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Iraq war veteran pledges fresh perspective on City problems
A look at Auburn mayoral candidate Scot Pondelick
Work experience: I started as a grocery bagger at Safeway in downtown Auburn when I was 15 then became the dough master and trainer for Pizza hut in Auburn. When I was 18 I joined the U.S. Army and became an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (Bomb Squad) and serving eight years and three deployments to Iraq. Duties included: rendering safe any chemical, biological, radio logical, nuclear, and/or explosive devices; including Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's). I also assisted in the development of the Iraqi Bomb Squad School and Iraqi advanced bomb disposal training at the unit level. In Iraq, I worked in the Counter Explosive Exploitation Cell (CEXC) task force. In this task force, I worked directly with agents from the CIA, FBI, DIA, DEA, and other civilian agencies.
Education: I attended Chinook Elementary, Olympic Middle School, Auburn Riverside High School, Green River Community College, from which I graduated with an AA degree, and attended the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal, where I received my bomb squad training.
Political experience: Member of King County Veterans Advisory Board (subcommittees: Programs and Finance)
Volunteering: Auburn VFW Service Officer 2012-2013, co-founder and fundraising chair of the South King County Veterans Stand Down and Resource Fair, and Washington Diversity and Veterans Foundation executive board member. I also volunteered with the Auburn Food Bank and Auburn Meadows assisted living home where I visit war veterans in the memory ward.
Q. Why are you running for the position of mayor?
A. I am running for the position of mayor for the City of Auburn because Auburn needs a new direction, a direction that incorporates all the citizens and businesses. Auburn is growing and developing, and we need to make the right choices. We need to work toward a better future; otherwise we will be left behind. I want to ensure the Auburn not only grows economically but grows our community as well. By following my guidelines with the budget, economic development, and building community, together, we can bring Auburn to a high economic standard that businesses and citizens not only need but also deserve.
Q. What are the three biggest issues facing Auburn?
A. The three biggest issues facing Auburn are: 1. Budget – reduce losses with government-owned businesses and reinvest savings into our roads. 2. economic development – spur economic development by working with small businesses throughout the city and encourage new youthful businesses within our downtown. I have even suggested a reduction in the mayor's salary to pay for and hire an economic development person to work directly with the local "mom and pop" businesses. 3. Building community – create and expand innovative partnerships with the Auburn School District and local college to develop creative arts programs to promote a sense of community ownership through the arts.
Q. How are your abilities a good match for these problems?
A. My abilities are a good match for these problems because of my unique ability to recognize issues and to find sensible solutions to those issues. By using common sense and outside-the-box thinking, I can affectively and efficiently find solution in a timely manner. With the communication skills that I developed in the Army, I would ensure that open communication with all local elected officials becomes a top priority, as they are the representatives of the citizens.
Q. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
A. What sets me apart from the other candidates is that I come with a fresh outlook. This being the first time involving myself with the political system, I can see the problems from an outside prospective and offer innovative solution. I am dedicated to connecting with the people of Auburn and listening. I do not consider myself to be a "politician" but a concerned citizen trying to make a difference in our community. My attitude, passion, enthusiasm, and desire for a better Auburn and a better quality of life for the residents will keep me motivated throughout my term as mayor, when elected.
I have spent the majority of my life in Auburn, growing up and attending Chinook Elementary, Olympic Middle School, Auburn Riverside High School, and Green River Community College. While in high school I worked at Safeway in downtown, then Pizza Hut on Auburn Way South. When I was 18 I joined the US Army as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (bomb squad). After eight years in the service and three deployments (38 months total deployment time) I left as a sergeant with an honorable discharge. Over the years of my service, I developed leadership abilities that have been proven in combat, and I intend to use these skills and the skills I have learned throughout my life to bring my home town back to life. For over a year now, I have been attending all the committee meetings to fully understand the problems within our community and developing solutions to these problems.