Yakima Herald

Oft-opposing groups cooperate on candidate background checks

This summer, Yakima residents will be witness to the most diverse set of council candidates in the city’s history. The court-mandated redistricting has brought about seven new council districts, only three of which will include a sitting incumbent on the ballot. The process has inspired a large number of first-time candidates to test themselves in the arena of local elections. To see this number of residents willing to give of their time and energy to serve their community should give us hope for our community’s future leadership.

The Central Washington Home Builders Association (CWHBA) and Progressive Majority Washington organizations typically support candidates with differing philosophies. But in this election, we are working together to ensure voters have the most accurate information possible on candidates running this year. It is our intent to emphasize the enormous benefit of transparency and disclosure to every candidate.

CandidateVerification.org

Résumé inflation is a problem in all professions, and unless you’re running for statewide or national office, it’s unlikely any due diligence is given to checking on the validity of a candidate’s history. This partnership is not about political games of “gotcha” and scoring points for our respective candidates. It’s about improving the quality of information available to voters. The mission of CandidateVerification is anchored by good governance and about letting voters know the spin-free criminal/civil background, work, education, military service and professional qualification claims made by candidates.

We’re hopeful the candidate’s willing to give their time to their community join the call to be verified through CandidateVerification.org. Both the CWHBA and the Progressive Majority Washington will require access to the candidate’s background check prior to any endorsement consideration.

In order for this to be a free service to all candidates, each of our organizations has agreed to step up with funding to get the ball rolling.

We are asking all the other community service organizations to do likewise. With several organizations working together, none has to dig too deep. Join us for the sake of transparency and due diligence by contributing at: https://rally.org/f/0jTtneHRh7l. The average cost is $200 per candidate. The budget to fund this service for all 25 primary candidates is $5,000.

While background checks aren’t the only answer, they do provide some assurance to supporting organizations, they render the candidates transparent, and they provide the voters with the facts.

• EJ Juárez is the Director of Progressive Majority Washington, a statewide candidate recruitment and training organization based in Seattle.

 • Joe Walsh is the Government Affairs Director for the Central Washington Home Builders Association based in Yakima.