No matter the winner Nov. 8, the city of University Place will elect its first African-American council member. This will be a welcomed demographic on their city council. Understanding the significance of the outcome, the Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective was keenly interested in speaking with and carefully examining both candidates. Both candidates are very familiar to us, so the committee needed to interview them in this new context.
Kent Keel has been elected three consecutive times to the University Place School Board. The students in that district continue to outperform other students in the state. Of particular note to us is the greatly improved performance of its black students.
The district needs to improve retaining black administrators. However, while other government agencies are in financial crisis, the University Place School District is purchasing land for future schools. Because of Keel’s 10 years serving on the school board, we have no doubt he played a key role in its success. We find that his elected service and credentials, for the council, to be superior to his opponent.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, a 43-year-old community organization, has given its sole endorsement to Kent D. Keel for University Place City Council Position 2. As Keel transitions from the University Place School Board, voters would be very well served by electing him to the University Place City Council.
(Harold G. Moss is co-chair of the Political Strategies Committee for the Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective)