Two new legislative candidates — a former Oregon lawmaker and an avid public meeting attendee — have filed to run for office in the 49th District.
On Wednesday, Republican Eileen Qutub announced her plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by state Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver.
Qutub, 64, has been a state lawmaker before. From 1995 to 2001, she served one term in the Oregon House of Representatives and one term in the Oregon Senate.
She said she is running for office again because she wants to eliminate regulations that prevent job growth, such as stormwater rules. She said she also wants to make sure education is fully funded, the workforce is trained for 21st century jobs, and that lawmakers don’t increase taxes.
“I want to protect people to be able to keep more of what they earn,” she said by phone on Thursday. She added that taxes are needed in a civil society, and lawmakers should be more responsible with tax money.
Her decision to re-enter politics was made after seeing a number of problems in Clark County that she wants to fix. One of those problems is that young sex offenders are allowed to attend public schools without the schools notifying students’ parents.
“I honestly believe that is just wrong,” Qutub said. “That was one of the final things that I thought, ‘Come on, let’s take care of some of these things.’”
Besides working as a lawmaker, Qutub has worked as a real estate broker in Vancouver and the Portland area. She also was appointed last year by Clark County commissioners to fill a vacant six-year term on the planning commission, which makes recommendations on land-use planning, zoning and development in unincorporated areas.
Qutub grew up in Clark County, graduated from Battle Ground High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in management of human resources from George Fox University. She lives in Hazel Dell with her husband, and they have a combined family of four adult children.
As an Oregon lawmaker, Qutub gained attention for her strong stances against abortion and physician-assisted suicide. She says her views on those issues remain the same.
“The issues of life are always important to me,” she said.
Democrat Annette Cleveland, a health care administrator and lobbyist, is also running to replace Pridemore. Cleveland announced her candidacy in February.
Pridemore has filed to run for state auditor instead of seeking re-election.
Crain vs. Moeller
Republican Carolyn Crain has gone to countless public meetings throughout Clark County, including those held by county commissioners, Vancouver city council members, Columbia River Crossing planners, C-Tran officials, and state lawmakers.
“I’ve always followed all the bills and all the legislation that has any pertinence,” she said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, she filed paperwork to run for state representative, position 2, in the 49th District against incumbent state Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver.
Crain, 53, is a retired business owner. She most recently owned and operated a bakery, and before that she owned Curtis Mathes electronic retail stores in east Portland and Milwaukie, Ore.
Crain said she’s running because she’s unhappy with the current leadership.
“I spent several months thinking that we needed better representation,” Crain said. “Over the last decade, the state of Washington’s revenue has increased profusely. Their spending for all their new programs has gone beyond their revenue increases. They’re cutting future spending increases. They aren’t really cutting.”
A lack of fiscal responsibility in Olympia is hurting several state programs, including K-12 education and health care services, she said.
“Everybody is sort of being victimized,” Crain said. “I need to be an advocate for me, and I need to be the advocate for other people who would like to have an advocate.”
Crain said her top priorities in Olympia would include properly funding K-12 education, controlling the state budget and growing jobs. Job growth could be encouraged in part by examining Department of Ecology regulations that prevent industries from expanding, she said.
When it comes to the proposed project to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River, Crain said the public should be allowed to vote on whether they want to spend money on the project as outlined in the current plan.
“I understand that the legislation up north is written in a way that more or less blocks that opportunity, but the people should have the right to vote,” she said. “That is constitutionally an American right. … If they don’t want it, they shouldn’t have to pay for it.”
She said that if voters ever approve extending Portland light rail across the bridge, she would support their decision. She also said she isn’t happy with the current light rail plan because it wouldn’t give Clark County enough authority.
Crain grew up in Gresham, Ore. She lives with her husband in Vancouver and has one adult son. Crain has two associate’s degrees — one in computer science and one in business — from Western Business College.