Thomas Moak has lived called the Tri-Cities home for nearly 40 years, moving here in 1979 to accept a librarian’s job at Mid-Columbia Libraries. He began as the head reference librarian and has had many titles over the years, including interim library director. Most of Moak’s tenure has been serving the public as branch manager at the Kennewick and West Richland branches.
Working in the library in downtown Kennewick resulted in Tom getting involved with the local museum down the road in Keewaydin Park and then in downtown Kennewick. He rose to leadership with the museum, serving as President for three years, moved into a historic home in downtown Kennewick, and helped organize historic homes tours and walking tours of the historic downtown area.
One of the leaders at the museum was the late George J. Jones, (later a port commissioner) who led Moak to the Kennewick Kiwanis Club, where he has been a member for over thirty years and President in the 1990s. Kennewick Kiwanis has been a great service club with major duties at the Benton-Franklin Fair and later at Amistad School, in working to help break the cycle of poverty in our community.Read More
Thomas Moak was appointed to the State House of Representatives and while his time there was but a year, it led him to a greater appreciation of the men and women in both political parties who work to serve the people.
In Kennewick, Moak was appointed to several city committees and commissions, the Visual Enhancement Committee, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Commission. Learning various facets of our city spurred his interest in running for City Council when there was a vacancy in 1997. This was a time of tremendous growth and opportunity for Kennewick and Moak is proud of his and the council’s role in securing the future of Columbia Park, the building of a Convention Center, the planning and development of Southridge, and the Downtown Kennewick Revitalization Plan. Tom was a key volunteer on one of the early “Bridge to Bridge” plans that helped awaken in the community the belief that we needed to embrace the Columbia River rather than turning our backs on it.
As a representative of the City of Kennewick, Moak had the honor to work with all other cities in the state through the Association of Washington Cities, where he would serve a year as President. He learned to appreciate the uniqueness of all communities and understand better their strengths and challenges.
Unfortunately, Thomas Moak’s service on the Kennewick City Council ended in 2009. A point he advocated for during his race, which ultimately helped defeat him, was supporting the redevelopment of Vista Field from a money-losing airport into a center that would benefit the majority of the community, rather than just a few. Vista Field was a major issue in 2009, and Moak remains proud of where he stood and is amazed that now as a port commissioner, he has the opportunity to help shape the development of Vista Field.
Following his council loss, Moak was appointed to the board of the Kennewick Housing Authority, which serves both Kennewick and Richland. He thought his experience working on housing policy at the state level would help the Housing Authority. Through commission and staff leadership, Moak has been pleased to see additional affordable housing opportunities open in our community and the housing authority taking a major role in partnering with various government and private entities to further housing opportunities. Tom is currently chair of the housing authority board.
Thomas Moak has won awards such as Downtowner of the Year, Kiwanian of the Year, and Kennewick Man of the Year. In his words, “For every award I have won, it was because of others who helped me, worked with me, and believed in me. I never did it alone.”.
In his spare time, Tom enjoys the pursuit of family history, local history, travel, and rooting on his favorite sports teams, win or lose.