Mielke draws second challenger

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 

A second challenger has announced plans to run against Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke.

Battle Ground resident Ron Barca, 56, has served on the county's planning commission since 1999 and currently serves as vice-chairman of the volunteer board.

Barca works as a lean practitioner at Boeing Commercial Aircraft in Gresham, Ore.

According to a press release announcing his candidacy, Barca believes that his certification in lean practices could help the county as it tries to bring expenses in line with decreasing revenue.

That's the main reason he decided to challenge Mielke, 70, who will be seeking his second four-year term.

On March 5, former state legislator and Ridgefield resident Joe Tanner announced he will run against Mielke.

Tanner, 65, has spent the past 20 years as a corporate executive and cited economic development as his No. 1 goal.

Filing week is May 14-18.

While the press release did not list Barca's political affiliation, it's believed he's running as a Democrat.

Tanner is a Democrat and Mielke is a Republican.

The top two finishers, regardless of affiliation, in the Aug. 7 primary will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

In the primary, the candidates run districtwide. Mielke represents north county; the district reaches as far south as parts of Hazel Dell. Commissioner candidates run countywide in the general election.

Commissioners currently earn $102,228 a year.

Candidates must live in the district they wish to represent. Commissioner Marc Boldt, who represents east county, is also up for re-election. Nobody has publicly announced plans to run against Boldt, who will be seeking his third four-year term.

Barca graduated from Clark College in 1975. While attending school he worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Transportation. He was hired at Boeing in 1979, and for the past 12 years he's been teaching lean manufacturing principles.

In 1994, Barca helped form the Rural Clark County Preservation Association and has been a member of Friends of Clark County.

In 2005, he helped revitalize the Southwest Washington Community Land Trust.

He and his wife, Nettie, have a daughter who attends CAM Junior/Senior High School and two adult sons.

Michele Bloomquist said she'll host a fundraising event for Barca from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at Heisen House Vineyards, 28005 N.E. 172nd Ave. in Battle Ground. To rsvp, email ronbarca4clarkcounty@q.com.

This story will be updated.