Letter to the editor: Joyce Barnes is the Centralia council candidate who listens


I had the opportunity to ask candidate Joyce Barnes why she is running for Position 2 on the Centralia City Council and what some of the important issues she would like to address on city council if she is elected.  

Ms. Barnes said she believes in returning the voice to the people. Her slogan on her campaign signs says “she will listen.” Earlier this year, she attempted to provide the public with the opportunity to be heard by offering to pay for placing the Pearl Street Veterans Memorial Pool on the ballot to give the Citizens the right to say “yay or nay” for keeping the pool or not.  However, the ballot item was rescinded by the council. Ms. Barnes was extremely disappointed at the outcome of council rescinding the ballot item. It fueled her desire to run for Centralia City Council, Position 2.  

She also pointed out that she was concerned about the increasing crime rate in Centralia over the past years. She said Police Chief Stacy Denham confirmed Centralia is down five officers, which is contrary to the mayor’s claim at the chamber’s candidate forum that Centralia’s police staff is operating at full capacity. She also addressed the need for traffic ordinances to be enforced throughout the city.

As for utility charges, Ms. Barnes said she will ask for a review and reevaluation of utility base charges, and a possible increase in financial assistance for poverty and low-income citizens. She reviews the city’s agenda and wants the public to be aware of the monetary value attached to each consent agenda item listed.

She hopes to increase healthy activities for all in Centralia by supporting the Centralia Parks and Recreation Department’s plan creating nature paths offering the community an educational experience, hiking, biking, walking, and, who knows, she thought adding a zipline in Seminary Hill would be a plus for family outings. Ms. Barnes also supports the completion of the Fox Theatre for which she, and others, pre-paid a large sum of money for their seats and believes it will attract other businesses in Centralia. 

Addressing homelessness, she said she would collaborate with county and agencies on finding solutions for the homelessness in Centralia. 

She further emphasized the importance of running council meetings in compliance with the council-manager form of government.

I reviewed Ms. Barnes’ resume and, without a doubt, her business background in real estate and selfless work in Centralia is remarkable. She has previously served on the city council and regularly attends council meetings, 

I find Ms. Barnes to be of sound mind and up-to-date on the issues facing local government today. She has some mobility challenges but is very capable of getting the job done. The City of Centralia prides itself by extending equity, inclusion and diversity to all its citizens, so that should not be a deterrent voting for her at the next election. 

What impressed me most about Joyce Barnes is her desire to return the voice to the people. She is willing to listen to the citizens of Centralia and is eager to serve. 

While believing the City of Centralia has a bright future, she does not want it to become another Seattle.


Elizabeth Cameron