBeau said he believes a judge needs to have a balance in their rulings between accountability and rehabilitation.

“You have to be able to hear each individual’s case in front of you, understand what the factors are and determine what the level of accountability and rehabilitation needs to be in order to help that person get on the right track and not come back in front of you,” LeBeau said.

Hart said he believes one of a judge’s most important duties is to be an advocate for their community. He said this is especially important in a rural, one-court county like Whitman County.

He said it’s important for a judge to thoughtfully apply the rules of a law in a way that can be understood by any person.

“About eight out of 10 litigants in Whitman County District Court are unrepresented by a lawyer,” Hart said. “They need a judge that can identify and speak to them in a language and a way that they understand and appreciate.”

He also said that if elected he will seek funding for a mental health court in in the county.

Rembert said if elected he has several ideas for how to make the Whitman County District Court more efficient, including using electronic forms, online information and updating the website.

“I think there’s no time in our nation’s history where it’s more important to have neutral independent judges,” Rembert said.

Rembert said he believes an important part of his job as a lawyer during his career has been giving back to his community and plans to bring his experiences to the Whitman County District Court if elected.

Mahnkey, who is running for county commissioner, said his goal is to represent everyone in Whitman County and take all points of view into consideration. He said he believes all people can find common ground and he hopes to bring that to his position if elected.

He will face-off against incumbent Republican Michael Largent come November.

Mahnkey said he wants to increase transparency by updating the Whitman County website and having tax information available online. He said another main focus will be on tourism as a way to bring in more funds without raising taxes.

Sandy Jamison is running for Whitman County Auditor. Jamison highlighted her experience in finance and talked about increasing transparency by having more information about payroll and election financing available online.

Jamison said if she were elected she wants to have only positive audits, maintain a good relationship with other local leaders and maintain a well running courthouse.

Jamison has a sole challenger in Eric Fejeran in the primary race, meaning both should head to the general election in November.

The primary election will be held August 7.