My name is Steve Saunders.  I am a father, husband, combat veteran and patriotic American.  Below is a summary of my life experiences that I believe are relevant to my candidacy for Yakima County Commissioner, District 3.

I understand leadership.  I was promoted by my peers to the highest enlisted rank in the US Army and WA Army National Guard.  I started as a private and retired as a Command Sergeant Major.  I was a leader of men and women in the most difficult of situations.  I have been tested. 

One of my strongest leadership qualities is to inspire others to work cooperatively.  I do this by promoting values such as liberty, safety, and justice.  

I embody service.  Entitled, self-serving, timid politicians don’t understand this concept because too many of them are in it for themselves.  I cannot sit and watch our liberties dismantled by unscrupulous and weak politicians.  People elected to office are “public servants”.  Their job is to serve the true leaders, that is, “We the People”.  Freedom is not Free and requires vigilance and sacrifice.

I understand sacrifice as a part of service.  Over the years in the military, I spent a lot of time away from my family.  It hurt to be away.  I missed important, irreplaceable times with loved ones, but I knew that in order to lead, serve and protect, this sort of sacrifice was a price to be paid. 

I have experience.  I served as a Soldier, State Trooper, Town Marshal, DSHS Security Guard, Bail Recovery Agent, Emergency Services Director, Emergency Management Volunteer, National Guard Homeland Response Force Liaison to multiple County Emergency Operations Centers, City Emergency Operations Centers, and City, County and State Response agencies and finally, Counter Drug Task Forces who supported several Task Forces around the State of WA.

As a 9-year Trooper I was trained as a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor for Drivers under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, Advanced and Technical Collision Investigator responsible for processing serious injury or fatality collisions. I have been an expert witness for the State of Washington for cases involving DUI / Vehicular Assault and Homicide. I was recognized as the District Technical Collision Investigator of the Year and also awarded the Chiefs Award of Profession Excellence for actions taken and arrest made following a road rage shooting homicide.  I left the State Patrol to concentrate on my military career.

My formal education was top-notch.  It wasn’t theoretical, but rather practically focused to accomplish tasks and missions. I attended military professional leadership academies and courses throughout my career, and then I put those things I learned into action leading and mentoring soldiers.

I learned firsthand from the best who served our republic.  My field classroom consisted of a variety of rural and urban environment where mistakes had real life consequences.  The conditions around the world in which I operated, and learned, involved training, advising, and combat operations.  My life’s classroom involved being physically challenged, exhausted, or mentally taxed.  Stressful leadership moments involved being responsible for our most important treasure, that is, our republic’s young men and women who serve.  There is no greater responsibility.

No one is more professional.  I attended all US Army Non-Commissioned Officer academies.  I was entrusted to lead soldiers, a great honor.  I am a graduate of the US Army Sergeants Major Academy. I am a Graduate of the US Army Ranger, School and Special Forces Course (Green Berets). “Rangers, Lead the Way!”

I retired as a Green Beret/Special Forces soldier.  Our motto is “De Oppresso Liber”.  This means “liberate the oppressed”.  This ethos defines who I am at my core.  I am about freedom, liberty and protecting innocents against oppressors.  I will serve this way in office too.

My country has awarded me the following for my service: US Army Legion of Merit (US Army’s 5th highest award), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Army Commendation Medal (5 awards), Army Achievement Medal (4 awards), Combat Infantryman Badge (2 awards), Senior Parachute Badge with distinctive combat jump device, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with assault force device in addition to several other awards not listed here.

I was medically retired from the military following surgeries, physical therapy, and retirement boards. I served from 1987-2019 both Active Duty, Army Reserves, and the WA Army National Guard. I had a 2-year service break from 1996-1997. I have counseled and assisted countless Soldiers in professional and personal matters. I have supported local veterans in the processes of acquiring VA benefits for injuries incurred while serving.

I am married to my beautiful bride Renee’.  Between the two of us, we have 5 children and 5 grandchildren. Renee’ is a highly respected General Manager of 3 local funeral homes.  For years we have been involved with Yakima’s Veteran of Foreign Wars, Post 379, where I have served as Post Commander and Renee’ as the post’s Auxiliary Junior Vice Chair. I am also a proud member of the Yakama Warriors. Renee’ is a past Board member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was awarded for her service there.

I am running for County Commissioner for the reasons that have motivated me throughout my life.  Leadership.  Service.  Sacrifice.  Experience.  Professionalism.  And to keep us free.

I seek to empower, educate, and inspire our next generation of public servants by setting the example of lead in order to serve.

Citizens must engage school boards, city councils and county government.  If not, then who will?

The 1st Amendment is for ALL people. Being able to protect yourself, family, and property is a fundamental right.  Excessive taxation and regulations must end so people can keep what they’ve earned.  Law enforcement cannot be our personal bodyguards and the Fire Department can’t respond to every need during a large-scale emergency. Our first duty, as citizens, is to protect our families.  Police enforce the law.  The justice system must prosecute those who endanger and harm innocent people. The legislature should pass laws that are just and protect innocents. 

Finally, as a father and grandfather, I must say that our children are our most precious gifts.  They demand our best attention and protection, not half measures.  I am committed to protecting our children, and I will work with law enforcement, families and schools to find the best solutions that maximize the protection of children while also being mindful of the US and WA Constitutions to which I took many oaths.  Bad people exist, and only good people who have shown they can step between the bad to protect the good are right for these times.

De Oppresso Liber”.  Liberate the oppressed.  Protect the innocent.  That is me.

I humbly seek your vote.  I am a tested and proven Warrior Servant, and I hope you trust me to be your next Yakima County Commissioner.  Thank you.