North Bend's former fire chief enters race for mayor

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NORTH BEND - Jerry Venera, the city's former fire chief and a longtime resident, has announced his candidacy for mayor.

Venera joins current City Councilman Ed Carlson in the race to fill the spot that will be left vacant by Mayor Joan Simpson in the fall. Simpson, the first woman mayor of North Bend, announced earlier this year she would not seek a third term and will be moving to the Lake Chelan area to live with her fiancee.

"I think I can make North Bend a great place for business and its citizens," Venera said.

In his 41 years in North Bend, Venera has served a number of official posts with the city as well as being involved in numerous causes as a resident. As a public employee, Venera served as a firefighter in the USDA Forest Service, later oversaw forest sales for the group, headed the city's volunteer fire department for 10 years and eventually served as the fire chief and public safety director for more than 20 years before retiring in 2000. Venera's duties as a city employee found him dealing with such tough issues as flooding and acting as a building inspector.

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