From the get-go, we can honestly say Walla Walla voters have great choices before them.

Here at the U-B, we believe both M. Rick Phillips and Gustavo Reyna are strong candidates for Walla Walla City Council, Position 3. Both are passionate about Walla Walla. Both have a strong vision for the work they would do for our city. And both have solid perspectives that would add value to the City Council.

With affordable housing an increasingly pressing issue facing the Valley, Phillips, Coldwell Banker’s director of property management, offers a wealth of experience and knowledge not only of the housing industry in general, but of what a healthy housing market looks like specifically in the Valley.

When discussing the issue, Phillips made great points from a boots-on-the-ground perspective about the housing reality in Walla Walla, notably pointing out the issue of subsidized housing being misconstrued with affordable housing and showed a good assessment of problems facing landowners today.

He was very knowledgeable on many other city-related issues — our urban forestry needs, Walla Walla’s community-oriented residents, the tools our law enforcement needs to aid public safety — but affordable housing is where he shines the most. In any case, it is clear that M. Rick Phillips cares deeply about where Walla Walla is headed.

Gustavo Reyna’s answers on a wide variety of city topics show him to be a quick study, a man of many interests and one who has done thorough research.

A chairperson for the Community Council’s Affordable Housing Implementation Taskforce and many other community advocacy groups, he is in the trenches gathering data and actively collaborating with community members to create solutions for the issues before our Valley.

In addition to his community work, his time in city government as mayor pro-tem of Lafayette, Colorado, gives him a clear understanding of the big picture, how things are interconnected and what municipal government can and cannot do.

But Reyna’s goal of building bridges resonates most with us. And more important, he comes prepared to listen and learn.

In our book, it is imperative for City Council members to be able to pivot between a wide range of issues, think creatively of solutions while also balancing service to a diverse community of constituents.

We are certain that Gustavo Reyna’s collaborative spirit tempered with his experience in city government and community service will add much value to the Walla Walla City Council.

The opinions expressed in the Union-Bulletin’s recommendations are those of its three-person Editorial Board, consisting of Editorial Page Editor Mary Aparicio, Senior Editor Dian Ver Valen and Director of Pre-Press and IT James Blethen.

Damien Sinnott and Kathryn Barron of the U-B's interim Community Editorial Board contributed to this endorsement.