Rich Buel Biography
Rich has been a resident of the Tri-Cities for most of his life. He attended Spalding, Jefferson, and Sacajawea Elementary Schools, Chief Joseph Middle School, and Richland High School, before earning his degree in broadcast communications from Washington State University in 1986.
After college, Rich worked as a television news reporter at KCWT-TV in Wenatchee before landing a job as a news, sports, and weather reporter and anchor here at KEPR-TV in Pasco. During that time, Rich also was a play-by- play radio broadcaster at KONA-Radio, announcing hundreds of high school football and basketball games. In 1996, he accepted a job as the Assistant General Manager and radio voice of the Tri-City Posse minor league baseball team, which included calling the team’s games during their 1999 Western Baseball League championship season. Rich then accepted a job as the Public Information Coordinator for the Kennewick School District where he handled all communications efforts for the area’s largest school system. He joined the federal workforce as a Department of Energy Public Affairs Specialist in 2007, and has been with DOE and the Hanford Site since then.
Rich has lived in West Richland since 1989. In those days, he would drive to work on Bombing Range Road and rarely would he see another car on the street as he drove past what used to be wide open fields of dirt and sagebrush. As the community grew and more residents arrived, Rich saw the strain that was put on the city’s infrastructure, utilities, and public safety departments. He began attending city council meetings to learn what could be done to help the city weather these growing pains, and ultimately ran a successful campaign to be elected to the city council in 2001.
In sixteen years as your city councilmember, Rich has attended more than 1,000 meetings on behalf of the residents of West Richland. The town that numbered fewer than 4,000 people when he arrived is now approaching a population of 15,000. Challenges related to infrastructure, utilities, and public safety have been addressed, and the community has welcomed new retail establishments and professional office spaces. Family friendly parks continue to be a priority in West Richland, and there is excitement surrounding new developments and business opportunities.
West Richland may be the smallest of the Tri-Cities, but the residents deserve the same amenities and opportunities as our larger neighbors. It’s Rich’s goal to continue to make that happen.