Candidates for freeholder share views

Columbian survey results available online



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Clark County voters will soon choose 15 individuals from a field of 110 county residents to draft a new future of county government.

The winners of the election will become freeholders, and comprise a board to meet until a new county charter is drafted.

The charter will then be sent back to voters for a final approval. The board of freeholders will have the power to rearrange their county government how they see fit, as long as it falls within the laws of the state and abides by the U.S. Constitution.

The board can choose to grant voters the power of initiative and referendum authority within the county, expand the number of commissioners serving on the board, choose to separate legislative and executive powers by electing a county executive, make elected officials nonpartisan, or change some elected positions such as clerk or treasurer to appointed roles.

The candidates for freeholders face off in the Nov. 5 general election. Each of the three commissioner districts has five at-large positions, meaning voters will choose one candidate in five different races.

In an effort to give voters an idea of what the candidates believe is important, The Columbian sent candidates a questionnaire asking about their views on different charter elements and some demographic information.

A quick look at the list of candidates and those who responded shows that most are male, and most are above the age of 50. The average age of candidates who responded in District 1, which comprises north county and is represented by Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke, is 59 years old. The average age in District 2, which makes up the eastern edge of the county and is represented by Commissioner David Madore, is 55 years old. In District 3, which includes downtown Vancouver and is represented by Commissioner Steve Stuart,

the average age is 56 years old.

The youngest candidate to respond is 21 years old. The oldest of the group is shared by two candidates who are 82 years old.

Of those who responded across the county, the average length of residency is 31 years.

Other questions asked of candidates is their views on a county executive, the appropriate size of the board of commissioners and the partisanship of some elected positions.

The Columbian is presenting the full results of the survey online for readers to determine who it is that will best represent them and their district on the board of freeholders.

To see the results, visit

Erik Hidle: 360-735-4547; ;