PASCO — Clint Didier is adding a prayer to the start of the Franklin County Commission meetings.
The recently appointed chairman of the three-member board opened Tuesday's session asking God for guidance. It's something he wants to become a new tradition for the commissioners.
"It's something I've been thinking about for two years. Any great leader that we have be it George Washington or Donald Trump, they're always seeking a higher power's help in accomplishing the task of the time," Didier told the Herald later.
The two-sentence prayer thanked God for the blessings they received, and asked for "the courage, wisdom and grace to guide Franklin County in its decision-making so that your will be done."
He encouraged his fellow commissioners, Brad Peck and Rocky Mullen, to engage as well in future weeks. He said he wouldn't pressure them into joining in.
"I was not aware that Commissioner Didier was going to bring up the topic," Peck told the Herald. "I am not subject to his attempts to 'dictate' that commissioners will take turns saying the prayer."
With the wide range of faiths in the county, Peck said he prefers a moment of silence out of respect for individual beliefs.
Didier said the country is founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that other governmental bodies, including the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court and the Washington State Legislature, begin sessions with a prayer.
In the state, the prayer happens after roll call, the presentation of the flags and before approving the journal of the preceding day.
While Didier doesn't appear to have sought advice from county staff, county Administrator Keith Johnson said invocations are allowed as long as they don't favor a particular faith or mandate participation.
Franklin County Democrats Chair Jeffrey Robinson said he didn't believe the prayer was objectionable. However, he wants to make sure Didier, who is a Republican, understands that there is more than Christians in the county.
"The prayer seemed pretty general. The way it's worded doesn't suggest an exclusionary intent," he said. "I don't think the prayer was objectionable."
He added that considering the trying year that people faced in 2020, he can understand people turning to faith for relief.