Vancouver teachers’ union, BIA pull Travis endorsements

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 

The Vancouver teachers’ union and the political action arm of a local industry association have pulled endorsements for a school board candidate.

And, a spokeswoman for the Building Industry Association of Clark County said the group vows to do a much better job of scrutinizing candidates who seek its support in future races.

The Vancouver Education Association and the builders’ group had originally endorsed Bob Travis, who is challenging longtime incumbent Dale Rice for a spot on the Vancouver school board.

In a Wednesday meeting with The Columbian’s editorial board, Travis acknowledged that a gallery linked to his Facebook page was inappropriate.

The gallery included images of barely dressed young women and people mimicking sexual positions.

“All in all, a stupid idea,” said Travis, who told the editorial board that he’d linked the gallery to his Facebook page long before he decided to run for public office.

“We did recommend Bob prior to Oct. 6,” the day the story appeared in The Columbian, said Courtney Hoover, VEA president.

Now the VEA is making no endorsement in the District 1 race, Hoover said Monday.

The Building Industry Association of Clark County issued a similar announcement Monday. According to the news release, the BIA’s board of directors “has voted to revoke the endorsement of Robert Travis, candidate for Vancouver School Board Position 1.

“Mr. Travis’ actions identified in the October 6th Columbian newspaper clearly violate the principles of an ideal candidate which would be endorsed by the Building Industry Association of Clark County,” said AJ Gomez, chairman of the Building Industry Group, which is the BIA’s political action committee.

Travis “said all the right things,” Liz Pike, political affairs director of the Building Industry Group, said in a phone interview Monday.

Now it’s apparent that questionnaires and interviews aren’t enough, Pike said.

“We will do Google searches and check Facebooks,” Pike said. “We will ask pointed questions: Is there anything you have done that would cause embarrassment to you or your endorsers?”